Talent Development Centre

Tag Archives: developers

All Talent Development Centre posts for Canadian technology contractors relating to developers.

Contractor Quick Poll: Do you participate in the Developer Community?

Development trends and best practices are always evolving. There will always be new coding languages, advancements in technologies, and user behaviour trends that drive a need to change. Essentially, there will always be new problems and need for innovation.

Developer communities help overcome many of these challenges by opening up networking and providing the ability to share and work on solutions together. In this month’s contractor quick poll, we’re curious to know how developers participate in communities, if at all.

GitLab’s Glance into IT Organizations

Developer surveys are fascinating as we gain insight directly from IT professionals and find out exactly what makes them tick. They show us trends in our industry, help us determine if there is greener grass on the other side of the fence, and sometimes just provide some interesting tidbits of information. We recently shared some results of Stack Overflow’s annual Developer Survey and since GitLab also published results of a similar developer survey, it only make sense we share that as well.

GitLab surveyed over 5000 IT professionals from around the world, ranging from the most junior developers to veteran software professionals. While the results garnered a variety of conclusions, these are our favourite highlights:

There are Some Distinct Qualities of a High Performing IT Team’s Culture

It takes all kinds of inputs to create a high performing team, but GitLab identified five specific qualities that their cultures all share:

  1. A DevOps culture
  2. Better access to best tools
  3. Less time context switching
  4. More likely to be using cloud-based tools
  5. Leaders make automating SDLC a top priority

The DevOps culture may be of a specific interest to you, or even come as a surprise, depending on your preferred methodology. GitLab did dive deeper into the DevOps vs Agile topic, and we’ll summarize those findings in a separate post later this month.

Developers and Management Don’t Always Agree

To add different twist, GitLab asked questions to both managers and developer and compared responses. While they weren’t always far off, it is clear by these findings that there is often a disconnect between the two groups:

Statement Developers Who Agree Managers Who Agree
Project expectations and requirements are not set up front 31% 23%
Practicing Continuous Integration (CI) alleviates blockers in the development process 84% 90%
Automating more of the SDLC is a top priority in the organization 55% 78%
Developers have access to the best development tools 74% 81%

Developers Around the World Feel the Same Pain Points

Finally GitLab also asked respondents about their biggest challenges and delays. The charts below show that, regardless of the type of organization and where they are in the world, we’re all experiencing similar set-backs:

GitLab Findings

A Look at How Developers Think (thanks to Stack Overflow)

Early last month we shared some results from the 2018 Stack Overflow Survey that showed trends in the most used technologies and what jobs bring in the most money for developers. That’s all great, but you see those trends all the time. Fortunately Stack Overflow also asks its respondents some more unique questions which results in interesting findings about the way developers think. Here are a few of our favourite highlights:

Belonging and Career Satisfaction

Apparently, life as a developer is like a fine wine: it gets better with time. The survey asked respondents about their kinship or connection with other developers, the competition they feel at work and if they feel their peers are better than them. The results are clear. As developers get more experience, life becomes better at work, with less competition. This is in line with some additional findings in the survey, that showed career satisfaction is more prevalent among older developers (ages 50+) who have more than 20 years of professional experience.

Belonging and Career Satisfaction

Ethics

Stack Overflow also took a dive into the topic of ethics this year and the good news is, most developers say they are ethical professionals when considering what projects to take on. More than half of developers surveyed say they would refuse to write code for unethical purposes and another 36.6% said they would carefully consider what it is before agreeing to do so. Unfortunately, there are still 4.8% of developers out there who would have no problems writing code for unethical purposes.

If developers were to discover unethical code, nearly half would report it and about 75% of them would keep it within the company. Most of the rest say it would depend on the situation, but there remain that 5% who would will look the other way.

While few developers believe that they would be ultimately responsible for code that accomplishes something unethical, the good news is that about 80% of developers do agree that they have an obligation to consider the ethical implications of their code

The Future of AI

Finally, Stack Overflow took an interesting look at where developers believe Artificial Intelligence is going and what effects it will have on our future. While many are excited about the potential, such as increasing automation of jobs and algorithms to make important decisions, others are concerned about those very same things and believe it to be dangerous. In general, more than 70% of developers are more excited about AI’s possibilities than its dangers.

What Developers Think About AI

This is just the tip of the iceberg of what you’ll find in the 2018 Stack Overflow survey. Check out their website for more information, such as how developers are looking for jobs, demographics of developers around the world, and career-specific information.

