4 key trends in software development careers

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Covid-19 has accelerated a trend in software development, which I already considered inevitable, towards the adoption of remote and distributed teams. Given this reality, now is the time for IT leaders to start wondering what the future of software development looks like because, in many ways, the future is already here. We can already see this future taking shape in several trends.

4 key trends in software development careers

  1. An increasingly distributed workforce of developers.
  2. The rise of online social intelligence.
  3. Fewer meetings, more asynchronous communication.
  4. Releasing the work-life balance of developers.

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An increasingly distributed workforce of developers

As the post-Covid era approaches, we’ll see developers continue to work remotely from their home offices or coworking spaces. Many developers find that they are more productive and happier in this setup. Although some people will still feel that something is lost by moving away from shared workspaces, they are in the minority.

Meanwhile, companies are struggling to justify investing so much in office space in a hiring market that seems increasingly distributed. We are already seeing a trend for developers to move from high cost of living areas such as Silicon Valley to lower cost areas. While some companies have resisted this change by slashing the salaries of these developers when they move, the situation raises questions of fairness and justice. As we will see these frictions continue into the New Year, companies that prioritize flexibility and employee happiness will gain a competitive advantage in recruiting.

The rise of online social intelligence

The trend towards distributed development teams will require leaders equipped to manage fully remote teams. From the CEO to the bottom, especially in companies with a workforce that includes highly technical employees and developers, leaders need online social intelligence – the ability to read the virtual room and be insightful towards the developers. based on online interactions or the tone of the conversation.

In many cases, existing leaders can acquire the necessary skills. But in others, new leaders have emerged formally (and informally) when a leadership vacuum has arisen. Leaders who value personal relationships and empathy have particularly flourished. With fewer face-to-face interactions, engineering leaders must cultivate the ability to determine when developers are overworking and burning themselves out. Additionally, with the recent increase in burnout, leaders will need to be responsive to online queues and provide the resources necessary to meet their team’s needs.

New communication tools like Zoom, Slack or Teams have made remote communication seamless, but strong leadership involves virtually analyzing behavior and offering support when needed. It means listening to and understanding teams in multiple online environments, skills leaders will increasingly adopt if they haven’t already. Technical leaders with strong online social intelligence can help their teams understand how others perceive their online communication style, ensuring better collaboration and productivity for our new standard of work from anywhere. or.

Fewer meetings, asynchronous communication

Distributed teams quickly discovered that between the US and European time zones, a narrow window of time exists when everyone is still on normal working hours. As a result, many businesses have crammed meetings into this window, which takes place in the morning for those on the West Coast.

This schedule means that during the rest of the day, many developers now have long shifts of uninterrupted work. During these blocks, they can focus entirely on writing code, building applications, and other necessary problem solving. Along with increased productivity, developers now feel more about the intrinsic pleasures of their jobs that come from solving deep and complex problems, which means they are more engaged and less likely to change jobs.

Of course, communication should also take place outside of formal meetings. The teams are grouped into two types in order to manage this “unscheduled” communication.

  • Asynchronous teams are typically formed across time zones, including staff in the United States, Europe, and Asia. Their methods of communication require tools and practices that prevent developers from being blocked, to ensure that necessary information persists in a searchable manner and that assigned tasks are documented. Such teams usually also develop strong silos in their code, having individual developers work on specific parts of the code base. When teams are asynchronous, developers work independently of each other. This avoids the bottlenecks of those who may be harder to reach or in a completely different time zone.

  • Synchronous teams tend to form when team members are in close time zones. These teams will participate in ad hoc and informal decision-making, such as participating in an impromptu chat in Slack or Zoom to resolve an issue. They are much more likely to share responsibilities for the same code as they typically work together in real time, although they sometimes struggle to capture their design rationale and decision making in a shareable and searchable format.

Which method a team chooses depends on their specific circumstances. Either way, good managers should make sure that the specific challenges of each approach don’t hamper the team. In some cases, a synchronous orientation is the path of least resistance, but problems arise when one or more team members are outside of the base time zone set. This echoes the issues of a co-located team with a few remote employees, and managers need to stay actively involved to avoid developer attrition outside of these core time zones.

Unlock the work-life balance of developers

Finally, developers can now integrate their personal and professional lives in ways that they have never been able to do before. Previously, teleworkers took important steps to create the illusion of separation between home and work, such as making video calls to home “offices” to minimize the intrusion of home life. Pre-pandemic, the colleagues kept their children off camera and pets hidden. Now we don’t just see and embrace these little distractions, but we welcome them and often know them personally by name and age.

The sudden onset of the pandemic prompted many people to work from home even though they lacked the resources, time or motivation to implement this illusion of separation. As a result, we have grown to enjoy seeing fellow family members, pets, and other meaningful family life signifiers in meetings and video calls. At InfluxData, we have dedicated Slack channels for sharing photos of our pets and enjoying life outside of work. On the contrary, these interactions have enriched the feelings of human connection between developers and their colleagues.

Additionally, the developers have incorporated family responsibilities, including childcare and transportation, into their workdays. Others have also incorporated personal care into their routines, such as taking a regular break from exercise in their days. These minor changes and accommodations made possible by the remote work culture have led to healthier and happier developers, with many employees unwilling to return to work in the office. When developers are given the support they were previously lacking, they are able to unlock parts of themselves that can lead to better productivity and ultimately stronger results.

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The bottom line

Almost two years after the start of the pandemic, development teams have shifted to a whole new way of working. Developers have adopted new habits and skills that will continue to have a positive impact on their productivity even after they return to the office.

And now that developers have the ability to do their jobs in a way that fits well into their personal lives, they’ll be more likely to build on these new work habits. So, we can expect many of these trends to not only stay in place in 2022, but to be adopted more widely across the IT organization as well.


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