The era of mobile and web is upon us, which has caused nearly every business decision-maker to ask the question, Is now the time to hire a developer to build our app or website? In 2016, businesses are going to be looking for the best developers to join their team and help scale their business. We’ve already started to see this trend, as a recent Harvey Nash Technology Survey 2016 found that developers are the most sought-after of all technology personnel.
To stand out from the pack, developers must master the critical skills businesses are looking for. The most valuable developers will be those who can adapt to the changing technology landscape and further hone their craft to help companies scale and solve specific business challenges.
To stay competitive in today’s market, developers need to invest in these three skills to be relevant in 2016 and beyond.
Master the Skills to Scale a Product or Service
Startups increasingly are evolving from early stage concepts to building a growth model to take their business to the next level. To be an asset today, developers need to master and specialize in scaling technologies that are key for businesses looking to expand their customer base and focus on technological innovation.
There is a demand for developers that have not only a breadth of experience in bringing an organization up to scale but also depth in their technical skill set. Having the ability to work on major systems, support large amounts of traffic and customers and maintain the system for several years are critical competencies that companies will be looking for.
Also, having a data model or database experience is very important—NoSQL solutions such as Cassandra, CouchDB or Riak, as well as traditional data sources such as MySQL, are in high demand. Middleware languages such as Java and Golang also are an important part of a developer skill set when building services and APIs.
Understand the Customer Perspective
When building a technology solution, an engineer must be able to look at the product from a customer’s perspective to understand what problem the product is fixing. While technical skills in developing a product and user experience (UX) are very important, the ability for a developer to understand and create a product that solves a customer challenge far outweighs the focus on building the most elegant software.
Engineers who are able to demonstrate project management skills and have experience around scaling infrastructure and ensuring the platform is robust will be in high demand. Businesses increasingly are seeing a need to support growing customer bases and traffic with utmost end-user reliability.
Become a Subject Matter Expert
There is a gradual shift in the developer community, in which engineers are focusing on specializations and becoming subject matter experts. There is an opportunity for developers to create career highlights by merging their talent and passion with opportunities.
Developers are encouraged to identify an area they are passionate about and focus on refining those skills. By being able to find these opportunities that build on their passion, these developers can demonstrate they are able to solve a challenging problem for a large number of users—a competitive skill in high demand across the industry.
The overarching strategy of a successful developer career is to invest in learning how to scale a product or service, understanding the customer perspective and becoming a subject matter expert. Investing in your skills as a developer in 2016 can lead to a longer, more fulfilling career.