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Programmer Jobs Demand Reaches Historic High

Posted by Jeff Pelliccio on Apr 25, 2018 9:00:00 AM

In ICS insights, Job Trends, Job Search Tips

The US is experiencing a drought of tech talent at a time when demand is growing. This means that programmers have more options than ever when it comes to choosing where they want to live and work.

Recruiters at tech companies are shuffling around for technology candidates in a scarce labor pool. For example, Zillow Group Inc., in Seattle, hires 1 tech worker for every 30 employees. The ratio is typically about 1 in 100. Mapbox, which develops mapping and navigation tools, has about the same ratios. Recruiting becomes a challenge for tech-dependent firms when talent is hard to find. These companies must treat recruiting teams as a business unit due to the constraints on supply - especially regarding programmers.

A good software engineer might find themselves selecting between four programmer jobs in the superheated market. 

Why is the Market So Hot for Programmers?

Historically, when America's job markets begin to simmer, demand for technology specialists boils. The national unemployment rate for March was 4.1 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For programmers, the unemployment rate was just 1.7 percent in 2017 and was just 4 percent in 2011.

Companies are investing in labor in a big way and strategizing how to attract candidates to open programmer jobs. Software is infiltrating everyday tasks and processes. So, companies have to focus on training programmers on new technology and syntaxes. Apprenticeships are a flexible tool that allows companies to hire promising but inexperienced programmers. Transferable skills become an important part of the equation in filling these positions. So, job seekers don't necessarily have to know the exact programming languages they will be working with.

When looking at what could well be the most competitive market in many years, companies have to step up their recruiting efforts to fill programmer jobs. The interesting thing is that this isn't leading to a spike in compensation. Companies have been approaching the recruiting process for programmers a little differently. So, there aren't signs of broader wage increases despite the plethora of jobs in the tight US labor market.

Shortage of Programmers and Other Workers

Companies are talking about the labor shortage in conference calls and board rooms. According to Gartner, 53 percent of conferences calls about earnings at 1,600 firms last year included conversations about talent, an increase of 38 percent over 2010 figures. Executives are increasingly aware that securing programmers and other tech workers is crucial to raising earning and performance.

The software business itself is in a state of flux that doesn't help in terms of understanding the marketplace for programmer jobs. The emphasis is moving to mobile device ready applications. In other words, anything developed to work on a computer needs to be available on laptops and tablets to remain competitive. This often translates to smaller applications that plug into an overall whole. This requires a collaborative, agile approach for programmers working on interconnected deliverables.

Firms now value flexible candidates who can quickly shift between projects and work well in a collaborative environment. This is starting to show up in job descriptions for programmer jobs and is impacting the interview process. Despite the tight market, the quality of the candidate is not just his technical expertise. Instead, programmers must show flexibility and soft skills. This makes it a great time for people to switch to IT from other fields where they have obtained transferable skills.

This is also a great time for women programmers. Mapbox reports that 35 percent of its staff is female. Female employees tend to recommend female friends for open positions at a higher rate than men. Companies are even recruiting within to source talent. This involves pairing senior programmers with apprentices or interns, giving more people an opportunity to switch to tech careers without leaving the company.

What are Transferable Skills for Programmer Jobs?

Small teams of programmers are the new structure for tech teams. This lets companies follow a non-geographic model that doesn't rely on in-office culture. This kind of flexibility has attracted developers to open programmer jobs, even without a huge bump in salary.

Hiring remote workers is crucial for companies located in remote areas of the Midwest and Canada because they're places job seekers typically don't wish to relocate. Working from home appeals to many younger programmers with young families and other obligations. It's also a great way to keep experienced workers who might otherwise retire. One thing is for sure. It's a great time to be a candidate for programmer jobs in the US.

Sure, there is plenty of evidence for you to go out there on your own, but nobody knows the market out there like we do. If you find yourself in need of a programmer job, contact ICS. We're here to help you find a dream job, and we'll fight for your right to get the role you deserve. With a partnership like ours, who knows what great things we can accomplish.

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