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5 Hiring Trends in Software Development


Companies (and ideal candidates) care about solving problems for the end user.

Hiring needs in the tech industry – specifically on software development teams – evolve almost as quickly as the technologies themselves. One year employers are trying to get their hands on Ruby developers, and 12 months later, a new JavaScript framework is all the buzz. This doesn’t make things easy for job seekers or new employers looking to hire their first software developers.

Drawing on conversations with our 200+ employer partners at Codeup, we’ve compiled a shortlist of five trends we’ve seen emerge recently. In a nutshell, it’s all about solving problems for the end user.

The growing popularity of Agile has created more opportunities for full-stack developers.

First, what is Agile? In a nutshell, it’s a set of management practices that allows software developers to write code and build products more efficiently.

Agile has gained serious ground in IT departments across a variety of industries, from finance to food service. While Agile doesn’t explicitly require a team of full-stack developers, it does ask developers to be fully engaged in all facets of building an application, from creating user stories to deployment. As a result, roles on an Agile team start to blur, and each individual winds up working on features across the tech stack.=

There’s no doubt that a team of specialized front-end and back-end developers can build great software. However, today’s hiring managers seem to have a preference for full-stack developers, or at least those who understand both sides of a given tech stack, because these well-rounded employees have a leg up on others in an Agile environment.

Good software development leverages design thinking across the stack to benefit the end user.

Structure and efficiency are still important for software engineers to get right, but more and more, it’s critical for developers to code across the stack with the end user at top of mind. In fact, Agile teams dedicate time to create user stories that inform the products they build, and each team member is involved in a recurring (or iterative) design process.

Tim Brown, the CEO of international design firm IDEO, says, “Design thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.”

Software is everywhere these days, and it’s not just for techies. Solutions need to be slick, innovative, and easy-to-use. The latest version of iOS or Android needs to be impressive enough for tech enthusiasts to get excited about and straightforward enough for grandpa to check his voicemail. Most importantly, good developers realize those two things aren’t mutually exclusive.

JavaScript takes candidates further than ever before.

Now more than ever, a strong understanding of JavaScript can really help software developers land a great job.

Once a fairly basic, client-side scripting language, JavaScript has made powerful gains in functionality while staying lean and efficient. In recent years, Node.js, a server-side runtime, has transformed JavaScript into a full-stack powerhouse.

JavaScript continues to deliver on the front-end, too: React.js has revolutionized user interface development and has become the front-end JavaScript framework of choice for Fortune 500 companies and startups alike.

Diverse and non-traditional candidates are in the spotlight.

Diversity in tech remains elusive and persists as a key talking point in the industry. Women, as well as black, Latinx, and LGBT workers, remain severely underrepresented. In light of this year’s high-profile headlines on gender diversity issues at Uber and Google, many tech companies have doubled down on their commitments to boost workplace equality and employ people who authentically empathize with a diverse group of end users.

We’ve also noticed a growing trend toward diversity initiatives that aim to include nontraditional hires like military veterans, career changers, and candidates without four-year degrees. For example, the Microsoft LEAP initiative seeks candidates who have tech experience but may have been out of work for a while (e.g., stay-at-home moms or dads) or career changers with at least six months of software development experience.

Strong problem-solving skills remain the common denominator among great developers, and interviewers know it.

This is less of a hiring trend than it is a skill that employers continue to require of all new developers, especially non-traditional hires who may not have a computer science degree or years of experience.

Software developers – especially those new to the field – are in a constant state of learning new technologies and solving problems they’ve never encountered before. The ability to define a problem, recognize key inputs, and identify potential solutions is particularly important when the quality of a line of code depends on the developer’s ability to think logically and efficiently.

Interviewers often ask candidates to walk through a scenario, usually a past experience or a hypothetical case study, where the candidate needs to demonstrate their ability to assess a problem and formulate a solution. Sometimes these questions can be technical and quantitative, other times they’re more behavioral, but either way, it’s clear that companies want employees who think well on their feet and come to their managers with solutions instead of self-explanatory questions.

Conclusion: Honing your skills to meet employment trends can help you get a software development job, but first, invest in learning the fundamentals of programming.

Beyond these trends, employers continue to look for one thing above all else: technical skills! Before learning a new JavaScript framework and doing research on best practices for design thinking, you’ve got to have the fundamentals of software development under your belt. That’s where Codeup comes in. Our 18-week career accelerator gives you all the tools and training you need to capitalize on these trends and land a great job as a software developer.

To learn more about Codeup, email us at or apply today!