There’s currently a developer shortage, applied almost universally. But some specific fields, like machine learning and blockchain development, are experiencing an especially problematic talent shortage. If you’re trying to develop a software product that requires talent from an advanced, in-demand field, you may struggle to find the right candidates.
Fortunately, there are some strategies that can help.
First, you need to understand the nature of demand in the field of software development, and anticipate it as a major obstacle. Skilled developers in practically every field will always be in high demand, because there will always be entrepreneurs working on important projects that require code—and software development is becoming important for an increasing number of other fields. Escaping the shortage is usually not possible if you try to “wait out” the shortage, or if you adjust your plans to capitalize on a different cohort of developers. Instead, it’s better to address the high demand head on.
How to Hire Developers in an In-Demand Field
If you’re trying to hire software developers in an in-demand field, these tips could help you find the best candidates and maximize your chances of recruiting them:
- Consider nearshoring. First, consider nearshoring instead of hiring a developer in-house. Nearshoring, in case you aren’t familiar, is like offshoring; it’s a way of outsourcing your development needs. However, nearshoring attempts to make up for the weaknesses of offshoring; with offshoring, you may be stuck dealing with language barriers, time zone discrepancies, and other issues. With nearshoring, the development team will be physically closer to you, so you’ll have fewer cultural barriers to overcome—but you’ll still have access to a full team of talented people, often at a lower rate than you’d pay if you hired staff members full-time.
- Offer more competitive pay and/or benefits. The most straightforward way to attract better talent, even during highly competitive periods, is to offer more competitive pay and benefits to the people you’re hiring. While most people consider a number of factors before choosing a job, one of their highest priorities is pay; if you can offer a higher salary than a close competitor, a candidate may be more willing to work with you. The same is true if you offer a more robust benefits package. Obviously, this approach may not be a realistic option for every business due to budgetary considerations.
- Create a more attractive work culture. If you can’t offer a higher salary or better benefits than your competitors, you should at least be able to offer a more attractive work culture, in one way or another. For example, you might offer flexible hours for your employees, or allow them to work from home. You might offer regular teambuilding events, free things at work, and other perks as well.
- Make your work exciting. Lots of highly skilled developers don’t decide where they work based on salary and work culture, but instead based on personal interest. The best people in the industry are the ones who genuinely love what they do, so they want to work on projects that sound most exciting to them. Finding a way to pitch your project in a way that makes it sound more enticing can help you appeal to these top-tier developers.
- Work on prospects one-on-one. You’ll also want to refine your recruiting strategy, and work with candidates one-on-one when possible. Casting a wide net and advertising to as many developers as possible is a good move if you’re struggling to find available candidates, but when you narrow down the field, you’ll have a better chance of success if you talk to your prospects one-on-one. Get to know them and their goals, and try to figure out whether your organization is a good fit. If it is, it shouldn’t be hard to persuade them to join you.
- Broaden your pool of candidates. If you’re having trouble finding enough candidates who match your ideal target, consider broadening your pool of candidates. There are many ways to do this, such as by looking for people outside your country, or by accommodating people who meet some, but not all of your initial requirements.
- Consider cultivating talent from the ground up. It’s also a possibility to build your talent pool from the ground up, bringing on people with limited development experience and giving them the mentorships, education, and other resources they need to become top-skilled developers over time.
There isn’t much you can do to reduce demand in a specific area, or avoid demand by pursuing a different type of project, but you can exercise more control over the recruiting process. Keep an open mind and be ready to make adjustments as you follow and improve your strategy.