Success with the 2018 Tech Hiring Market

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Success with the 2018 Tech Hiring Market

Organizations have been rapidly modernizing their legacy application and platforms. To be responsive to these demands, technical role hiring has accelerated. Human Resource teams are becoming overwhelmed with the task of attracting top tech talent in a labor market where the statistics are demonstrating zero effective tech unemployment and high candidate demand.  


What are the roles that firms are competing for as they plan to successfully transform their technology stacks? Here is the list of the most in-demand technology jobs for 2018 (Salary comparisons are available on request): 


  1. UI/UX Developers and Designers: Today’s customers care as much about the experience with a company as the product or service they receive, if not more. Therefore, front-end UI/UX Developers and Designers are in high demand to create intuitive, seamless applications that are both responsive and native to all customer preferred devices.
  2. Database Developer: Database Developers have been critical for decades, but never more in demand than today. They bring great experience and skills to the development team, including strong model analytical and problem-solving skills, stored procedure statement and procedural logic skills, a background in enterprise database systems, and specific SQL certifications, such as Microsoft and Oracle. With technology continuing to evolve, having the up-to-date SQL development expertise is imperative. 
  3. Cloud-Experienced Developer: Cloud has become even bigger in 2018. Most companies have realized the benefit and necessity for migrating to the cloud fully or, at least, in a hybrid manner. Now, companies are looking to further their implementation or build upon it. Development experience is increasingly not enough for candidates; clients are seeking specific Azure and AWS development experience, among others. Strength in cloud engineering experience is in high demand. 
  4. Big Data: Management of extremely large data sets is becoming increasingly common and necessary for organizations today. Companies are growing their investment in managing large volumes and varieties of data, and effectively dealing with the extreme data generation speeds. These systems are being optimized to discover critical patterns and trends in real-time. Big data expertise is critical for companies who must manage and translate large amounts of data immediately into actions. 
  5. Business Intelligence Analyst: Businesses must communicate information to both technical and non-technical stakeholders. Business Intelligence Analysts have experience in database technology, defining data models, extraction-transforming-loading of data into those models (ETL), and dashboard/reporting tools. As companies continue to become more invested in data, business intelligence analysts and the actionable information they make possible at all levels of an organization have become key.  
  6. Data Scientist: The Data Scientist complements the Business Intelligence Analyst. While the Business Intelligence Analyst designs the data models, constructs the dashboards, and shapes the data landscapes to become visible to the decision maker, the Data Scientist ensures the data gathered is analyzed using mathematical formulations and analytic disciplines that deliver information with integrity.  
  7. Project Manager: With companies trying to push their technology envelopes, strong project management is necessary to ensure projects are on schedule and within budget. Even more in demand are project managers with a specific industry experience, such as healthcare or IT. It is no longer enough to be skilled in project management methodologies, such as Agile or Scrum. Just as full-stack developers are a precious value to a development team, "quadruple-depth" PMs with expertise in business process analysis/business process optimization (BPA/BPO), solutions or technical architecture, strong development knowledge, and quality assurance skills are exceedingly valuable to technical teams.
  8. DevOps: In some organizations, the DevOps team is the liaison between application development and the IT operations team.  They are responsible for moving the latest version of the application to a fully deployed state. DevOps is increasingly responsible for automating and streamlining the process of software delivery and infrastructure changes. DevOps goal is to transform the entire process from beginning to end, with the objective to achieve continuous delivery. In larger organizations, DevOps is the team responsible for the coordination, integration and tools automation of all aspects of the software development lifecycle (SDLC) and platform infrastructure change. 
  9. Quality Assurance (QA) Testing: Modern business software development achieves high quality and rapid innovation within a budget. It is more and more common that business requirements need to flow from identified need to deployed functionality in weeks or days, not months or quarters. To hit those cycle times, manual testing can no longer carry the quality mark all on its own -- high performance development teams are coming to depend on automated testing to ensure that deployment is clean and users are served defect-free functionality with every release. Talented test team members, such as analysts, framework experts, and developers are in high demand. 
  10. Data Security Administrator: Security breaches have been making headlines in every element of society, including large businesses nationwide, such as the IRS, LinkedIn, Tumblr, and Yahoo. As a result, employing experienced cybersecurity professionals has been a high priority for companies both large and small. As strong security systems and procedures become more important with rising concerns and hacks, the necessity for Data Security Administrators is growing. They are responsible for defining network security requirements, ensuring all security measures are current, monitoring company-wide security practices, and implementing security strategies using innovative, proactive thinking, and complex problem solving. Companies must ensure their data and information is secure and positioned to successfully defeat data breach attempts. 
  11. Networking Administrator and Engineer: Responsible for handling LAN/WAN protocol, software, and hardware, Network Administrators and Engineers bring the necessary troubleshooting for today’s technologically-savvy world. They are the first line of defense, internally, in the case of emergency or technology failure, willing to work the long or on-call hours to ensure the technology face of the company is always in good order through their troubleshooting, communication, analytical, and diagnostic skills.  
  12. System Administrator: Similar to Network Administrators, System Administrators are the first individuals that companies call on when something goes wrong, but also the people that ensure no fires need to be put out in the first place. They must have a strong technical acumen, along with understanding both software and hardware to pair with troubleshooting and problem-solving skills.
  13. Help/Support Desk Technician: For companies with customer-facing entities, the help desk is vital to company success. These critical individuals need the combination of soft and hard skills to do the job and retain happy, loyal customers as the first line of defense. They often can be divided into three tiers which each increasing tier being more in-depth, elevated problems.  
  14. Artificial intelligence Engineer: If/then/else statements are a thing of the past. New algorithms basing on real-time data decisions are taking the front seat. This machine learning specialty is growing. Artificial Intelligence Engineers must possess strong software skills, predictive modeling experience, and utilize natural language processing for data sets. With this role continuing to evolve, well-educated Engineers staying on trend is pertinent. 


