Key Challenges in Hiring Software Developers and How Low/No Code Platforms Could Soften the Situation

This blog is written by Kelvin Lau,  Associate Director – Technology & Digital

The high demand for software developers versus the rate which vacancies are being filled continues to be one of the biggest recruitment challenges within the technology market. Recently, companies are exploring options with Microsoft Power Platform which allows them to implement low/no code development and create an all-in-one solution for the business.

Could this be the solution that solves the issue which has plagued Hong Kong for the recent decade?

What are the main recruitment challenges in the software development field?

Most companies are having difficulty retaining and hiring application developers due to high demand and low supply in the market.

Many developers choose to leave their role for one of several reasons including:

  • Their interest wears off - Once an application has been developed or the project is completed, the developers no longer want to focus on enhancement or BAU. They would much rather join another company to start a new project and build a new application.

  • Thirst for knowledge - Many programmers are interested in attaining new skills and knowledge and sometimes a company's existing tools cannot fulfill their desire to utilize the newest technologies.

  • Few stimulating projects - Developers want to expand their project experiences on building new software and there's only so many new softwares one company can build.

  • Limited career paths - For a lot of programmers, career development is highly important.  Sometimes a company only provides them with a managerial pathway which not all developers want to take.

Why are developers hard to hire?

Developers understand that they are in demand and the shortage in the market is real. Therefore, they have bargaining power. This situation has driven up the salary/hiring costs, which contributes to the fact that not only is it expensive to hire programmers, but sometimes the salary expectations compared to their individual skill level is not entirely reasonable.

With a plethora of opportunities available in the market, software developers are awarded the luxury of being able to choose who they wish to work for. Stiff competition makes it difficult for smaller or lesser-known companies to attract new talent and larger conglomerates due to its typical lengthy interview process.

There are always companies that will hire faster and pay higher, leading to a high drop-out rate even if they have already accepted an offer.  As better options arise, developers quickly move on from one opportunity to the next, which forces a costly and time-consuming recruitment process for hirers.

What are some of the solutions that companies are trying?

  1. Outsourcing the development to a software house.

Given software houses manage multiple small-to-large scale projects at any one time, finding a trustworthy and reliable partner can be tricky especially if you’re working on a tight schedule. Outsourcing means the company has limited control over the progress and outcome of a project as opposed to using in-house developers.

  1. Outsourcing the development function to countries with lower salaries.

While this is a cost-effective option and it can yield good results, there are two issues that many businesses encounter.  Firstly, the quality of the software developed varies and secondly, urgent communication with offshore teams can be tricky especially if the team are working in different time zones.

So, what advantage does the Microsoft Power Platform bring?

The applications that are used for Microsoft Power Platform are; Power Apps, Power Automate, Power BI, and Power Virtual Agents.

With most businesses already using Microsoft products, a major benefit of adopting Microsoft Power Platform is the ability to streamline and integrate all business applications into one central eco-system, providing ultimate end-to-end capabilities, from process automations to business analytics.

Power Platform also provides mobile access of the apps which means companies can embrace workforce flexibility and remote collaboration with ease.

Best of all, given the low/no code development that Power Platform promotes, implementing tools and automations can easily be done which will likely ease or remove the need to hire developers for certain low level development tasks.

Would Microsoft Power Platform completely eliminate the hiring challenges on developers?

No, it’s not likely to eliminate it but it would soften and reduce difficulties in hiring specific technical skillsets from the most in-demand demographic of 3-5 years’ experience.

It’s important to note that low-code platforms are still being developed and/or operated by programmers and it would take years for the adoption of this platform to happen on a large scale to have the impact of easing the hiring challenges the market is currently facing.

Would developers' jobs be threatened?

No, their jobs would not be threatened.  The adoption of such a platform would free them up from doing low-level coding tasks and help them to focus on higher-level coding related activities. Their skills would shift to other technical and/or business areas and it would also allow them to spend more time collaborating with business users to deliver better results.

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