First it was gradual, now it’s all of a sudden. The need for tech talent was always in demand, but now the business needs are insatiable. The pandemic compressed ten years of digital growth into two. Now it looks like every company is a tech business. If you check out any job board or online company job site, listings for software engineers and tech talent dominate .
As you can imagine, due to the acceleration of companies going digital during the pandemic, there have been many changes in this space. One of the most prominent shifts in the workplace was the incredible growth in salaries and the eagerness of companies to recruit talent across the U.S. and in other countries to find skilled computer professionals. The data also showed Canada and the U.K.—two other countries Hired serves— higher salary growth, with average salaries catching up to the U.S. to be more competitive.
An interesting trend noticed in the data, is that smaller regions saw higher salary growth as talent moved to smaller, lower cost of living areas. The Austin market has seen the highest average salary increase: 9% for engineers from $139,000 in 2020 to $151,000 in 2021.This does not include bonuses, stock and stock options. The total compensation becomes significantly larger when the overall financial rewards and benefits are included.
“Amid the ongoing tech talent shortage, the demand for software engineers has doubled, with candidates receiving more than twice the amount of interview requests than in 2020.” He advised businesses, “To win top engineering talent, companies have to offer increasingly competitive salaries, flexibility, and most importantly, extend their talent pipelines outside of traditional technology hubs to other regions globally.”
Brenner pointed out that “We’ve also seen a leveling of the playing field – companies of all sizes, and not just large or notable ones – now offer highly competitive salaries, especially as they compete for remote talent. For tech job seekers, learning relevant skills is more important than ever and we see specialized skill sets leading to higher demand and salaries.”
The report found enterprises—companies with more than 1,001 employees—often face increased pressure to compete with startups —1-300 employees—which have seen an unprecedented level of funding and growth. Smaller companies are quickly catching up with compelling pay and benefits to attract and hire top talent – bringing pay from startups on par with enterprises with an average annual salary of $155,000 for software engineers in 2021. Once again, these numbers don’t include stock and options that could significantly enhance the total package.
Here are some of the highlights of the study:
● Coding language Go was the most in-demand skill: With skills being the new currency in this global job market, Go dominated as the most in-demand skill for software engineers, followed by coding languages Ruby on Rails and Scala. Engineers proficient in Go, Ruby on Rails, and Scala had nearly 2x more interview requests on Hired compared to the marketplace average.
● Security engineers saw the highest salaries: Security engineers experienced the highest salary growth compared to 2020 and received the highest average salary ($165,505/year) out of all software engineering roles.
● Full stack engineers saw the highest demand: Engineers with full stack expertise received the highest increase in interview requests compared to other software engineering roles on Hired’s platform.
● Remote software engineering salaries increased globally: Remote salaries increased across all markets in 2021. The most notable increases were for candidates in markets such as Toronto, Los Angeles, Austin, and Denver, which saw salary increases for average remote salaries between 7-14% year-over-year (YOY).
● Companies are hiring more remote software engineers from smaller markets: Software engineers who are open to remote work received 20% more interview requests overall versus candidates who are not. While the San Francisco Bay Area continues to offer the highest salaries on average across all regions at $168,000/year, smaller markets, including Austin, Seattle, and Chicago, have seen higher salary growth last year versus the traditional tech hubs – reinforcing the shift towards hiring remote talent in smaller regions.
● Software engineers continue to embrace non-traditional education and upskilling: The number of software engineers who acquire their skills through non-traditional avenues, such as bootcamps and self-directed learning, have steadily increased over the last two years. While 46% of software engineers have a computer science degree, 24% are self-taught, and another 11% learned how to code through a bootcamp program.
● Software engineers are most motivated in their careers by opportunities for new challenges and continuous learning; building products and problem-solving; and earning potential: The top three pressing issues that engineers are most excited to tackle with their coding skills are public health, access to education, and the future of work in the upcoming years.
● Companies must prioritize company culture and flexibility to recruit top software engineering talent: When surveyed on the most critical elements of an ideal work environment, software engineers ranked “great managers,” “flexibility around work hours,” and “coworkers they get along with and can learn from” as most important, respectively.
Many people erroneously believe that if they don’t have a computer science degree from a top university they don’t have a chance to get a tech role. Brenner says what’s most important to companies is that you can do the job. For instance, a person with only a high school degree may have taken a coding bootcamp, excelled, and her coding is on par or better than people who went years to school majoring in computer programming. Unlike the traditional interview in which human resource professionals ask typical questions such as, ‘where do you see yourself in five years?’ tech interviews are all about ‘let’s see some code writing in realtime to see how good you are.’
It’s possible to break into the hot and growing field. Depending upon your motivation, drive, commitment, work history and natural abilities, it may take anywhere from three months to over four years to become a Software Engineer.
To get started, pursue a technical degree, enroll in one of the many coding bootcamps that are around, or take some software engineering courses. Practice your coding skills. Create projects and samples of your skills on a development platform. Obtain certifications from reputable organizations. Continue to learn as this is a very fluid industry.
Before the virus outbreak, remote work wasn’t too popular. Now, as we all know, it works and is commonplace. With an unrelenting demand for tech talent, businesses have started recruiting people around the world and hiring them remotely. Only three years ago if you had the talent, but lived in rural Arkansas, India, the Middle East, eastern Europe, Africa or Latin America you’d have to relocate to Silicon Valley or some other big hub.
The report concludes from the data, “The demand for software engineers is simply not slowing down. We’ve run out of ways to describe how much it’s increasing. Digital transformation may sound like a buzzword, but as more of the planet arrives online, as business owners become more creative and explore new distribution channels – as our lives evolve, we need software engineers.”