Fun Facts from HackerRank’s 2018 Developer Skills Report

Last week’s post summarizing the Dice 2018 Tech Salary Report had a few interesting charts around rates and wages of IT professionals in the United States. The information was compiled at the end of 2017 through a survey sent to thousands of technology workers. It turns out Dice wasn’t the only ones out surveying their readers. HackerRank recently surveyed nearly 40,000 developers to get a pulse on their skills and what makes them tick. Here’s a quick summary of the some of the more interesting results…

Most Developers Started Coding Before They Finished High School

As Hackerrank points out in their report, 25% of developers started coding before they knew how to drive. If you look at the chart below, it’s easy to see that the majority were coding before they finished high school. Interestingly enough, the report states that 47% of developers who are currently between the ages of 45 and 54 started coding before they were 16 but only 20% of the younger generation (currently age 18-24) started coding under 16.

Fun Facts from HackerRank's 2018 Developer Skills Report

Another finding in the report related to age ranks the UK and Australia as the countries who have the highest share of developers who started coding between 5 and 10. Canada sits in 5th place — 7.2% of our country’s developers started coding at that young age. The overall findings help back-up the argument that schools need to continue introducing coding skills and techniques at a young age to help build our future.

Clients Care More About Your Problem-Solving Abilities Than Your Coding Skills

When asked about core competencies developers’ hiring managers look for, an average of 94.9% including problem solving… only 56.6% said programming language proficiency which ranked 2nd. Something to keep in mind next time you update your resume.

Fun Facts from HackerRank's 2018 Developer Skills Report

The Most Popular Languages Are…

What would a survey summary be if we didn’t include the most popular languages among the respondents? To nobody’s surprise, JavaScript, Java, Python, C++ and C topped the list of languages employers seek out.

Fun Facts from HackerRank's 2018 Developer Skills Report

Naturally, developers are always trying to enhance their skills and learn the languages most likely to get them a solid job. As HackerRank points out, developers are following the lead of the Silicon Valley tech giants, with languages like Go, Python, Scala, Kotlin and Ruby being identified as the most in-demand skills to learn.

Fun Facts from HackerRank's 2018 Developer Skills Report

5 Ways Web Developers Can Stay In-The-Know

This post by Dennis Furlan was originally published on the Freshbooks Blog on July 18, 2016

5 Ways Web Developers Can Stay In-The-KnowWe all have childhood memories that stay with us.

For me, one of these memories involves visits to the doctor. Specifically, what stood out to me during these visits was the fact that the doctor used to always interrupt an examination, leave the room and come back again minutes later. Every single time.

For years, I wondered what that was all about. Until, one day, after a session was over, I walked into the hallway past a door that was slightly ajar. I peeked in and was surprised by what I saw. In his room strewn across tables, chairs, floor—you name it—were medical books.

At this instance, I learned that the doctor used to leave during sessions and go into this office in order to look up what might be ailing me. In other words, even the most educated among us need to keep current with their profession.

This is as true for web developers as it is with doctors. However, when you’re with a client, the last thing you want to do is leave and look up your solution in a book. Instead, the challenge for web developers is to stay current, so that those valuable meetings with clients are as smooth and effortless as can be.

Here are some specific ways that web development pros can stay current with their profession.

1. Blogs

Blogs offer a mix of casual (but useful!) content for consumers, including web developers. And with the vast offerings of the world wide web, there is little shortage of blogs offering timely and engaging content on the industry.

A List Apart: A magazine/blog that covers all aspects of website creation since 1997. It has a special focus on web standards and best practices, which is useful for web development pros looking to keep up with their trade.

Six Revisions: Began as a traditional blog, but has branched out somewhat to become a general news website for professionals in the field of web development. The site is targeted towards developers and web designers, with a focus on both websites and apps.

2. YouTube

One of the great YouTube features is that it’s an easily accessible platform for anyone who wants to create video content. This includes video tutorials, which can be incredibly helpful in fields such as web development and web design, where more hands-on, visual approaches may be beneficial for learning.

TheNewBoston: Provides guidance on a wide range of topics for audiences in programming, design and development. In fact, TheNewBoston has over one million subscribers. So, if there’s a web development process you’ve been itching to learn, this is probably the place to find it.

Adam Khoury: If you’re a fan of tutorial-style learning via YouTube, Adam’s your guy. This video channel offers tutorials on topics like coding and design, and covers a laundry list of web development technologies, including JavaScript, PHP, SQL, HTML, CSS and ActionScript.

