What Is the Demand for Software Engineers?

Are software developers still in demand? Learn which skills software engineers should have to remain in demand on the market.

If you are trying to hire software developers for your new project, you might want to know if the demand for software engineers is high. The short answer is yes, the demand for software engineers is really high these days. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the demand for software developers, QA analysts, and testers will grow by 22% between 2020 and 2030, which is considerably faster than for all other occupations.

Whether you are an aspiring engineer or a technical executive trying to find the right talents for your team, chances are, you are going to face fierce competition either to land that job or to fill that gap on your team with a skilled professional. 

To say that the demand for software developers is high is a gross oversimplification as there are many factors contributing to it. The growing complexity of the modern software, a need for innovations, the size of a company, a need to update the old legacy systems, the popularity of particular programming languages and frameworks – all of that would mean a night and day difference between finding the right people for the job fast or spending months upon months trying to recruit a single developer. 

So, what is the software engineer demand in 2021, and what are the most in demand skills on the market? Let’s see.

What do Tech Leaders Look for When Hiring? 

Surprisingly, the most decisive factor when it comes to choosing a software developer for the project is the size of the company.

According to a HackerRank report, smaller companies tend to lean towards hiring full-stack developers rather than specialists. Apparently, that is because the full-stack developers are able to cover more ground with their many skills, which is why full-stack software developer demand is considerably higher among smaller companies. 

Larger companies that can afford larger teams seem to be leaning in favor of specialists who excel in a particular domain. This actually makes a lot of sense: a large company would rather hire several highly specialized experts who’d be able to handle their narrow array of tasks flawlessly than to hire a single jack of all trades to cover more tasks.

That being said, the data shows that full-stack developers are the leaders when it comes to software developer skills in demand. It is estimated that nearly 70% of CTO’s consider front-end, back-end, and full-stack developers to be their top priority while the remaining 30% consider DevOps Engineers, Data Scientists, and QA Engineers to be more important. 

You should note, though, that your personal demand for offshore software development experts should not be dictated by the trends. Your business might need a different approach than the rest, and that is why you might need different types of software engineers for your project. Still, the very fact that the full-stack developers are considered to be some of the most sought-after experts might give you some idea of what kind of people to look for. 

The Most Sought-After Languages by Regions

JavaScript remains the most popular programming language worldwide followed closely by Python. There are regional differences here and there though, and some languages seem to be more popular in certain regions than in the rest of the world. What it tells us is that the market is not as homogenous as one might assume. 

Whenever someone tells you that you should use a particular language because it is really popular these days, remember that you are not everyone, you are you, and so you have to do what fits your needs. However, when it comes to software engineers in demand, you need to understand that you might be having a hard time finding the ones specializing in highly sought-after languages.

Additionally, you need to remember that there is a number of countries with the highest demand for software developers, namely Switzerland, Austria, the Netherlands, Germany, and the US. More so, even within a single country like the US, there are cities with high demand for software developers, and it is no secret that places like California are booming with activity in that department.

That is why you might be better off hiring people in Canada or Mexico rather than in the USA or you might even look farther overseas and hire people in LATAM countries or in Europe, in countries like Ukraine. Not only would you have access to a much larger talent pool, but you would also get the chance to hire people at a lower hourly rate.

Going back to the popularity of software engineers by programming languages, here’s what the research data says:

As you see, finding software engineers specializing in languages like JavaScript or Python might turn out to be quite a challenge in most places around the world. One of the most exciting finds here is the growing number of “language agnostics” among the CTO’s. Basically, it means that the manager does not really care which language the developer uses.

This line of thought stems from the idea that if the developer already is good with one language, they would be able to easily learn the second one to adapt to the job demand on the go. Many CTO’s are willing to invest time in retraining, say, a skilled JavaScript developer to become a skilled Python software engineer. With such an approach, you would end up having a great developer who excels in several languages in one person, which is cost-efficient and rather convenient for everyone. 

Not everybody has the time to invest in such an endeavor and that is where outsourcing comes into the picture.

How Outsourcing Covers the Growing Demand

The data shows that more than 300,000 jobs are outsourced by US companies on a yearly basis with the top reason behind it being cost reduction. Most companies that outsource their projects to their partners overseas seem to be interested in lower hourly rates as well as in covering the demand for software developers.

While the US companies seem to be investing more and more in new technologies and the development of new applications, the domestic talent pool remains largely depleted, especially in the states like California, Texas, New York, and Virginia. 

With these numbers in mind, you can see that the nation’s average is one of the highest in the world for software developers. Add all the bonuses, taxes, and overheads on top of that, and you’ll be spending a rather hefty sum on a single developer. The hourly rate for the software developer in the US is between $75 and $160, which is considerably higher than in most countries you can outsource your application development project to.

As displayed here, the USA clearly is one of the most expensive countries when it comes to hiring software developers, which paired with high demand and fierce competition on the market, makes it a rather puzzling environment for hiring software developers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, ‘there are going to be about 189,200 new openings for software developers, QA analysts, and testers each year between 2020 and 2030 in the US.

At the same time, the top higher education institutions that grant Computer Software Engineering degrees like San Jose State University, Northeastern University, Arizona State University-Polytechnic, Carnegie Mellon University, and the University of Texas, along with other institutions, only grant around 3,300 degrees each year.

Of course, not all the developers come from universities, and not all the employers really care about the degree, so it does not mean you have just a handful of people to choose from. But! Considering the disparity between the demand and supply of software developers, you might want to tap into other talent pools to get things going faster for your project. 

What Can You Do?

So, are software developers in demand, and is that demand high? If there are going to be 189,200 new positions for software developers opening each year, as the BLS projects, and only some 3,365 computer software engineers graduating each year, you can say the demand is going to be over the roof. Even if you add tens of thousands of developers who don’t have the degree on top of that, there’s still going to be a huge gap between supply and demand. 

We are already several years into a talent crisis, in case you didn’t notice, and that crisis is only going to get worse. If you’ve been struggling to find the right people for your team, outsourcing might just be your best option.

It is estimated that there are some 24.5 million software developers in the world with the APAC region showing the strongest growth rates followed closely by the LATAM region. Central and Eastern Europe are not lagging behind with a quarter-million developers being located in Ukraine alone, which is more than enough to cover the US demand for software developers. 

Add such benefits as high cost-efficiency and professionalism on top of that, and you get yourself a solution for the growing demand and fierce competition on the market. With outsourcing becoming more popular each year, especially in the light of recent global events, it is more than reasonable to try and look for the solution overseas and hire software developers who can do as good a job at a lower price and without all the headhunting and recruitment headaches.

IT and talent solutions
Intersog is a leading IT solutions provider in the United States and beyond. The company has provided agile software engineering and staffing services for Fortune 500 corporations, tech startups, and SaaS businesses for over fifteen years. Why Intersog.