SEATTLE—Tech recruiters need to keep an eye out now for
trends that will be hot in the 2020s, thought leaders said June 7 at the 2016
Talent42 Tech Recruiting Conference.
“Demand for tech talent is at an all-time high,” said Bob
Melk, president of tech career hub Dice, during his presentation on the future
of tech recruiting. But the hot skills of the moment might be passé five years
from now. Software engineering is changing, so tech recruiters need to be
prepared now to spot future trends in target candidate profiles, said Scott
Ruthfield, founder and CEO of Rooster Park, a software development and staffing
consultancy in Seattle.
“Hire engineers who can learn with intent,” Ruthfield
advised. In order to anticipate what skills will be needed in 2021, hiring
managers should be following the technologies developing now.
Tech Employment Outlook
The overall unemployment rate in the technology field dipped
as low as 2 percent in 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“The competition for tech talent today is undeniable,” Melk
said. “Demand for skilled talent and low unemployment rates for tech
professionals aren’t making the hiring landscape any easier.”
Meanwhile, a 2015 salary survey by Dice found that the
average technology salary in the United States experienced the biggest
year-over-year leap ever, up around 8 percent, to $96,370 a year.
Tech salaries in seven U.S. metro areas reached six figures
for the first time, Melk added. Silicon Valley in California leads the pack for
the six-figure salary, while other top-earning markets can be found on both the
East and West Coast. Not traditionally known as a tech hub, the Minneapolis-St.
Paul metropolitan area—home of Target Corp.—cracked the six-figure pay ceiling
for the first time.
Tech Skills in Demand
Recruiters in the tech space should learn how to take a data
science approach when evaluating talent, as this is critical to get access to
the best data and tools in order to find the right candidate, Melk explained.
According to Dice’s data scientists, the current in-demand
skills are the ability to use DevOps practices (DevOps is a culture in which
software developers and the IT operations side work together to solve
problems), front-end development, cybersecurity and “big data.” Popular
programming languages in 2016 include Java and Python, Melk added.
2 Tech Trends to Watch
Ruthfield discussed up-and-coming tech skills that should be
on recruiters’ radar, including:
Machine learning: a branch of artificial intelligence
where computer programs can teach themselves to grow and change when exposed to
new data. Machine learning can be applied to big data, he said. Real-life
innovations that currently employ aspects of machine learning include Echo,
Amazon’s voice-activated speaker; Skype Translator, a real-time translation
tool; and FindFace, facial recognition software.
Containers: a solution to get software to run
reliably when moved from one computing environment to another. Docker, a
container technology, can pack several applications onto a single server.
Cloud providers are moving quickly with both machine learning
and containers, Ruthfield added. “Developers should take advantage.”