3. Twitter

One of the signature attractions of social media is embedded in the name itself: it’s a media platform that’s, well, social. If you like to find information all in one place, Twitter is a great platform to use to get a glimpse of what web development gurus are actually like.

Brendan Eich: The inventor of JavaScript and co-founder of Mozilla. Eich’s Tweets regularly, sharing his thoughts on issues relating to web development, as well as a little taste of who he is outside of work.

Codrops: A more newsy resource, Codrops shares web development tutorials, provides frequent updates, insights and resources. So, if there’s a specific web development or web design topic you’d like information on, Codrops is a good account to follow on Twitter.

4. Newsletters

The newsletter is another seemingly ageless media platform. In fact, newsletters have made the transition quite nicely from print to digital—a trend that also comes with some caveats. In the web development world, here are a couple of trusted and useful newsletter sources:

JavaScript Weekly: As the name suggests, it provides a weekly email roundup of everything new in JavaScript programming. Unlike the flood of daily newsletters you typicall receive, the JavaScript Weekly newsletter is sent once a week and is a go-to destination for web developers to stay up to date on anything JavaScript.

Hacker Newsletter: Another weekly source of information for web development professionals, focusing specifically on industry news related to startups, technology and programming. The newsletter’s content is curated from the Hacker website, so subscribers can read material they may have missed on the site.

5. Forums

Internet discussion forums have been around for a while and still are because they offer the topic specificity of blogs and news sites while also featuring the personal interactivity of social media. Basically, if you’re in need of answers to specific web-development questions, a web forum is your destination.

webdeveloper.com: A source for digital discussions on topics from HTML, XML and CMS to graphics, design and mobile apps. JavaScript as a topic has almost 500,000 posts in over 100,000 threads.

KirupaForum: Another forum destination for web development aficionados with the Kirupa website—web development and design instructors since 1998. The forum itself has a unique structure. All threads are on one page, with an infinity scroll. But you are able to filter through threads at the top of the page.

So, say farewell to clunky encyclopedias and get accustomed to the plethora of information available on the web. Web developers from all over are using it to stay up-to-date with the trends.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dennis Furlan is a freelance writer who covers a broad range of topics of interest to today’s selective content audience. Visit his website DennisFurlan.com.

This Infographic Explaining IT Jobs is Too Real

“Front-End”, “Lead Gen”, “Content Marketing” — there are so many cogs that make an organization go ’round and each has their funny quirks. Half the time one department really isn’t sure what the other does. While that may cause frustration, it will all be solved in this helpful post.

If you’ve ever been part of an organization with these business functions and had to deal with a crisis, then you are going to appreciate this infographic form Toggl. It uses a simple example — a broken light bulb — to explain the stereotypical ways that each department deals with issues.

Which is your favourite/most relatable? We can’t wait to hear your feedback in the comments below.

This Infographic Explaining IT Jobs is Too Real
Comic for Toggl.com, created by the Toggl Goon Squad

Stack Overflow Says This About Developers in the Workplace

We recently shared some results of the 2017 Stack Overflow Developer Survey, specifically as they pertained to technologies used around the world. The survey was completed by over 51,000 developers and covered off a myriad of topics from technology trends to work habits to values and opinions. For example, the majority of professionals use both Agile and Scrum methodologies and less than 20% of developers work remotely more than half of the time (only 10% of Canadian respondents work remotely full-time).

Job Satisfaction Among IT Professionals

If you’re not satisfied with your current career path and think it’s normal for professionals in the technology field, think again. Most of the respondents rated their career satisfaction 8/10, with a high percentage rating it a 9 or 10. Interestingly enough, that satisfaction had a slight jump for IT professionals who had four or more years of experience.

Keeping in mind that a large proportion of respondents were full-time employees as opposed to independent contractors, there were some evident priorities that developers look for in a job in order to be happy. Compensation and benefits packages, as well as the technologies they get to use were second and third most important, respectively, but topping the list of preferred perks is professional development. It’s safe to conclude, then, that most developers and technology professionals understand the importance of keeping their skills up-to-date. If you’re not, it won’t be long until you fall behind and become less competitive.