When these roles are in such high demand, the important question is how do you drive the top talent to your company? 


Start with a solid job description. When building the job requirements, choose the must-have experiences and requirements, and avoid the overloading the list with skills that may be learned quickly. It takes six years to earn the experience level of a senior front-end developer, but only weeks to learn the nuances of a front-end tool or company standard widget library.  


It helps to remember your team is competing for a very limited labor market of qualified candidates. The old hiring mantra of “Right in-person starts with perfect on paper” isn’t great guidance in a zero-unemployment tech market. HR and management today use content management principles with resumes to evaluate candidate potential.  Three basic questions need to be answered when reviewing a resume: 

  • Skills: Are the primary hard-to-earn skills demonstrated in the resume, along with some specific or related nice-to-have skills
  • Experience: Does the resume demonstrate the experience level required with those skills?
  • Career Stability: Is there a stability quotient that represents a candidate's tendency to stay committed to a career opportunity?  From review of the resume, calculate the total months the candidate spent in their last three positions, then divide the total by three.  30 months is a solid stability quotient.   


Soft skill and culture fit matter.  Most HR teams share that the objective of the initial resume content analysis is to determine if the candidate’s resume have qualified the candidate for a more in-depth review.  The initial review of a soft skill and cultural fit can be discerned from resume content as well.  For example:

  • Work experience in similar-sized organization may help to understand likelihood of fit 
  • It can help if a candidate has experienced a similar dev team organization to your firm’s structure
  • Candidate experience with your project management methodology will help too
  • Candidate experience with your code deposit disciplines (Daily?), code repository tools, and interactive development environment (IDE) platform experiences, such as Visual Studio
  • Overall DevOps similarity can matter too if for instance your shop is a truly advanced DevOps / CICD environment.  If all aspects of your SDLC from BPA to production deployment are integrated and automated with process and tooling, it will help if the candidate has experience a similar environment.   

 An initial screening interview can validate candidate motivation and your content analysis assumptions and help the hiring team to gain some impression of a candidate’s communication and listening skills.  


The critical advice is don’t let the effort to recruit a stellar candidate get lost in the effort to determine candidate skill and culture fit.  Train all participants involved in candidate recruiting that discernment of a candidates fit can and will occur just as effectively in interviews with a recruiting-forward focus. The hiring team should be trained to recruit and interview effectively.  


Central to recruiting critically important candidates is evaluating your own company’s salary and benefits relative to the market, and positioning to clearly communicate your advantages to a candidate. This starts with having highly reliable salary and benefits comparison data, so you can point out your firm’s advantages.


Technology team superiority over your primary competitors requires hiring top talent. It is a candidate’s labor market. Qualified candidates are being aggressively pursued by companies organized around landing top talent. Get your recruiting efforts organized, and prepare thoroughly to recruit effectively to deliver the right talent.

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