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Post by Rich Moy on Apr 10, 2018 12:00:00 PM

Time and time again, developers have said that opportunities for professional development are among their most crucial job evaluation criteria. As part of this year’s Global Developer Hiring Landscape, we were curious to learn more about the types of opportunities that they want. To find the answers we were looking for, we asked respondents to tell us their biggest career goals.

So, what do programmers want to be doing in five years? As an employer, how can you adjust your professional development programs to help them achieve those career development goals? In this post, we’ll unpack the answers to both of these questions, which will help you stand out in the competition to hire technical talent.

Working in a Different or More Specialized Technical Role (33.9%)

A whopping 33.9% of the 101,000 survey respondents told us that they want to be working in a different or more specialized role in five years. Before we dive deeper into this, we should take a closer look at the types of jobs that they currently hold.developer_types_2018

Out of the top five developer types, over 57% of respondents identified themselves as Back-End Developers, with another 48% saying that they’re Full-Stack Developers. The chances are that you have a handful of these types of programmers on your engineering team. So now the question becomes, what does this mean for their career development goals? For that answer, we can look at their most wanted programming languages.wanted_languages_2018

On this top-five list, programming languages like Python and JavaScript probably look familiar. But what about Go, Kotlin, and TypeScript? Developers are using these languages to work on things like 3D Web Development, Blockchain projects, and new approaches to Android. Partner with your engineering managers to create opportunities for developers to experiment with these emerging languages on the job. Not only will your developers add new skills, but you’ll also future-proof yourself for when your tech stack needs an update down the road.

Working as a Founder or a Co-Founder of Their Own Company (25.7%)

A large percentage of our survey respondents have an entrepreneurial spirit. Over 25% of developers told us that they want to start their own companies in the next five years. As an employer, this might be cause for concern. After all, how can you support their curiosity in this regard and retain developers?

This might sound counterintuitive, but supporting a developer’s interest in launching his or her own company could actually help you retain technical talent. Arie Litovsky, a former Developer here at Stack Overflow, once wrote about turnover on his team. “During the two years I’ve worked at Stack Overflow, only three Web Developers have left the company,” he wrote. “Of the three, two of them left to work on a startup.”

How did his team achieve this? “You build trust and rapport with your co-workers,” Litovsky continues. He adds that because of the trust he had across multiple business functions, the company inadvertently supported his career growth by showing him how he could make a more significant impact. While he hasn’t started his own company, he’s grown into a successful Engineering Manager with another organization.

Working as an Engineering Manager or Other Functional Manager (19.4%)

There are plenty of developers who want to focus on writing code. But that isn’t the case for all programmers. In fact, nearly 20% of our survey respondents told us that they want to grow into managerial roles over the next few years.

How can you know which career track each of your programmers is interested in? Ask them! If you find that a select few want to become managers, invest in training materials for those developers. But if a larger-than-expected group expresses interest, supplement those individual materials with group training sessions to help them achieve their career development goals.

2018 dev landscape


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