It is that time of year to evaluate how the Indy market fared for IT professionals in 2016, and to predict what 2017 will bring. This is the first of 2 parts, looking at 2016's highlights and trends. We will follow up shortly with part 2, predicting the 2017 job market and the skills we feel will be most in demand.
2016 started strong, with several major organizations rapidly expanding and anticipating hiring as many as 30-40 new developers, plus ancillary staff (QA, scrum masters, product owners, etc.). The high demand put additional pressure on salaries, especially fueled by the software product companies and the firms that are aggressively using technology to drive their businesses. Salesforce (which acquired ExactTarget) was able to pay some "West Coast" salaries to Indianapolis staff, which caused everyone to look at their wage levels again.
The "value" of
new grads with computer-related degrees increased as well. As more and more big players like Google, Microsoft, Amazon, etc., have moved into recruiting grads from Purdue, IU, and Rose-Hulman, the entry-level salary offers went up significantly. At least on the surface - once the cost of living in California or Seattle is figured in, the salaries may not be quite as extreme. However, companies across the board are having to up the offers for the high-demand grads; i.e., those going into development who have strong internships and proven skills.
Positions & Trends
As technologies continue to evolve and organizations make greater use of new tools, we saw the job market reflect those changes:
- In highest demand - as always - is the need for full stack C# or Java developers! The number of requests for these roles always exceeds any other position.
- DevOps specialists. This is a role that was not common several years ago; now, any company deploying to the cloud is interested in devops. Previously, devops engineers tended to be more sys admin/Linux admin in their skills; however, there has been a major shift toward more software engineering skills, driven by the needs for continuous integration and automated deployment. It is a unique blend of tool building skills and (usually) Linux expertise. There are also MS based devops.
- Automated testing. Test driven development is pushing the need for more automated test engineers. There is a big need for developers who can move into this arena; tools skills like Cucumber and Selenium are most prevalent.
Almost every IT shop continued its journey toward "Agile Transformation".
This resulted in increased demand for
Scrum Masters, as well as a few
Agile Coaches. Because scrum masters barely existed several years ago, we saw a lot of people trying to transition into this title; usually they were development team leads or project managers.
Along with this agile method change, some Project Management Offices became Program Management Offices, staffed by agile coaches and scrum masters.
Product Owner title continued to replace the
Business Analyst function on teams.
For most companies attempting agile transformation, the challenge continues to be "How do we truly make agile work across the entire organization?".
- Manual testers are losing to automated testers. If you are a manual tester, you really need to start learning automation/development skills.
- Telecommuting is gaining more acceptance in businesses, at least the ability to commute a day or two a week, once you are a "known quantity" to your employer.
- Python programming, hot on the coasts but minimal here, is going to become more visible, especially in organizations taking advantage of open systems tools.
- Big Data / Data Analytics. We will talk about this more in part 2 when we discuss 2017. Still pretty limited, but gaining momentum.
- Software companies sold. The big news was Interactive Intelligence being acquired by Genesys; the sale closed December 1st. Still a little early to determine the impact. Also, Teradata Marketing Cloud (formerly known as Aprimo) was sold to the investment firm Marlin, and renamed Aprimo. And another investment firm, The Riverside Company, acquired part of Experian to reinstate the Baker Hill name.