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Respondents who took our 2017 developer survey emphasized the importance of career development over any other factor by a large margin. But what exactly does this “professional development” look like, and how can companies implement this into the early stages of their hiring process? We talked to a few developers to get their insights into what “professional development” looks like.

Continuous Learning in Different Forms

The majority of developers we spoke to said that the ability to continue learning is their preferred way to grow in their profession. This can include wanting to learn a new programming language or framework, develop a new skill, or even change their career path.

With the importance of career development in mind, here are just a few things you should budget for to allow your developers to continue learning:

  • Coding workshops
  • Programming seminars
  • Online courses/certifications
  • Tech conferences
  • Meetups
  • Books/magazines
  • Necessary software or hardware
  • Bringing in guest speakers

The Ability to Work on Personal or Side Projects

If a developer isn’t getting the ability to work on new or exciting projects, they’ll likely get bored and look to move jobs (or departments/teams, depending on the company size). One way you can combat this (and allow developers to learn new skills and grow in their career) is to give them time to work on other projects. This can include letting them contribute to open source projects, giving them time to work on their personal app, or having them help out with something outside of their typical job duties.  Lots of companies also have their tech teams allocate some of their time to blogging about the projects they’re working on to create a culture of learning.

Non-Technical Skill Development

Not all developers want to become a CTO or CEO – but those who do should feel supported in that growth path. Developers who are looking to take on more managerial or leadership responsibilities (such as growing into an Engineering Manager role), should be properly trained in those areas. This can include opportunities such as bringing in a leadership coach, offering training for first-time managers, or mentorship programs.

For those who aren’t looking to grow into a Manager or Executive role, there are still many non-technical skills they could learn. This could include programs that help improve their soft skills, communication skills, project management skills, and more.

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