Top Predictions for Hiring and Retaining Software Developers

Top Predictions for Hiring and Retaining Software Developers
Image credit: Teemu Mäntynen | Flickr

Hiring software developers will be a top priority for organizations of all sizes in 2015, and that’s not a prediction -- it’s a fact. Whether you run a small business or a multinational enterprise, your ability to recruit and retain developers will significantly impact the future of your business.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that employment of software developers will increase 22 percent by 2022, which is twice as fast as the average for hiring overall. It’s a competitive hiring market and fierce demand for tech talent along with advancements in recruiting technology are changing the way hiring is handled.

Here, my top three predictions for trends we'll be this year.

Related: 6 Recruitment Trends You Can't Ignore in 2015

1. Recruiting abroad -- aggressively

Recruiting international graduates used to be something only large corporations with vast resources and budgets could do. Now, thanks to video interviewing technology, forums like GitHub (where coders can share their work) and tools that enable companies to hold remote coding contests, any business can discover impressive candidates from around the world. 

A number of small but high-growth companies are currently recruiting heavily from abroad. PocketGems recently went up against giants Amazon, Google, Facebook and Walmart for a top Indian student from the Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad. Addepar recently held an event that attracted 3,800 developers from across the world. The winner hailed from Latvia.

2. Salaries will increase above inflation

Fortune 100 companies across industries are fighting against tech startups, tech incumbents and even eachother for the same pool of developers. What these companies can’t offer in office culture or location, they can make up for in pay. For example, Facebook has 1/100th the revenue of Walmart, and I predict that companies like Walmart are going to use their immense capital to hire top talent away from tech giants and startups alike.

Salaries may rise by as much as 200 percent.

The Labor Department reports that software developers earn a median salary of $90,060 in 2012 -- nearly 57.5 percent higher than the national median household income of $51,759. Salaries are already high, and they're only going to keep increasing as a result of the tech talent war, which is now spilling over to companies with huge bank accounts.

However, salaries alone are often not enough to recruit developers. In a survey of 17,000 IT professionals, Dice found that attracting developers requires a progression of “more interesting or challenging assignments.” Traditional companies will have to make the problems they need solving seem interesting to software developers if they hope to attract the best.

Related: 4 Ways to Cater to the Mobile Job Seeker

3. Coding classes in college

High employer demand and high salaries are inspiring more college students than ever to take coding classes. The number of college students in coding classes will go up in 2015 and by 2020, 90 percent of college graduates will have taken at least one coding class.

Students know that a little coding knowledge can go a long way in the job market.

While the White House is promoting computer education, the U.S. still falls behind many other countries when it comes to making it a national priority. Estonia implemented a new education program in 2012 to teach all first-graders to code, and by September, 2015, coding will be mandatory in British schools. While it's unlikely the American government will follow suit, that doesn’t mean private organizations can’t push this movement forward.

A few schools in the U.S. are already experimenting with implementing computer coding into their classes. In addition, there's a wealth of online resources for students and teachers, including TurtleBits, CodeAcademy, Code School and more. Non-profit organizations like, Women Who Code, CodeNow and Girls Who Code are also helping to promote coding literacy.

Tech companies are even stepping in. Microsoft's Technology Education and Literacy in Schools program pairs 70 schools in 12 states with nearly 300 professional software developers to help engage more students in computer science at a younger age.

These private organizations are taking the lead, and kids that start coding young are more likely to continue their computer education through college. 

As the job market gets even more competitive, companies will have to get more creative, data-driven and flexible with how they recruit tech talent. Fortunately, technology startups -- powered by developers -- are building products to help them do just that.

Do you see any other trends soon? Share your ideas in the comment section below.

Related: Why the First Interview Should Never Be the Last