The last few years have seen intense, rapid change in software engineering employment and hiring. Drivers of this change include
- the COVID-19 pandemic, which accelerated and expanded the move toward remote work
- political and social change in the US, Latin America, and Ukraine
- economic factors such as historically low unemployment in the US
Given these and other factors, what are the resulting trends that we expect to see in 2023 and beyond? (Hint: The overarching theme is FLEXIBILITY.) Let’s take a look.
1. AI will play a more prominent role.
Recent developments in artificial intelligence have been making news, perhaps most notably ChatGPT (Chat Generative Pre-trained Transformer), created by San Francisco–based OpenAI.
ChatGPT is able to create text that closely mimics human writing of many kinds. Though it has limitations, it can converse realistically, compose music, write nonfiction and fiction in various genres, answer test questions (sometimes better than the average human test-taker), play games, and even write and debug code.
This technology is poised to change everyday life. How many Google searches have you performed today? this week? In early February, Google rolled out Bard, a chatbot meant to steal Microsoft’s thunder, the day before Microsoft announced a new version of its search engine, Bing, with ChatGPT integrated. Expectations are that Bard and the new Bing will radically enhance the ability of search to synthesize sources and provide much more nuanced results than traditional search.
And AI is advancing in areas other than search. Techead predicts that businesses will expand use of AI to help them use big data and machine learning to make better decisions, and that AI will deliver advances in “healthcare, entertainment, education, marketing, and more.”
What about AI for coding?
There are already some tools, such as VS Code, that use AI to suggest code snippets or complete simple code tasks, and these tools are likely to become more sophisticated over time. Of course, writing high-quality code requires understanding the problem that the code is meant to solve and designing a solution that is robust, maintainable, and efficient. While it's unlikely that AI will soon be able to fully replace the creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills that are required for engineering software solutions, it can free up time currently spent on rote coding tasks.
2. Augmented and virtual reality will spread.
According to Mike Bechtel, Chief Futurist at Deloitte Consulting, tens of billions of venture capital dollars were invested in AR and VR in 2022. And analysts estimate a $800 billion market by 2024.
Some companies are already using VR for training, especially in dangerous tasks, where practice in simulations is safer than practice in the field. Forbes’s Bernard Marr points out that consulting giant Accenture employs a metaverse environment called the Nth Floor, featuring replicas of Accenture offices, where employees can carry out work tasks without needing to travel or commute to a physical office.
While skeptics have been slow to embrace the sometimes-clunky Metaverse, Bechtel says, “Leaders should consider it not as a diminished proxy for in-person experiences but instead as an enriched alternative to email, text chat, and heads in square boxes. In other words, the metaverse is best thought of as a more immersive incarnation of the internet itself: ‘internet plus’ as opposed to ‘reality minus.’”
Marr agrees, saying “In 2023, I predict that we’ll have more immersive meeting environments where we can talk, brainstorm, and co-create together.”
3. Computing will shift further into the cloud.
According to forecasts by Gartner, new IT spending will continue to shift to cloud options. This is part of a larger trend toward decentralization: Just as remote work means workers aren’t always on company premises, cloud options continue to pull computing away from companies’ physical premises.
Futurist Bechtel points out that as platforms and services proliferate, integrating them becomes an issue. Up to 85% of businesses are using two or more cloud platforms, and 25% are using at least five. He sees a likely move toward using a compatibility layer, or “metacloud” (or “supercloud” or “sky computing”) strategy that helps users tame multicloud complexity.
4. Use of augmented staffing will grow.
COVID and its ramifications—shutdowns and slowdowns, supply chain issues, etc.—showed us how just unpredictable the future can be. And a lot of companies, especially tech companies, are bracing themselves for economic slowdowns, perhaps even a recession. In recent months, we’ve seen high-profile tech companies such as Twitter, PayPal, and Meta laying off employees. (But even with these layoffs, according to CBS News, most tech companies are still much larger than they were three years ago, when COVID moved so much of life online.)
As a result of the need to be nimble in the face of shifting winds, according to Clapself, “Businesses will increasingly look for flexible hiring options to easily ramp teams up or down depending upon business needs.” Contract and project-based employment, nearshore options, and augmented staffing all offer flexibility.
