How to Improve Hiring and Retention of Software Developers

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While overall global IT spending is expected to exceed $4.4 trillion in 2022, the demand for software developers also continues to soar. But great developers are getting harder to find and even harder to retain. In fact, the US tech industry has achieved an attrition rate of 13.2%, now the highest of any segment.

Developers understand their importance and can dictate their terms. If you don’t give these teams the remote workplace they’re asking for, prepare for them to shut down your company’s laptop and open someone else’s. (In the age of remote work, they don’t even have to go out!)

A great workplace for developers should replace the feelings of purpose and belonging that can come from an in-person office while embracing the many potential productivity benefits of remote working.

Consider how having the right culture in place opens up opportunities for impact, growth and connection and how providing innovative and agile tools can boost communication and productivity. Both help attract and retain developers by providing them with a great place to work, free from unnecessary friction and distractions.

Having trouble hiring developers or losing the ones you have? Let’s explore what’s important and how you can create a workplace that will retain and attract top talent.

Develop a Digital Workplace to support developers

What do software developers expect from their careers in 2022? According to a recent survey by Stack Overflow, 39% want to work with the latest technologies. This is where open source can help.

The open source community provides many of the new technologies that developers benefit from. The community is responsible for introducing popular programming languages ​​such as Go, JavaScript, and Rust, which make it easier for developers to create code and produce high-quality work at high speed. Without open source, we wouldn’t have cloud services like AWS, GCP, or Digital Ocean.

SEE: Recruitment Kit: Python Developer (TechRepublic Premium)

Open source acts as a force multiplier for projects. Applications can be built and delivered faster with community contributions. Developers can also customize their technology stacks, optimize productivity, and experiment and learn new techniques from other open source projects. With all of these features, it’s no wonder that one of the main reasons businesses embrace and embrace open source is to increase developer satisfaction.

The Risks of Ignoring Developer Needs

What can you do to attract and retain the best software developers in today’s ultra-competitive environment? Remove friction and fragmentation.

For many developers, the shift to remote work has introduced new distractions, whether tech-related (“Oh great, another chat message.”) or otherwise (“Honey, the dog needs a walk. Again.”). Distractions prevent developers from producing and delivering code and applications in an agile and productive way.

Therefore, one of your primary goals should be to provide new and current developers with tools that remove these distractions and allow them to focus while enjoying frictionless collaboration. This is achievable by integrating toolsets and giving developers full visibility and control over the entire stack.

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This approach also minimizes the frustrations of tool fragmentation. For many developers, fragmented tools represent a major productivity challenge. It’s not surprising; it’s hard to get into a good development flow when everyone is using different tools that don’t work well together. Fragmentation breeds frustration, causing workplace discontent that could lead to an exodus of developers.

Without tools that integrate into workflows, incidents accumulate and distract engineers from what they do best: developing software. When developers are constantly interrupted and required to respond to every incident, they lose the satisfaction of their work.

And if engineers are frustrated, they will leave and take their talents and organizational knowledge with them. With the continued shortage of talent, replacing qualified developers will only become more difficult. Avoid employee turnover by prioritizing purpose-built collaboration platforms that help developers stay in flow, reduce work, and increase efficiency.

Why collaboration is vital for developers

In a distance-focused world, office perks like free lunch and luxury workspaces are a thing of the past. Without these benefits, it’s all about the digital experience you offer. It falls to CIOs and technology leaders to make the most important decision affecting job satisfaction: selecting communication and productivity tools.

With developers facing unprecedented demand for their services, existing general purpose collaboration solutions will not suffice. These tools are poorly suited to modern engineering team workflows and digital operations. Additionally, they don’t offer the necessary levels of customization achievable with open source software or the option of on-premises or private cloud deployment.

Tool integration mitigates fragmentation and context switching that hurts productivity while making it easier for teams to collaborate – highly coveted benefits for today’s developers.

If your company can deliver on all of these fronts, it has a better chance of attracting and retaining valuable software development talent. You can start building what Gartner calls an Employee Value Proposition (EVP) and avoid becoming one of the 90% of companies without an EVP, struggling to retain and hire talent.

Developers won’t settle for archaic processes and tools. They want to work somewhere where they can impact, innovate, connect and experience growth. And they demand tools that help them achieve those goals.

Corey Hulen, CTO and co-founder of Mattermost.
Corey Hulen, CTO and co-founder of Mattermost, Inc.

Corey Hulen is CTO and co-founder of Mattermost, Inc. Founded in 2016, Mattermost’s open source platform powers over 800,000 workspaces globally with support from over 4,000 contributors from across the developer community. The company serves over 800 customers including European Parliament, Nasdaq, Samsung, SAP, United States Air Force, Wealthfront and is backed by world-class investors including Battery Ventures, Redpoint, S28 Capital, YC Continuity. To learn more, visit