The market for software engineers/application developers is hot right now. As technology continues to advance, the need for tech talent will become greater. Whether you are a recent college graduate embarking on a career in software development or are a tenured professional looking to change careers, the technology you choose matters.
Not all technologies are in demand. As a 25-plus year veteran of the software industry, here are the top five questions you should be asking to ensure a successful and long-term career in technology.
Is the technology in demand? What is its forecast for growth over the next three to five years?
Before learning a new product or skill as part of a career choice, it’s important to know if the product is in high demand and will be for the foreseeable future. You don’t want to spend 6-12 months learning and getting certified in something that does not have long-term viability in the market. You should look at the market size, three to five year forecast for the technology segment, and how the software provider is positioned for growth. If they are a publicly traded company, read their annual and quarterly financial statements and listen to their most recent earnings calls.
Determine if they have a strong client base or if they are dependent on just a handful of clients for their revenue. Are they burdened with too much debt and would be crushed should a major hiccup occur in their business such as a global pandemic or economic downturn? Do they have a good balance of new and existing clients to support the business? Within their existing base do they have strong renewal purchases and are these customers willing to go on record about their success.?
Although you may not be working directly for the company, part of its long-term success depends on its reputation in the market. Check out the firm’s reviews on Glassdoor to see what the insiders are saying and find out what clients and partners are saying about them.
Is the technology cutting edge and of interest to you? Does the provider company have a long-term track record of success in product innovation?
One-hit wonder isn’t just a term used to describe Soft Cell’s, ‘Tainted Love.’ In fact, the tech industry is inundated with technologies that are popular for a short period then phase out as quickly as they appeared.
When considering a career in software development, it’s vital to research the nature and track record of the technology. Is this going to be a short-term product that will be popular for a brief time or will the provider continue to innovate and improve upon a suite of products? Determine if they are investing sufficiently in R&D/product development to ensure future growth. Before deciding on your technology area of focus see if you can get a trial of the software to play with. It’s also important that the provider integrates with complimentary technologies and even the software of their competitors.
Does the technology have a global ecosystem of supporting partners to help sell and deliver projects?
I believe the days of direct only enterprise sales are over. If a company wants to drive significant growth, especially on a global basis, they must invest in building a strong ecosystem. This involves recruiting, educating, and incentivizing partners to sell with, resell, and develop on top of their software. It also includes having companies like SkillStorm who focus on developing quality technologists who are thoroughly trained and certified in the software.
In my experience those companies who treat their partners like an extension of their own sales force have the most success. This entails extensive training and sharing of best practices even if it means giving up some competitive information. Bottom-line, before going all in on a given technology as part of a career move, make sure the provider has a strong partner network to sell and support the client base.
What are Analysts’ perspectives of the company, its vision, and products?
A good source of independent information about a given technology and its provider are the views of the mainstream analysts such as Gartner and Forrester. Look at their rankings to determine if the firm and its software are ranked highly in those categories in which they compete. If they are not currently ranked highly along multiple dimensions, then their prospects (and yours) for growth may be limited. Pay close attention to how their products stack up against the other major competitors.
What do the growth opportunities, career paths and salary ranges look like within the technology suite?
It’s important to understand what the typical career path looks like for the technology. Do research into if there are industry recognized certification levels that go hand-in-hand with increased experience. How do the salaries compare for entry and senior level positions in that technology? A good source of information on that topic is Certification magazine as well as Glassdoor and other sites. I also recommend speaking to a few people who are already on their career path in that software to hear first-hand what it is like. Who knows, they may turn into a mentor or recommend a position for you.
While nothing is a sure thing, conducting extensive research and asking these questions will help establish a successful foundation. At SkillStorm, we are constantly conducting market research and working with clients to ensure we are hiring, training and certifying tech talent in the most in-demand technologies.
If you’re interested in learning more about our Immersive Training Program, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. A member of our Recruitment Team will tell you all about the technologies we train in and how we can accelerate your career in tech!