Skills are at the top of people's minds when they think about a career in technology. But what is it exactly, that leaders in technology are looking for when hiring into their teams, and what do they see as barriers to the process?
With the recent layoffs in technology, now is a good time to understand exactly what organisations need and how you can adapt to fit these requirements. I spoke with leaders in technology to gather their opinions on three key questions.
What are your thoughts on the impact of the technology layoffs happening in the market?
It's a challenging period for both new graduates and experienced professionals looking to enter the industry or switch jobs. While the talent pool has increased due to the layoffs, new roles have shrunk drastically. Headcount budgets are being reworked and employers are putting new roles on hold as the entire industry will now follow the likes of tech giants to trim fat and drive focus. For senior roles, employers will look to grow people internally rather than hiring from outside. This is a great opportunity for legacy companies to hire strong tech talent to help transform their systems and tech stack. But the candidates should be willing to take a pay cut to move to such companies. Hari Thiruppathi, Engineering Leader
It's unfortunate that there are these layoffs. However, I feel that it's mostly affecting only Big Tech companies, companies that had a growth surge during the pandemic, that hired aggressively and hence must reduce numbers aggressively. For engineers, if they are invested in improving their skills, I am sure there are many good options in the job market. If not now, these are bound to open soon. Archanaa Ravikumar, Head of Engineering at Autumn
There is now an increased pool of data scientists in the market, but a lot of EP holders are looking at getting their next roles. Their products and services are not affected now, but there might be a flow-on effect next year. Senior Engineering Leader at Financial Institution
What has been your biggest challenge when trying to hire and attract talent into your team? And how are you planning to overcome these in 2023
In a tech scene as diverse as Singapore, we can no longer expect to hire candidates that match all the job requirements. We should look for transferrable skills and people who can be trained on specific job skills and coached for culture fit. For example, we piloted a program in my previous company where we hired engineers with no background in Golang, microservices or cloud and trained them on the tech stack, standards and design principles used within the company.Hari Thiruppathi, Engineering Leader
Sometimes it's hard to hire for certain tech stacks. For example, we have an internal portal on Angular, while the rest of the app is on React Native. It was very hard to hire someone for the Angular stack. Our turn-around time for hiring is also very high and this means that we need to plan 3-4 months in advance based on projections, to make sure we'll have the right people on time. Archanaa Ravikumar, Head of Engineering at Autumn
One of the biggest barriers is finding the right skill sets, and in my experience, interns are technically better than seasoned professionals. Moving forward, we must think about how we target universities and open more graduate scheme opportunities. We need to develop graduate schemes, and be exploring the option of 1–2-year schemes just focused on tech (dev or data). Senior Engineering Leader at Financial Institution
What is the most desirable skill for someone entering the technology market?
Soft skills as well as critical thinking and problem-solving. What is important is knowing what to choose and when to do it. Anyone can pick up and learn technical skills but knowing when to use what is where the value lies. Senior Engineering Leader at Financial Institution
I would say solid technical skills, especially in their area of expertise. The understanding of clean coding practices and importance of unit tests. The ability to design solutions well, taking into consideration the problem at hand. For example, sync vs async communication mechanisms, the need for caching, bi-directional communications, and the choice of the right database. Good communication skills, ability to collaborate and work with product, design teams, and other engineers. And an understanding of orthogonal concepts such as release process, pipelines, Git and CI/CD. Archanaa Ravikumar, Head of Engineering at Autumn
This depends on the candidate and the role that they are applying for. It's best to have a strong grasp of CS Fundamentals, algorithms and problem solving. It also helps to learn skills relevant to the work stream they want to get into and build a specialisation, for example Backend, Web, Android/iOS, Data Engineering, SRE, Data Science. Hari Thiruppathi, Engineering Leader