Developers Are Finding Their Path on a Composable Landscape

Did the pandemic hiring frenzy create a talent chasm for developers in the digital customer experience space?

Earlier this week, when Kelly Rusk’s DXP development company announced that he and his colleagues were being let go, it was a shock, needless to say.

As a 2022 Sitecore MVP, an honor bestowed upon members who have “demonstrated mastery of the Sitecore platform and a commitment to sharing knowledge and technical expertise with community partners, customers, and prospects,” Rusk took to Twitter to share the news with others in the Sitecore Community — a group composed of developers who help manage and implement Sitecore’s digital customer experience technology.

The tweet gleaned dozens of responses — and the next day Rusk announced he’d already found a new job in the Sitecore space.

The DXP Developer Hiring Landscape 

Is Rusk’s tale a sign of the economic times? Or is development in the web and digital experience space in better shape in a gloomy economy? With employment projected to grow 23% from 2021 to 2031 — the field of web development is flourishing much faster than average according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Ryan Bennett, technical architect and co-founder of Cylogy, currently focuses on the Sitecore Experience Platform, and said he hasn’t noticed any major changes in the level of work.

“Though clients do seem to be more judicious about which projects they pursue with a longer than average timeline for project start,” Bennett said. “For us, there’s been a big move to headless development projects, primarily with clients bundling a move to headless along with site refresh/redesign projects.”

While many industries suffered catastrophic economic consequences during the COVID lockdowns — many digital platforms thrived. The need for developers grew. However, talent was in short supply with Garner reporting that IT executives (75%) cited talent availability as the main adoption risk factor for the majority of IT automation technologies.

A Matter of ‘Neglect and Waste’ in Tech Industry

In the pandemic rush to gather enough workers to meet rising demands, as time went by, some Web CMS and digital customer experience tech enterprises came to realize they’d over-hired, overpaid and neglected to nurture in-house talent. 

“We had this kind of market run up where a lot of individuals were asking far beyond maybe what their worth was, as developers and organizations were just handing out moneybags to everyone to compensate for inflation and COVID bounce, especially in the tech space,” Rusk said. “So now we’ve got this dynamic where some may have outrun their payrolls and that’s going to affect the margins for these organizations — especially smaller shops who are going to have to make some tough decisions.”

Steve Glass, chief marketing technologist at Oinkodomeo, said the bill for years of neglect and waste in the tech industry has simply come due.

“When a tech company says they don’t have time to train engineers, they really mean that they don’t want to spend the money. Effective training on advanced technologies is very expensive. So they hire people somebody else trained,” Glass said. “When a tech resource dries up, only companies paying top dollar can hire. Everybody else has to develop new products with the tech they have. This is one of the main drivers for the massive technical debt that has been accumulated.”

And, he added, “it’s been coming due for years because the tech industry as a whole has failed completely to nurture the available talent base. In fact, he says, “they have drained it like parasites.”

According to the tracker, 828 tech companies announced layoffs in 2022, affecting 129,640 employees.

Related Article: Have You Recognized the Potential of the Composable Digital Experience Stack?

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