Developers’ Values in the Workplace

Understanding what developers value and what they expect from their peers is a helpful way to fit in with a new team while on contract or manage a client’s employees should you end up in that position. Stack Overflow took a thought-provoking approach achieve this by asking developers how they would recruit and manage, if they had the opportunity. First, respondents agreed that the top priorities for hiring a developer should be communication, a track record of getting things done and knowledge of algorithms and data structures. Note how the ability to perform the specific role isn’t even in the top 3! Once on the job, they prioritized customer satisfaction, completing projects on time and budget, and peer ratings as the top performance metrics for people in their field.

As Cameron McCallum, Eagle’ Regional Vice President pointed out on in a recent post, diversity in the IT industry not only exists on a large scale, but it’s extremely valuable for companies. In his article, Cam points out that the industry still has a ways to go but Stack Overflow shows that we’re making good progress. In fact, almost 90% of respondents agreed that diversity is important in the workplace. It’s interesting to note that of all survey participants, women were more likely to value diversity than men.

The Really Important Findings

Stack Overflow works hard to understand important trends among developers and, thankfully, they captured answers to the questions that make us lose sleep, like if developers prefer tabs or spaces and their true thoughts on noisy key boards. Perhaps the most urgent is the proper way to say the word “GIF” and those results are displayed in the graphic below.Stack Overflow Says This About Developers in the Workplace

This is just a very quick summary of the many, many details you can find in the complete survey results. If you find this interesting (and you have time to kill) take a scroll through the results and see how you match up against the developers who took the 2017 Stack Overflow Developers Survey.

Every Technology Cheat Sheet a Developer Needs

Every Technology Cheat Sheet a Developer Will Ever NeedRegardless of how fantastic of a developer you are, there are very few people who manage to memorize every element of their specialty. Even if you do fit into that elite group, what about other languages and technologies where you have some knowledge, but don’t always remember it?

Have you ever visited OverAPI.com? This website is filled with cheat sheets and references that you can use while working on any technology job. For example, you can get a Python Cheat Sheet, jQuery Cheat Sheet, Ruby Cheat Sheet, PHP Cheat Sheet, Regex Cheat Sheet and many, many more!

Do you have any resources you like to use for quick reference guides? Please share them in the comments below!

Improve Your Job Search Chances as a Developer

Here Are the 5 Key Skills Hiring Managers Look for in a Developer

Smiling software developerIf you’re a contractor in development, you already know that competition is high in your profession.  In fact, “Software Developer” is the second most clicked IT job title on Indeed. What’s the best way to get ahead of your competition?  Know exactly what your client wants, and show them that you are better at it.

In a recent article from Inc., John Rampton explained to hiring managers what skills they need to look for in order to find the best developers.  By understanding these top five priorities, you can better frame your resume, cover letter, and interview responses and position yourself above the other applicants.

Language-Specific Skills

Obviously, a specific project requires specific coding skills, and clients will be seeking to make sure you have the necessary knowledge and experience in that language. Rampton also points out, though, that languages can be learned and encourages hiring managers to investigate professionals who have the ability to expand their skills quickly and easily. You should only apply to jobs where you are fluent in the primary code being used, but if you’re currently enhancing a language or are willing to commit more time to perfecting one that would contribute to the project, be sure to let the client know.

Passion for Coding

Some of the best programmers live and breathe IT.  Clients like to know that their contractor isn’t just doing their job, but are living their passion.  Point out any apps or websites you’ve built in your free time, memberships you have to industry associations, or even some of your passions that relate to the client’s industry.

Problem-Solving Ability

Rampton highlights problem-solving as an important skillset, but also admits that it’s difficult to determine during an interview process.  Consider this an opportunity in your resume to give great examples of problems you have solved in the past.  Remember to explain your process and the outcome.  With any luck, this may help you avoid awkward problem-solving trivia questions during an interview because the client will already have checked Problem-Solving Ability off their list.

Communication

As the article says: “Developers can spend a great deal of time seated in front of a computer, analyzing and creating code. However, the ability to interact with team members and communicate with supervisors is essential to ensuring your projects progress smoothly.” From the second you submit your resume to the end of the interview process, you’re proving that you have these abilities.

Dependability

The best way a hiring manager will judge your dependability is to look at the past and call references. Since you can’t change your past, it’s crucial that you always think of the future while working in the present.  Create great references by always being dependable and this skill will be a no-brainer for future hiring managers.

You may notice that most of these skills, especially the final two, can relate to practically any job and there’s a high probability that hiring managers are looking for these in all contractors.  Regardless of your specialty, take a look at the above points.  Is there anywhere you can improve?