5. Attracting and retaining talent will remain difficult.
Although, as trend 4 shows, we have seen some high-profile tech layoffs, the fact is that US unemployment is still lower than at any point in the last 50 years, and as recently as April, the unemployment rate for tech talent was just 1.3%. Further, 72% of tech employees were considering leaving their jobs, according to Bechtel. The market intelligence firm IDC predicts a shortfall of 4 million developers by 2025. With tech workers in short supply, laid-off workers often get a new job offer within weeks—or just days. Clapself writes that more than 58% of companies “expect that attracting top talent will continue to be a challenge in 2023.” Recent years have reminded the tech workforce of the value of independence and work-life balance, so companies will be challenged to keep their workforce engaged and excited.
The New York Times reports that most tech jobs are now at companies outside the tech sector, in industries such as banking, retail, healthcare, and manufacturing. While Silicon Valley went on a hiring spree during the pandemic, companies in everyday industries like these didn’t. The Times article reports “a flight to safety among tech workers,” who increasingly prefer the stability of developing e-commerce solutions for companies like Walmart and UnitedHealth rather than the prospect of, say, working around the clock and sleeping in Twitter’s post-layoff offices.
What talent will be in high demand?
Full-stack engineers: 2023 is likely to show strong growth in hiring for full-stack roles. Full-stack engineers are valued for their versatility and ability to take more than one role during the software development life cycle. This trend is being driven by the increasing complexity of software systems and the need for engineers who can work on a wide variety of technologies and adapt to new ones.
Other roles that will be surfing the trends include cybersecurity experts, AI architects/engineers, data scientists, machine learning engineers, and cloud architects. According to Clapself and Techead, demand will remain strong for software developers, UI/UX designers, and project and product managers.
6. Remote and hybrid work will remain popular.
COVID allowed unprecedented numbers of workers to work from home, and many found that they preferred it. And some companies have found upsides in jettisoning real estate and the expensive overhead of office space.
Many companies, such as Apple and Charles Schwab, have shifted from mostly remote options to hybrid models, with workers going to the office two or three days per week. Hybrid models can promote a camaraderie that email and Zoom don’t offer while still giving employees extra time with family and pets, as well as a break from daily commutes.
The trend isn’t just toward in-town options. Companies are enjoying the advantages and flexibility of recruiting and hiring skilled tech workers from far-flung locales. The previously mentioned shortages of tech talent will, according to latamlist.com, continue to drive US and Canadian hiring from and augmented staffing inside nearshore locations in Latin America.
Distributed teams can be tricky, so hiring is likely to increasingly emphasize greater collaboration and communication skills. With the rise of international teams and the increasing use of Agile methodologies, it's important for tech workers to be able to work effectively with team members from diverse backgrounds. Engineers who are flexible and highly skilled at collaboration and communication will be in high demand.
7. Specialized staffing will continue to grow.
All of the trends above point to flexibility as a primary industry-wide need. Specialized staffing agencies offer the expertise required to quickly hire tech teams or team members to meet current and new needs, even as they shift. (Whatever else 2023 brings, we know it will bring new tech needs!)
So how do companies grow a remote, distributed workforce? Sourcing specialized talent is extremely time consuming. You may get dozens, hundreds, even thousands of applicants for one posted position. And bringing aboard the wrong person or team can be costly and frustrating.
Increasingly, companies are turning to specialized staffing agencies such as SalsaMobi, which recruits remote software engineers and builds teams. While new companies are popping up in the augmented staffing space, established companies such as SalsaMobi offer deeper rosters and years of experience (15+ years in SalsaMobi’s case) finding the right talent for companies who need it and the right roles for capable tech talent.
SalsaMobi uses an augmented staffing model with a pool of 10,000+ nearshore and onshore software engineers to help clients find the right fit as fast as possible. Augmented staffing allows companies to choose from among highly filtered, well-vetted candidates to find the right team or team members. Options include using SalsaMobi to
- hire a new team member on a contract basis with terms that fit your needs
- hire a new team member now with the option to make the hire a regular full-time employee in the future
- hire straight to your team from day one
- have SalsaMobi recruit and supervise project-specific teams
SalsaMobi can swiftly augment client teams with software engineers who enjoy working remotely, because we specialize in our industry and maintain a robust talent pool that is vetted for
- tech expertise
- workplace methodologies
- communication skills
- cultural fit
Hiring? Want to learn more about SalsaMobi? We’d love to help you fill your staffing needs. Get started today.
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