Allowing developers to work from home is key for finding good people.

Developers in 2020 need open source and want the ability to work remotely
Allowing developers to work from home is key for finding good people.

TechRepublic’s Karen Roby talked with Al Sene, vice president of engineering for Digital Ocean, about the skills developers need in 2020. The following is an edited transcript of their interview.

Karen Roby: What skills are most important for developers to have as we head into 2020?

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Al Sene: For me, looking at the landscape, the ability to learn is still one of the top skills that an engineer has to have. This industry moves so fast. As you know, things are changing all the time. There’s always innovations happening. So, being able to learn new technologies, being willing to learn new technologies, is really important.

So that is one scale that a lot of people have to, you know, everybody just does have to have and be willing to continue to push on that. I think collaboration is extremely important as well. Software is a team sport. You have to collaborate with other people. Software is best developed when there’s a group of people involved.

There’s a lot of really cool innovations happening in open source that really allow developers to really shortcut the amount of time that it takes to develop new software by reusing components that are available out there or services or whatever new architectures, frameworks and so on. So the ability to collaborate is extremely important.

Open source is continuing to provide a lot of new innovations as well. I think being able to embrace open source as part of development is going to continue to be critical as more innovations continue to happen in that space as well.

And containerization and cloud is changing how software is developed and deployed. So, I think as developers come into the industry, it is important to embrace those new changes and those trends, because it’s allowing a lot of companies to modernize the application development and really is helping the adoption with hybrid cloud architectures, which are really critical in reducing the operating costs for a lot of companies.

Karen Roby: When it comes to hiring developers right now, what trends are you seeing?

Al Sene:  Certainly open source is key, right? We’re seeing a lot of people are embracing open source for their personal portfolios. So most developers today will come to the table with a portfolio of products they’ve worked on. It’s not uncommon for developers to come to us and say, “Hey, here’s my GitHub account. Take a look.” 

But at the same time I think participation in open source products, projects, is also a key aspect that people can bring to the table in terms of additional credibility and also just being able to showcase what they’re able to do in terms of collaborations.

In terms of the specific technologies, I think what we’re seeing with regards to containerization and Kubernetes that set of technologies is really changing how fast things are moving in the direction of making it easier to deploy software.

So, we’re seeing a lot of developers spending a lot of time with those skills. The other trend that we’re seeing that it’s not quite related to technology is remote work. We did a survey a few months ago, and we’re finding out that the vast majority of developers, something like 90% of them are really expecting some form of remote work to be part of their consideration for taking employment from somebody.

So there are definitely several trends that are impacting the developer community, not just from a technology standpoint and in terms of how the work is done is also going to be increasingly important, I think.

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