Friday 18 July 2014

What non technical skills do local companies want in developers?

Employers are looking for more than technical expertise when hiring programmers, analysts, software engineers, solution architects, development leads and software development managers. In today’s job market it is important to have other skills other than your HTML, CSS, .NET, C#, SQL, and Java.  

More and more companies are looking for skills such as business and system analysis, project management, knowledge of software development methodologies (Agile/SCRUM) and tech strategy. We have analysed a number of Malta software vacancies published in the past twelve months and noticed there is a trend of skills that many companies are looking for. Having these skills will of course make you the prime candidate when compared to the competition.

Surprisingly years and years of experience are less important than you might think and if you have completed projects similar to what the employer has in mind than you are closer to getting hired. For this reason, depth of experience is not calculated in years but on completed projects.

Flexibility is another skill that employers relish with companies preferring a full stack developer rather than a specialist. This is also reflected in the increase of an average yearly salary for an experienced full stack developer which pays around €35,000. The typical vacancy requests the ability to code in 3 to 5 different languages, so in order to compete having more than 3 coding languages under your belt is a must.

The ability to migrate to mobile technology is also critical. As more business activity migrates from desktop and laptop computers to phones and tablets the IT workforce needs to be suited to build both functional mobile applications and manage the broad variety of hardware on which they are deployed.

Next comes the ability to manage a team and a project, meaning that leadership qualities together with a strong project management expertise are a prized skill for many employers. Needless to say an employee who is capable of planning, organising, motivating, and marshalling resources to achieve goals and see projects through to completion is a gem! However, even if you are managing a team you should never go for more than a month without testing your coding abilities. You never know when a project will need your direct intervention, and you need to keep up to scratch.

Of course , industry specific knowledge is still essential. If you want to work in Business Intelligence Systems, your skill set needs to go beyond the understanding of technology and also focus on an understanding of the user. Similarly when it comes to working in the financial industry, an understanding of ERP/accounting systems terminology and how they work is a must.

Finally, Business Intelligence Analytics skills are becoming increasingly important. From big data to Google Analytics, understanding the key metrics behind the business and making smart choices based on your data are critical skills even for software engineers who will need to be flexible enough to adapt their approach according to what the data is indicating. After all, employers do not want a code monkey but a programming ninja.

Our conclusion?

We have found that years of experience is less important than one imagines if you have completed a few projects that are very similiar to what the employer has in mind - and they always have something in mind, otherwise they would not be hiring. Depth of experience, therefore should be considered not in terms of years but projects completed, however this is obviously correlated.  


Many of company which want non technical skills that are communication skills, presentation skills and other skills like HTML, CSS, Java script.

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