Software developers are responsible for designing, developing, and maintaining software applications that meet the specific needs of a business. Working closely with stakeholders and cross-functional teams, good software developers develop a deep understanding of user requirements to identify technical solutions and create efficient and reliable software systems.
Hiring the right person for this role is crucial because their skills and expertise significantly influence the quality and success of software projects. Talented and experienced developers can deliver high-quality code, minimise errors and bugs, improve software performance, and adapt to changing technology landscapes. Conversely, a mismatched candidate can lead to project delays, increased costs, and subpar software outcomes. Hiring the right software developer ensures that a business can leverage technology effectively, stay competitive, and meet the evolving needs of its customers.
This job description will vary from one company to another. For example, smaller organisations may only require one developer who is also required also to test their own code. Whereas larger companies may employ developers who work alongside QA testers to check their work for errors.
Technical Skills to Look For on a Software Developer’s CV
Depending on the project, developers may be required to have expertise in many languages, platforms and tech tools. If you’re in the market to hire software developers, below are the technologies we find our clients most commonly looking for. Our specialist tech recruitment consultants can offer tailored advice depending on your company’s circumstances and the projects your organisation undertakes.
Most software applications rely on storing and retrieving data from databases. So a software developer must understand how to design, create, and maintain databases and write queries to retrieve and manipulate data. Without this knowledge, a software developer may struggle to develop software applications that interact with databases efficiently and effectively. Understanding database management also allows developers to optimize software performance, ensure data security and integrity, and make informed data storage and retrieval decisions. Familiarity with relational databases like MySQL or PostgreSQL and NoSQL databases like MongoDB or Cassandra are the things to look for on a CV for this role.
Software applications are becoming more commonly deployed in the cloud rather than on-premises servers. Understanding cloud computing allows someone in this role to design and develop scalable, flexible applications that can benefit from cloud technology.
Essential cloud computing technologies to look for on a CV for this role include experience with cloud platforms such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, or Google Cloud Platform (GCP). You might also ask about their knowledge of containerization technologies like Docker and container orchestration tools like Kubernetes. Experience with cloud-related development tools such as Terraform, Ansible, and CloudFormation might also be beneficial.
Software development methodologies ensure that software projects are delivered on time, within budget, and to the expected quality. Standard methodologies are Agile, Waterfall, Scrum, and Lean.
In some organisations, developers may be responsible for conducting unit testing and debugging during the development process, while QA engineers focus on conducting system testing and ensuring the overall quality of the application.
However, it is still important for developers to have a basic understanding of testing and debugging principles to create code that is easier to test and debug. Ultimately, having both developers and QA engineers with strong testing and debugging skills can lead to higher-quality software applications. Look for proficiency in testing and debugging tools and frameworks like JUnit, Selenium, or Cypress.
Software developers must understand version control to manage changes to their codebase, collaborate with other developers, and track the history of their code. Version control systems enable developers to keep track of different versions of their code, maintain a shared code repository, and roll back changes if necessary. Examples of version control tools that developers might use include Git, Subversion (SVN), and Mercurial.
Understanding DevOps helps developers ensure that their applications can be deployed, maintained, and scaled effectively. DevOps is an approach that emphasises collaboration and communication between development and operations teams, aiming to streamline the software delivery process.
Examples of DevOps tools that developers might use include Jenkins, Travis CI, and CircleCI for continuous integration and deployment, Docker and Kubernetes for containerization and orchestration, and Ansible and Chef for infrastructure automation. By understanding DevOps principles and tools, developers can work more effectively with operations teams to deliver high-quality software applications that meet business requirements.
Developers will need some knowledge of mobile development if they are building mobile applications or features for mobile devices. Understanding mobile development principles and tools can be useful for developing native or hybrid mobile applications, optimising user interfaces for mobile devices, and integrating with mobile-specific features such as GPS, camera, and push notifications.
Some useful mobile development skills for a software developer to have might include experience with mobile frameworks such as React Native, iOS, or Android. knowledge of mobile-specific design principles, user experience considerations, and familiarity with mobile app distribution and publishing processes.
Machine learning is a specialised field within computer science and artificial intelligence that involves training algorithms to learn from data and make predictions or decisions. It is used in many applications, from recommendation systems to image recognition and natural language processing. However, not all software development projects require machine learning, and many developers may specialise in other areas.
That being said, having a basic understanding of machine learning and its potential applications can benefit software developers working on projects involving data analysis or predictive modelling. Familiarity with machine learning frameworks like TensorFlow or PyTorch and data science tools like Pandas or NumPy are the things to look for.
