According to SalesForce report, 52% of IT leaders say skill gaps are a major challenge at their organization. Technology is changing at a rapid pace. Many experts are calling this transition as “fourth industrial revolution era”. I feel businesses are leveraging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence or Internet of Things to scale. While demand for skilled developers are very high, is your organization ready to cope with breathtaking changes in technology world?

I will put across some of the reasons (subjective) that web developers are having a difficult time, to manage so many things offered to them.

Hiring a Rockstar Mindset For Businesses

I was talking to a colleague in Netherlands, he said “In coming years, not a single business vertical will last without technology”. Are you over relying on technology or it has become a fad? Well, the hunger to beat the market is making businesses take long term bets. If you are a leader in healthcare domain, you want to capture that extra percentage market share by innovating. In turn, you want to hire the best developer and pay 3x the market rate. You are looking to hire that one person and expect him/her to be the rockstar – managing architecture, front end, back end and delivery. Such decisions are fatal and you will find it hard to get all traits in an individual.

You may not have the time to wait and want results fast. In short, the performance will be evaluated on what your developer delivers. Learning new technology requires structured  process. It becomes challenging to learn and deliver fast. With little clarity, producing new age products is not a child’s play.

Learning Dozen Frameworks

I am sure life is not rosy for our front end developer friends and their managers. It is true when you are working with JavaScript frameworks or databases. I have seen managers speaking on conferences about “the next big thing” or framework to disrupt the technology. One thing becomes accepted and everyone follows it. In my experience, every year or two these frameworks change and it causes businesses and developers to rethink and re-learn their strategies.

As a web developer, it took you a year to learn Angular or React framework and suddenly you hear, we are shifting to a new technology. As a founder, you should also understand the limitations and capabilities of your employees.

A modern day front end development stack looks like this.

development stack

All the tools are developed to make life simpler. But is it creating panic and disturbing your employees life by overloading them.

Over Enthusiastic Management

I can safely say that companies plan multi year investments in technology and they stick to it for some time. There have been instances when project managers proposes a change in technology stack for monetary reasons. Senior executives believe in reports and take decision on numbers. If your company has been working on Java technology for half a decade, now suddenly you have been proposed a new solution. Based on numbers you agree to the change. Does that change quantity in the output from employees?

I recall a story when a software services firm, decided to change the technology stack and would require less resources. So they, decided to sack 5 employees. When they started exploring the new stack, team experienced issues, untrained tech leads, insecurity among heads and open questions have left projects halted for long. They had to spend money to get on a training experts. That also did not work. Your trainer will not sit and ship products for you. Developers are stuck on searching answers and learning through YouTube. While clients constantly demand outcome.

The development team approached the management and shared their concerns. Finally, they had to hire two consultants double the price to bail them out of the problems. Incompetent managers for appeasing and appraisals create such untrusting environment. If your cost outweighs benefits, you should resist change. A deeper understanding on the value that brings to the business is needed. I feel you should spend  time on recruiting foundation pillars of your business – resource manager and a cost effective project manager.

In Love With Your Stack

I have seen developers code in .NET for 10 years and married to it. I will narrate a story here. There was an application project to be developed in Python framework. Dharmesh (name changed) had never worked on it. He was hesitant to take up the project and said, “ oh, new technology, new learning, lets see, a loose typed language”. The company did not have any senior developer to take on the challenge. So, it was on him to lead the pack, or else they will be losing the business.

It took him three weeks to transit to a new stack. After the project, he felt refreshed and vowed to keep learning latest developments in Python world. It is the mindset and comfort zone that destroys your growth. If you re skill on a new stack, does it not add to your resume? In short, proficiency on your present stack should be the yardstick to learn newer technologies.

You should never resist change. It may benefit at current workplace, but can hurt in the long run. Every new stack you learn will teach you about patterns and how to make sound decisions. It can help you broaden your views. You may not be using the stack, but having a fundamental knowledge is beneficial for the team.

Wait and Evaluate First

If you surf on a new trend and want to quickly apply on production, it is not advisable. You can be efficient in achieving the goals with your present tools and technologies. There is no clear proof that a single tech will solve all major problems. You should wait and evaluate. Take up a side project and test the new stack. For example, PostCSS, a great initiative to transform CSS with JavaScript. Your team may not be ready to take up every next tool. But you can keep your ears open as any new technology or tool gains momentum. You can resist the hype and focus on sight.

As you get experienced and become better in completing tasks, new frameworks and tools will become less daunting. You can pick them up in a week or two. The points mentioned are from my understanding. So, I look forward to your views and comments. As rightly said” change is constant”, we all should be ready to accept that.


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