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What Will the Year 2024 Bring to Software Developers? Job Market Trends and Opportunities

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When we cross the border between two years, we want to feel hopeful about the future. At the same time, we need facts to be sure the coming year will be good. We've collected facts and expert opinions to help you stay optimistic but also realistic in your expectations! What Will the Year 2024 Bring to Software Developers? Job Market Trends and Opportunities - 1

Will the Demand Prevail?

Are there enough software developers in the world? The answer seems to be negative. At least the US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 25% growth in employment rate between 2022 and 2032 for software developers, quality assurance analysts, and testers. Such a rate is much faster than average. The country expects to add 451,200 new jobs by 2032. Moreover, in 2023, software developer was rated as the #1 Best Job in America, according to the US News Best Jobs Rankings. However, there's a question about the level of skills the market needs. Some experts believe that companies lack experienced developers, not juniors. On the other hand, the numbers don't agree. For example, according to Zippia, the projected job growth rate for junior software developers in the USA is 21% from 2018 to 2028. Statista predicts that by the end of 2024, the worldwide population of software developers will reach 28.7 million. It would mean 3.2 million new jobs in 4 years (quite a rise!). So, the trend is global. Europe has around 5.5 million developers, and Germany is a leader in this race, with over 800,000 jobs (followed by the UK and France). Other countries' markets also grow. For example, Asia Pacific's software testing market is projected to achieve an 8% compound annual growth rate by 2026. What Will the Year 2024 Bring to Software Developers? Job Market Trends and Opportunities - 2The median annual salary for experienced software developers reached $107,090 in 2023. Of course, this number varies significantly for different countries. For example, an experienced developer earns $210,000 annually in the USA. In India, an engineering manager can earn $42,409 annually (the same job is worth $107,090 annually in Germany). To sum up, 2024 can become an excellent year for developers eager to learn and improve their skills. They can look for new career opportunities and higher pay, regardless of the country they live in.

What Drives the Growth?

In 2023, many tech companies, including big ones like Microsoft and Google, laid off employees. It affected not only the industry but also people's attitudes. We got more scared of losing our jobs, which could've affected our decisions (for example, holding on to the old job instead of looking for a new one). But in 2024, the situation may change, as many experts say. For instance, there's an opinion that the job market will start increasing after the quiet fourth quarter of 2023. Will see, shall we? Among the trends driving the job market growth, the most powerful are:
  1. New platforms and apps. The more of them appear, the higher the demand for software developers is. And this process won't stop soon.
  2. Digital transformation. Companies transform themselves to keep their market positions. And they need tech specialists to walk them through changes. Numbers say that 84.7% of software development projects are based on enterprise applications, 53.6% on business automation, and 38.50% are e-commerce-related.
  3. Increase in the number of smartphones. Currently, there are 6.93 billion smartphone users, meaning 85.74% of the world's population owns a smartphone. In 2016, there were only 3.668 billion users (49.40% of that year's global population). Logically, more smartphones require various apps; hence, companies need more developers to create and maintain them.
  4. E-commerce is blooming. According to Statista, the revenue in this market is projected to reach $3,567 billion in 2024. The annual growth rate between 2024 and 2028 is supposed to be 8.95%, resulting in a projected market volume of $5,026 billion by 2028. Therefore, web developers capable of building online platforms will be in high demand.
  5. AI and machine learning integration. More and more companies are integrating AI and ML solutions into their products. So, they need developers and QA specialists with skills and expertise in this field. If you have these skills (for instance, working with AI frameworks and libraries), you'll have multiple changes to speed up your career.
  6. Cybersecurity stays in trend. As platforms and applications become more complicated, the risks also increase. Hence, the demand for software developers capable of writing secure code and creating unbreakable systems is growing.
  7. Decentralized applications (DApps). Blockchain remains very popular, and not just in the financial field. Nowadays, it has become a mature technology that allows the creation of products and solutions without centralized control over them. DApps run on a peer-to-peer blockchain network, not on a single device. Plus, they are often open-source, which enhances innovations. There are DApp-based social media platforms, blockchain-based games, solutions for supply chain management, etc. All of them need developers and testers.
  8. Popularity of programming languages. According to the TIOBE Index, the top-5 leaders in January 2024 are the same as in January 2023: Python, C, C++, Java, and C#. In 2023, C# won the Programming Language of the Year award for the first time. The TIOBE Programming Community index indicates the popularity of programming languages. It's updated once a month and based on the number of skilled engineers worldwide, courses, and third-party vendors. What Will the Year 2024 Bring to Software Developers? Job Market Trends and Opportunities - 3
  9. New languages appear on the radar. For example, GO, Dart, Rust, Julia, Nim. Some won't become commercial or gain worldwide popularity, but they are still interesting to watch and learn for developers. Paul Jansen, CEO of TIOBE Software, says, "Interesting question: what languages will enter the TIOBE index top 20 in 2024? This is very hard to predict. Julia touched the TIOBE index briefly in 2023 but couldn't keep that position. Maturity of the Julia language and community is needed to get a second chance. I would put my bets on Dart (with Flutter) and TypeScript. The latter is already heavily used in industry, but for some reason, it is not breaking through in the TIOBE index yet. Let's see what 2024 has in store".
  10. Remote work is here to stay. Despite companies' attempts to bring people back to offices, this trend isn't going to disappear. Specialists want their flexibility and freedom, and if they are high-skilled, organizations must comply. It creates multiple opportunities for software developers: they can live anywhere and travel but keep their jobs.

What Skills Should We Work On?

As mentioned, the future will be kind to developers willing to improve their skill sets. What exactly will be expected from the best employees in 2024? Let's start with technical skills. Experts say these are must-haves in the new year:
  • Solid knowledge of one or several in-demand programming languages (Java, Python, C++, JavaScript, etc.) and, more importantly, staying updated on new developments, features, etc.
  • Web development skills. Full-stack programmers are universal soldiers, so they have more job opportunities. Hence, studying front-end frameworks (say, React or Angular) and back-end technologies (like Node.js or Django) makes sense.
  • Cloud computing skills. Having the skill of creating and deploying apps on platforms like Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure can help you land a better job in 2024.
  • Data analysis, AI- and machine learning-related skills. They allow you to create more sophisticated programs and stand out among competitors.
And here are some soft skills that employers will be looking for in 2024:
  • Problem-solving. Many companies name this skill among the most needed, and here's why: in a complex environment, problems occur daily, if not hourly. Being able not to get stuck but solve them and move on means staying a valuable asset for an organization.
  • Communication. There's a myth that software developers don't need people skills, but it's not true. They still must communicate with managers, peers, and sometimes even clients. Becoming a good communicator helps you grow professionally (and earn more).
  • Teamwork. You may be a highly skilled professional, but you won't build a great career if people can't rely on you. Developers are a part of the team, which means they must share the team's goals and values. If it's challenging, 2024 is a perfect time to change this attitude.
Finally, if you're an aspiring junior developer, you may benefit from these steps:
  1. Create a strong portfolio. Even if you don't have a "real-life" experience, you may add the projects you completed while studying, open-source projects you've participated in, etc. Just choose the projects that highlight your talents and skills.
  2. Work on soft skills as well as hard skills. In the modern world, you can't always tell which ones are more important for your career.
  3. Look for internship opportunities. Several months in a big company can give you enough experience to acquire a well-paid position.
  4. Build a network. You can do it offline (for instance, by participating in industry events) or online (for example, on LinkedIn). But do it regularly – and, eventually, instead of chasing recruiters, they will start coming to you.
There is so much we can do in 2024 to boost our careers. So, let's not hesitate and get down to it!
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10 April, 06:17
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