Soft Skills To Look For When Hiring Software Developers
As technical skills are so scarce, many managers are tempted to hire candidates who don’t have the relevant technical skills or experience and instead train them in-house. The theory is that you can teach technical skills in a classroom, but soft skills, or character traits are harder to impart. Therefore if someone shows enough enthusiasm and displays the character traits of a good Software Developer, they will be easy to train. Whether you’re an employer looking to grow your own talent or seeking a seasoned professional, below are the qualities that make an excellent software developer.
As software development involves solving complex problems, suitable candidates should be able to identify problems, evaluate options, and recommend solutions.
A developer must have excellent communication skills to understand requirements, explain technical concepts to non-techies, and collaborate with cross-functional teams.
Technology constantly changes, so the most suitable candidates will be the ones who can adapt to new technologies, tools, and methodologies.
Software development requires attention to detail to ensure the code is error-free and meets user requirements.
Developers often work on multiple projects simultaneously, so look for people who can manage their time effectively to meet deadlines.
Developers work in teams, so they should be able to collaborate and work well with others, including project managers, designers, and stakeholders.
Developers should be able to think creatively and develop innovative solutions to problems.
Technology is constantly evolving, so a good developer should be willing to learn new skills, tools, and technologies to keep up-to-date with the latest trends.
Are Qualifications Necessary for Software Developers?
There are many paths to becoming an expert software developer, and formal education is often not the one they choose. If developers have a degree, it will usually be in Computer Science or Software Engineering. However, many exceptional software developers are self-taught, trained at bootcamps, or obtain professional qualifications through Microsoft, Oracle or Cisco.
There are many benefits to employing self-taught software developers. They often have a strong passion for coding and develop unique problem-solving skills. Self-learning produces a diverse set of experiences and perspectives, which can result in more innovative solutions. They are often highly motivated with a strong work ethic, having gone through the process of self-educating. Therefore, assessing candidates on their technical skills and experience is more important than formal education.
Challenges Employers Face When Hiring Software Developers
Hiring developers is challenging as they must undergo multiple technical interviews and assessments and often receive multiple job offers. Employers must act quickly to secure candidates with niche skills, as they risk losing them to competitors. This is due to the high demand for skilled developers and the limited talent pool.
The demand for software developers is high, and qualified candidates are scarce. This supply and demand imbalance creates a candidate-driven market where developers have abundant job opportunities, so they can be highly selective about where they work.
Businesses face stiff competition from larger companies competing to hire the same tech talent. Lesser-known companies encounter difficulties attracting top talent unless they have bottomless budgets for high salaries, benefits, and perks.
Developers seek companies that value diversity and inclusion because it creates a welcoming environment that promotes collaboration, creativity, and innovation. Businesses that don’t promote these values often need help to attract developers.
Developers want to work for companies with a strong company culture that aligns with their values. Businesses without a strong employer brand to portray their internal culture often encounter difficulties attracting and retaining developers.
Developers want to work with the latest technologies and tools. Businesses that use outdated technologies or processes often need help attracting developers seeking fresh challenges.
Businesses in less desirable areas or with an awkward commute may find attracting developers seeking a good work-life balance challenging.
How We Can Help
We have extensive expertise in the technical hiring process and can provide guidance and support at every stage. We can also provide market insights on salary expectations, industry trends, and candidate availability, helping our clients right technical talent without compromising their brand reputation.
Our team of specialist IT recruitment consultants are experts in hiring tech professionals and can provide expert guidance and support at every stage of the recruitment process. From writing technical job descriptions to negotiating job offers with highly skilled and specialised candidates, we’re only a phone call away.
We’re experts in screening candidates and unafraid to ask probing questions. This thorough screening ensures that you only spend time interviewing relevant applicants.
Our recruitment consultants have a deep understanding of the IT job market and can provide insights into salary expectations, industry trends, and candidate availability. This industry expertise helps our clients create competitive job offers that attract top talent.
No employer brand? No problem! Or maybe, your brand is such a massive household name that for every job you advertise, your business receives a multitude of irrelevant applications. In the first instance, we can help you build your brand and establish a reputation as an employer of choice in the IT industry. In the second, we can help you go under the radar and provide a cloak of anonymity.
We maintain client confidentiality throughout the recruitment process, which can be highly beneficial for employers who may not want to advertise open positions publicly. This can be equally useful to high-profile companies that receive vast numbers of irrelevant applications and smaller companies that struggle to compete with larger brands and therefore struggle to attract any.
The information on this page is correct at the time of publication. However, as technology evolves so rapidly, the requirements of this role may change. For tailored hiring advice unique to your circumstances, please speak to our expert team of IT, Digital and Marketing recruiters.