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The demand for developers has increased steadily over the past decade, driven in part by enterprises embarking on ambitious digital transformation projects. This trend has rapidly accelerated since the pandemic and the subsequent switch to more digital business models. It’s not that hyperbolic to state that a good development team is worth its weight in gold. 

Finding the right developer has grown much harder, with demand outstripping supply. Almost everything requires development now – every business initiative is underpinned by code. Without development talent, enterprises can’t achieve their digital transformation objectives and risk falling behind competitors in the race for digitalisation.

What’s the secret to finding the best development talent and ensuring that enterprise digital transformation projects remain on track?

An increasingly digital world

So many facets of our lives are now entirely based on digital technologies. Development has been on an upward curve for years now, and people have been talking about digital transformation for the last decade. As we move towards a more digitally native society, the growth curve has become much steeper.

With 2022 looming, this demand for development talent will only grow. The pandemic has meant that businesses in many sectors have had to rapidly pivot and adjust their offering to a more digital proposition, meaning even more ongoing development requirements.

But at the same time, the number of good developers is not growing with that demand. There are some systemic reasons for this – a lack of diversity in the development industry meaning it’s not the most appealing sector for women, people of different ethnicities, and the neurodiverse. There is also insufficient training and education for developers. The industry is trying to change this, and some of these concerns will fade over time.

But right now, enterprises are facing two principal challenges – capacity and capability. There’s a significant shortage of developers, and there’s not a day that goes by that you don’t hear about a major enterprise that’s got problems with hiring or retention in their development team. Six-figure salaries are the norm, yet organisations still can’t keep people.

In terms of capability, it’s hard for enterprises to support an increasingly wide range of technologies and frameworks. Trying to do so in-house requires a large team, and that’s a model that doesn’t work anymore. So, enterprises have significant gaps in their capability. A failure to plug these gaps can mean projects get delayed or even cancelled, both of which can have long-term implications for commercial success and customer retention.

The cost of a good development team

It’s little wonder, then, that so many enterprises have opted to collaborate with third parties to fulfil their development requirements. This was once seen as a lesser option but is now regarded as a highly effective way of ensuring digital transformation projects stay on track. Augmenting an internal team with external developers, for example, can save time, money and allows an enterprise to stay abreast of the latest trends in development.

Cost is a vital consideration for any enterprise. Attracting and retaining good developers for internal teams can be a significant expense, if the right talent can even be found. It is costly to recruit developers, and then there is the longer-term expense of ensuring they are trained in the latest language and platforms, keeping their skills current and up-to-date.

The cost of development services in Europe skyrocketed in 2021. Deazy analysis of development projects on its platform revealed that nearshore development increased by almost one-third across the year. Looking at hundreds of different development projects, there was an increase of 31% on the average hourly rate, and that’s a trend that is likely to continue in 2022. This makes it even more important for enterprises to easily make price comparisons and ensure they get a cost-effective rate.

For even the biggest enterprise, cost remains front of mind on any digital transformation project. A recent report by Futurum Research on the current state of digital technology adoption found that annual spending on digital transformation has reached an estimated $700 billion. Furthermore, many of these projects fell short of the desired results. Development is just one element of digital transformation, but it needs to be delivered within budget to prevent overall costs from becoming prohibitive.

Maintaining a modern development skillset

Deazy’s analysis of development projects in 2021 also looked at the most used platforms for web development across Europe. It revealed increased usage of the cross-platform mobile technology React Native, which in 2021 accounted for 40% of mobile projects for Deazy’s development teams. Other prominent mobile platforms were Kotlin (Android), which dropped from 37% in 2020 to 20% in 2021, and Swift (iOS), which fell from 42% in 2020 to 33% in 2021.  

The analysis also revealed an increased usage of JavaScript amongst Deazy’s development teams, rising from 31% of projects in 2020 to 40% in 2021. JavaScript’s increase was due in part to a reduction in usage of Python (17% in 2020 to 9% in 2021) and PHP (24% in 2020 to 18% in 2021).  

This highlights the need for enterprises to stay on top of the latest development trends in terms of languages, platforms and technical skills. With the best will in the world, this is a challenge when most of your development is done in-house and requires a strong and ongoing investment in training.

Using an augmented team, with in-house developers working in conjunction with external teams means enterprises can benefit from the most up-to-date skills without the need to maintain such capabilities in their own developers. Such teams are also enterprise-ready in terms of how they work, comfortable with scrum methodology and project management requirements. This all means it’s easier for an enterprise to launch and update new websites, apps and digital services, augmenting in-house knowledge with external skills and creating a formidable working model in the process.

The demand for high-quality developers is not going to subside. We live in a digital world powered by applications and websites, and most organisations are already in the process of extensive digital transformation projects that require development services. This has all been accelerated by the pandemic, and the need for developers has never been greater.

With enterprises finding it difficult to find in-house development talent, the trend for outsourced development teams to complement their own dev teams has grown. Given the importance of good developers to digital transformation, this trend will continue into 2022 and beyond.