Android Robot Image Credit Pixabay/RonyMichaudDynatrace has revealed its thoughts about solving the crisis of developer shortages and burnout. The pandemic put IT teams under a lot of pressure. The additional demands of remote working, digital transformation and business disruption from external sources added extra workload and pressure. The demand for IT resources also increased, and without time for cross-training and a shortage of candidates, the crisis has grown. The great resignation was a symptom of these pressures as people left organisations and roles to seek less stressful or higher-paid jobs.

Research from Robert Half indicated that 72% of tech teams have a skills shortage. The OutSystems “Developer Engagement Report: Are Your Developers Happy or Halfway Out The Door?”  found 48% of developers said they would definitely be with their current company a year from now, only 29% in two years.

If nothing is done to solve the issue, that without developers creating the software, organisations’ digital transformation efforts may fail or, at best, be delayed.

The problem of developer retention is getting worse

The shortage is increasing, with 2 million vacancies for tech jobs advertised between May 2021 and 2022. Organisations that can afford to pay higher salaries are doing so to attract new developers. In its 2021 and 2022 reports on ‘A Guide to Salaries and Skills: Technology,’ Michael Page found that:

  • Front-end developer salaries increased by 22% on average and by 40% at the lower end of the scale
  • DevOps engineer salaries increased by 22% on average and by 29% at the lower end of the scale

While Outsystems advocates a low code approach, Dynatrace proposes automation for developer tasks, freeing up their time and reducing developers’ stress. It is, after all, far better to retain existing staff than to pay for new staff. Companies also need to consider other approaches; career development and skills development are often high on the list of employee needs. Employees are looking for more than just salary increases as work-life balance, especially in the younger generations, becomes more important. Reducing the workload is important, though.

Greg Adams, Regional Vice President, UK & Ireland, Dynatrace
Greg Adams, regional vice president, UK & Ireland, Dynatrace

Greg Adams, regional vice president, UK & Ireland, Dynatrace, commented, “To enable the digital transformation businesses are heavily investing in, they need to ensure they have the right skills in place. Developers are under significant pressure to keep up with innovation cycles, and talent shortages create more work for existing teams. This leads to developer burnout as teams cannot cope with mounting workloads. Organisations need to do more than increase salaries if they are to reduce developer burnout, otherwise, they risk derailing their digital transformation journeys.”

The answer

Dynatrace advocates the automation of the time-consuming tasks that developers do. It argues that by automating as many of their routine, easily repeatable processes as possible, they can spend more time on “tasks that matter”.

Perhaps, however, these tasks matter to the developers’ personal desires rather than the need of the organisation. The automation of tasks does not remove their accountability of them, nor does it mean that the tasks are not carried out. By automating many of the tasks of DevOps and Testing, organisations can reduce the burden of work and empower developers. It allows more time for those developers to do what they want, to create code. Ultimately this means that the organisation still has the compliance in place while making the developers more productive.

Adams adds, “In too many organisations, developer teams are maxed out yet facing increasing pressure to deliver more innovation. Investing in more resources in isolation isn’t a sustainable solution. Automation, however, can create a real step change. Augmenting developers’ skills with automation reduces the need for them to manually conduct routine, highly repetitive tasks in the delivery pipeline. This enables developer teams to focus on developing new features and services and ultimately speed up the delivery of innovation.”

Enterprise Times: What does this mean

The media alert that prompted this piece was designed to highlight the need which Dynatrace can solve within organisations through its broad range of offerings. However, the problem of developer burnout cannot simply be solved by automating their processes and increasing salaries. Whilst there may be a business justification for digitally transforming the development processes, it is just one factor that contributes toward burnout.

The significance of this factor could be higher in some organisations, but the other factors should not be ignored. There has been a lot of research around this area and things that have been highlighted include:

  • Flexibility
  • Career Development
  • Skills development
  • Salaries
  • Technology
  • Culture

Automation helps, but organisations should not rush into this assuming it will solve a developer shortage crisis.


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