Hardest tech roles to fill (+ solutions!)

October 4, 2019
7 mins

Technology has evolved drastically over the last decade and is only expected to continue transforming.

With the changing landscape, the skill sets that organizations look for in tech professionals is also changing. A survey of 42,300 employers across 43 countries and territories found that the demand for IT skills has skyrocketed.

However, it is a known fact that there are more jobs than candidates in the IT industry. 

At HackerEarth, we have helped thousands of organizations find top tech talent. Based on our analysis, here are the four hardest tech roles to fill and tips on how recruiters can find the talent that their firm needs.

 

Software architects 

Software architecture is the hardest tech roles to fill.

 

The unicorns of the tech job market, software architects make high-level design choices and define software coding standards. According to research, the Software Architect role has one of the highest talent deficits.

It’s likely because this job requires a plethora of skills such as strong communication to interact with clients, reviewing code, mentoring when required, a high level of foresight and vision, and more.

Software architects define the success or failure of a project and set standards for future developers to follow. 

The solution 

Here are a few tips you can follow while hiring a software architect.

  • Know the difference between a software developer and a software architect 

To hire a software architect, it is crucial for recruiters to have a clear understanding of the difference between a software developer and a software architect. The primary difference is that a software architect is a software expert and is responsible for defining the bigger picture. His/her main role is to understand how a product that is being built will ultimately help the customer.

Some of the key differences between a software architect and a software developer 

Software architectSoftware developer
Focuses on conceptsFocuses on frameworks
Grasps routing or the workflow of frameworksGrasps configuration, installation, or the use of frameworks
Defines architecture, infrastructure, general layout of the system, technologies, and frameworksImplements architecture, infrastructure, general layout of the system, technologies, and frameworks
  • Know where to find them 

There are a handful of go-to online communities where software architects learn and share information such as Meetup, IBM Community, Code Project, and Stack Overflow

 

  • Know how to interview them 

While looking for a software architect, it is obvious that you will evaluate the technical competencies of the candidate. However, only assessing the technical skills of a candidate does not assure a quality hire. Here’s an approach that you could follow: 

  1. Ask candidates to describe a system that they have designed—a system that they are proud of or one that they have worked on recently.
  2. Although many engineers dislike whiteboard interviews, it is the holy grail of software architects. After all, they can draw, discuss, and explain their technical diagrams and system designs better on a whiteboard.
    While candidates take the test on a whiteboard, notice their body language—are they relaxed while explaining the system? Are they excited while explaining the system? Is their excitement contagious? If the answer is 
    yes to all of the questions stated above, you have probably got yourself a great, potential hire. 
  3. Good software architects can make complex subjects sound simple. Whether one is tech-savvy or not, a good software architect should be able to clearly describe a system to anybody. 
  • Know what skill sets to look for

While hiring a software architect, ensure that he/she is proficient in the following skill sets:

  1. Technical knowledge
  2. Management skills 
  3. Communicability
  4. Analytical skills
  5. Ability to identify business requirements 
  6. Code review
  7. Architectural review 
  8. Writing project documentation and its support
  9. Creating unified development standards in the company

 

Data Scientists

 

Data scientists is the hardest tech roles to fill.

Data scientists are analytical professionals who make effective use of large and unstructured data and create insights from it. A lot of highly skilled people geek out to solve complex Data Science problems.

A data scientist’s job is often considered one of the most in-demand jobs of the 21st century. Adding to it is the attractive salary that comes with being a data scientist. However, the 2019 State of the CIO report reveals that a data scientist is one of the most difficult tech roles to fill.

The reason is undoubtedly justified: it is a competitive job market. According to First Round, an ideal Data Science candidate often receives 3 or more job offers.

Hence, the success rate of hiring is commonly below 50%. As the number of businesses in the Data Science niche is continuously growing, top candidates have more job opportunities to choose from. Hence, finding and hiring qualified candidates is now even more difficult for recruiters.

The solution

You can consider doing the following to get a great data scientist on board.

  • Focus on developer branding

    The only way to stand apart in a pool of similar businesses is to build a great solid developer brand that attracts top talent. One great way to hire amazing data scientists is to show them that developers love working for your brand.

    To build a strong developer brand, you should follow practices such as setting up live sessions on ‘Why we are the #1 brand for developer talent?’ (an example), use your network to build a talent pipeline, understand brand perception, etc.
    Read more about developer branding here.

  • Perfect your Data Science candidate experience

    Research reveals that organizations that invest in a strong candidate experience improve their quality of hires by 70%.
    One good practice to follow is to provide Data Science candidates with a comfortable coding environment to ensure a seamless candidate experience.

    For example, while assessing Data Science candidates, HackerEarth provides a coding interface that allows you to assess a candidate’s Data Science (data analytics and Machine Learning) skills.

