Biggest Challenges Faced by Software Professionals

Given the high demand for open source skills and for tech skills in general, many software professionals are leveraging their power in the marketplace and seeking more rewarding or higher paying jobs. And specific challenges within the workplace may be contributing to their desire to leave.

Previously, we outlined general reasons why people leave jobs and what employers can do to get them to stay. In this article, however, we’ll focus on workplace challenges faced by software professionals in particular and see what organizations can do to help them succeed.    

To recap, a recent Pew Research Center survey lists three main reasons why Americans are quitting their jobs:

  • Low pay (63%)
  • Lack of opportunities for advancement (63%)
  • Feeling disrespected at work (57%)

These findings are not unlike those from a recent Pluralsight survey, which found that technologists are leaving their jobs for the following reasons:   

  • Lack of work-life balance (42%)
  • Lack of compensation (42%)
  • Lack of room for career growth (40%)
  • Toxic work culture (38%)
  • Lack of opportunities to develop new skills (33%)

Lack of training opportunities is a common theme here: It also topped the list of challenges faced by software professionals in the Linux Foundation’s latest Open Source Jobs Report.

Challenges and Barriers

According to that report, the biggest challenges are:

  • Lack of training opportunities (44%)
  • Silos between departments (32%)                    
  • Lack of documentation related to open source software projects (29%)    
  • Difficulties obtaining management buy-in for open source (29%)    
  • Lack of necessary hardware (14%)
  • Lack of software tools (13%)

Department silos were also cited as a barrier to productivity in the recent StackOverflow survey, where nearly half of all respondents said that “knowledge silos prevent them from getting ideas from across the organization and that waiting for answers to questions often causes interruptions and disrupts their workflow.” Additionally, 68 percent of respondents said they encounter a knowledge silo at least once a week. 

About 25 percent of StackOverflow survey respondents also said “they can’t find up-to-date information within their organization to help them do their job, and they aren’t able to quickly find answers to their questions with existing tools and resources.” Only 38 percent report having a developer portal to help them locate tools and services.

What Organizations Can Do

To retain software professionals, organizations must understand these challenges and strive to remove barriers to productivity and learning. Specifically, according to Open Source Jobs Report respondents, organizations can do the following to help them be more successful:

  • Provide professional training opportunities (62%)
  • Cover the costs of certifications (52%)
  • Provide opportunities to attend conferences and events (50%)                 
  • Allocate paid work time to contribute to open source projects (44%)            
  • Establish clear policies and procedures for using and contributing to open source    (33%)
  • Provide software tools (23%)

Given the shortage of tech talent, the value of open source skills, and mobility within the industry, “employers must redouble efforts to retain current staff and recruit new hires,” the report says.

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