Engineering managers: are you aware of these 4 hiring trends?

It seems a long time since early 2022, when salaries were soaring and candidates with certain IT skills were being snapped up like hot and expensive cakes.

In 2023, the tech industry is reeling from a surge of job cuts, which saw 60,000 people laid off in November 2022 alone.

For example, CircleCI cut jobs by 17% in December, and even giants like Microsoft, Twitter, Salesforce and Netflix have announced either major layoffs or hiring freezes.

Engineering managers need to adjust. Tech is no longer a high-growth sector where the battle for talent is raging–instead, it’s time to think hard about how to construct engineering teams on the threshold of an economic downturn. We’re noticing four key trends every hiring manager needs to know.

 

1. Candidates no longer call the shots

If you’re not in the middle of a hiring freeze, you can access a bigger and potentially cheaper talent pool. Laid-off engineers are scrambling for secure jobs where they can weather the economic storm.

So don’t expect to hear too many massive salary demands–but don’t expect salaries to fall either. Runar Reistrup of freelance jobs platform YunoJuno predicts IT-sector day rates will “plateau” this year after two “phenomenal” years of growth.

Some companies will look to contractors rather than permanent hires to give them more flexibility during uncertain times. 79% of managers in tech companies now use contractors to fill skill gaps in their workforce, according to a Robert Half report.

In terms of specific roles, demand remains high for frontend, backend, and full-stack software engineering skills, but data scientists are no longer such hot property.

It’s also likely to be tougher for junior engineers to find their first job–or to get adequate mentoring when they do, given the lack of senior engineering talent. On the upside, they’ll gain valuable hands-on experience and have plenty of room to move upwards.

 

2. What skills are hot (and not) 

“Safer” languages like TypeScript are still growing in popularity, and Rust looks set to become more important in 2023 thanks to safer architecture than C and C++. Google’s Android Open Source Project has made it the default language for new code, and Linus Torvalds plans to include it in version 6.1 of the Linux kernel.

However, in a tighter jobs market, engineers need to reflect carefully on which languages to build teams and careers around. Old favourite JavaScript remained top with developers in 2022, according to Stack Overflow.

Security skills will also remain important in 2023 as the geopolitical situation continues to drive up demand for security engineers.

 

3. Multicloud skills

Many companies adopted cloud computing with more speed than care during the pandemic. Engineering managers are now grappling with different challenges around costs, resilience and security, as well as how to run multicloud environments effectively when faced with these challenges.

Building skills around one cloud provider is no longer a safe bet–it’s vital for engineering managers to be prepared for a multicloud approach, as well as for complex regulatory and security concerns in 2023.

 

4. The robots are coming

Like it or not, AI coding assistants like GitHub’s Copilot are now unavoidable. Copilot offers a sort of autocomplete service where it generates coding suggestions from natural language requests. Assistants like these could start to boost productivity in engineering teams without the cost of extra staff.

In the provocatively-titled article The End of Programming, Matt Welsh, CEO of Fixie.ai, said he believed the conventional idea of ‘writing a programme’ was heading for extinction, to be replaced by writing training models for AI systems.

However, the robots aren’t taking our jobs just yet. If anything, digitalisation will result in more jobs for engineers–once we emerge from all the freezes.

 

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