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‘Willingness to learn’ is valued more than ‘skills’ in software development hiring: report

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When it comes to software development hiring, employers value candidates who express a willingness to learn above all else, including technical skills, according to a new report.

The “State of Software Development 2018” report by Coding Sans reveals the biggest challenges facing the software development agency.

The conclusions do not differ much from last year’s report as far as the biggest challenges the industry is facing are concerned, but the report does highlight some revealing factors as to what makes a good hire in software development.

Read More: Overcoming the 3 biggest challenges startups face in software development

Just like the 2017 report, the three biggest challenges facing the industry include capacity, prioritizing, and hiring.

The ‘face’ of software development hiring in 2018

Of the more than 300 participants surveyed, having a willingness to learn was the most common factor (44.55%) when considering a new hire.

Technical skills came only in fourth place at 37.62% which goes to show that employers value attitude over skills and even experience (37.62% again).

Recognizing that having a willingness to learn is the most valued characteristic in software development, the majority of employers attract their ideal candidates by catering to this mentality.

According to the Coding Sans report, being tasked with an interesting and/or challenging project is tied at number one, along with having a good company culture (44.88% each), for attracting the best candidates.

Being immeresed in a positive environment where one is challenged to think creatively while learning new things is the face of software development in 2018.

How do software development companies find the best candidates?

The most popular way software development companies find the talent they need is by hiring in-house recruiters, external headhunters, or agencies to get in touch with potential candidates.

Another method tech companies use is to run an internship program where they can capture talent early. This method takes time until your interns become juniors and seniors, but this works exceptionally well since interns learn super fast and usually convince their friends to join the team as well.

Business News Daily reported that “more and more employers are partnering with staffing agencies, which take a lot of the time and effort out of the talent search by providing their own workers for open roles.”

However, according to the Coding Sans report, an employee referral is the most efficient hiring method with 25.08% of those surveyed agreeing. In-house recruitment came at a distant second with 16.83%.

An overlapping pattern in Software Development hiring

The entire recruitment process for software development centers around people, obiviously, but it has to do more with attitude, relationships, and culture.

Technical skills, although indispensible and necessary for the job, do not make a good hire alone. The pattern we are seeing across the board is that how you work and what your co-workers think about you are far more important factors than just having the skills.

Software developers need to be challenged. The need to be reliable, and they need to have the approval of their peers if they are going to make it anywhere in the business.

This year’s “State of Software Development” survey had the largest number of respondents with 303 professionals from 48 countries participating.

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Tim Hinchliffe
Tim Hinchliffe is a veteran journalist whose passions include writing about how technology impacts society and Artificial Intelligence. He prefers writing in-depth, interesting features that people actually want to read. Previously, he worked as a reporter for the Ghanaian Chronicle in West Africa, and Colombia Reports in South America. tim@sociable.co