8 September 2021

Just Add Code: How To Grow Your Own Developers

At this point, it’s not news to say that there’s a tech and data skills shortage in the UK. Businesses are scrambling to scoop up the best talent as quickly as possible and in the rush are overlooking some of their best assets: their software engineers.

The beauty of software development is that once developers have expertise in one language, they can relatively easily pick up a second (or third).

One of the best ways to future proof your team and business is helping your team continually upskill by cross training your software engineers in new languages, turning them into strong assets for your business while increasing their workplace satisfaction and boosting retention (and we all know that it costs more to hire than it does to retain talent).

The Benefits of Cross Training Your Developers

Cross-training your developers has several benefits, not least of all helping to future-proof skillsets, increase motivation and retention and help give your company a competitive edge in a market with a talent shortage.

These are the four (most compelling) reasons to cross train your developers:

  1. Close skill gaps – Closing the skill gap in house is a cost-effective way to develop new competencies and grow your operation, whether you’re an agency team or in-house development team. It costs more to hire and onboard a new recruit than it does to develop new skills. Helping your team grow will also increase their motivation and your retention rates.

 

  1. Higher collaboration – Increased collaboration means more complex problem solving and less siloed thinking. Having “T”-shaped developers (those that are specialists in an area but have the know-how of others) opens new opportunities for people and teams to work together as every developer in the company has some idea of what others in the organisation do. When needed, you always have extra hands to support critical projects.

  2. Boost employee motivation - Who gets excited about a dead-end job? Create strong employer branding of your organisation by marketing the fact that you encourage people to pursue new opportunities and you’ll support them in that cross training. When potential employees see that, they will line up to join your team. And it’s a great way to keep your current team motivated and growth focused.

  3. Workforce sustainability – Depending entirely on a small unit for an extended period of time can have negative effects in the long run, especially if there’s churn in your team. Cross-training will help build sustainability by giving different developers the ability to drop in and out of projects to support the business wherever needed. This helps future proof mission critical projects and diversifies your dependencies for each project.

Growing and nurturing your developers can have huge payoffs for your organisation. The talent market is competitive and with more jobs than people available, it’s easy for your engineers to find places where they’re happy and comfortable. One of the best ways to increase retention and satisfaction is by giving people the opportunity to explore and learn new skills.

From upskilling people in house using training and mentor sessions to external service providers, there are a range of ways that you can engage your team with upskilling and cross training in new development languages. These can easily be tied to performance and training reviews or used informally.