    The solution submitted by candidates is evaluated based on the accuracy of predictions on ‘Sample’ or ‘Public’ data for compilation. The score is revised on the ‘Full’ or ‘Private’ data when candidates ‘Submit’, thereby preventing the candidates from over fitting their model.

  • Look at online communities 

    Tech communities are full of potential hires waiting to be discovered. To source potential data scientists, look at online communities such as Data Quest, KaggleNoobs, Data Scientists, Data Science Salon, and more. These communities can help you connect with a worldwide resource of data scientists. 

  • Do your research

    Research the skill sets to look for in a candidate when hiring for a data scientist. An ideal data science candidate will have skills in the following areas:

    1. Programming languages (specifically Python or Java)

    2. Strong analytical skills
    3. Strong mathematical skills

    This blog provides in-depth information about what Data Science is and how to hire a data scientist.

Cybersecurity professionals

Cybersecurity engineers is the hardest tech roles to fill.

Companies are facing security breaches at an alarming rate, putting every web user’s data at risk. The Heartbleed Bug is a recent example highlighting the need for cybersecurity professionals.

Cybersecurity professionals are trained to find loopholes in databases, networks, hardware, firewalls, and encryption. Their number one priority is to prevent attacks by ‘fixing’ potential issues before they are exploited by malicious users.

Additionally, cybersecurity specialists handle the clean up after cyber attacks and security breaches.

However, research reveals that there is now a gap of almost 3 million cybersecurity jobs globally.

The solution

To tackle the crunch for cybersecurity talent, here are a few best practices that can help you recruit the best cybersecurity talent.

  • Conduct hiring drives in universities that offer cybersecurity courses

    • Today, several universities across the globe offer specializations in cybersecurity. A few examples of these courses include network security, information security, cyber investigation, cybersecurity management and policy, and others. Organizations can conduct campus hiring drives to get fresh cybersecurity graduates on board.
  • Train your current employees in-house

    Offer cybersecurity certification courses to your current employees. In the talent-strapped industry of cybersecurity, this approach will not only help employees develop their skills and advance their career progression, but it will also provide an alternative to external hiring.

    You can also consider bringing in external experts and consultants for training processes. Although this can be a costly business, it may well work out cheaper than starting the hiring process from scratch.

  • Be flexible with job requirements

    To land a job as a cybersecurity professional, most candidates require a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certificate. However, to obtain this certification, it requires one to have a minimum of five years of industrial experience.

    Such requirements, such as a particular certification or degree, or a certain number of years of experience, eliminate talented individuals before they even have a chance of demonstrating their skills.

    While candidates with this certification may be more qualified than those without, it may not be necessary for every position in cybersecurity, particularly entry-level roles.

  • Look for must-have cybersecurity skills

    1. Intrusion detection
    2. Malware analysis and reversing
    3. Programming knowledge
    4. Risk analysis and mitigation
    5. Cloud security
    6. Security analysis

Engineering Managers

Engineering managers is the hardest tech roles to fill.

Engineering managers are responsible for supervising other engineers and projects, hiring staff, setting budgets, spurring new development, and solving problems in an organization.

An ideal engineering manager leads research and development of projects and checks the accuracy of the work produced under his/her supervision.

Overall, they are expected to troubleshoot roadblocks throughout any project and solve problems that may act as hindrances in project completion.

With such varied roles and responsibilities, it is but obvious that engineering managers are hard to find. More complex the role means a longer time-to-hire. In fact, some say that good engineering managers are not just hard to find, they don’t exist.

The solution 

We have listed down a few solutions (positive outcome guaranteed) on how to find and hire an engineering manager. 

  • Look for engineering management forums

There are various forums such as engineering.com, ProjectManagement.com, management societies, and in-person events to help you understand where your ideal candidates are spending their time.

  • Understand the biggest challenges they face and work on resolving them 

An engineering manager is someone who has good technical as well as people management skills. Hence, understanding the nuances of the role can set your recruitment team apart from the competition to hire an engineering manager.

Some of the challenges that engineering managers face motivating unmotivated team members, reading more and writing less code (this can be a shock for anyone who loves programming), showing empathy while driving business initiatives, etc.

  • Skills to look for in an engineering manager

Some of the must-have skills for engineering managers are:

  1. Up-to-date knowledge of software technologies
  2. Excellent ability to read code
  3. Management skills
  4. Deep understanding of an organization’s process, vision, and products 

We believe a knowledge of the basics we have outlined here will help you gain a deeper understanding of how to fill these critical roles in your organization. 

Find your next best talent with HackerEarth. Happy hiring! 

 

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About the Author

Ashmita
Ashmita is a Content Editor at HackerEarth. With a knack for writing, she hopes to write something, someday, worth plagiarizing. When she’s not working, you can find her strumming her guitar or binging on Netflix.

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