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How has COVID-19 changed the developer community? (Includes interview)

Photo: © AFP
Photo: © AFP

Mary Lee Olsen, Head of Talent, at Rollbar tells Digital Journal about the relationship between remote working and developer community. Olsens’ comments are drawn from a survey that her company has commissioned.

Olsen begins by looking at the impact of the change to work, notably the rise of home working and the impact this has had in terms of an increased need for developers. Olsen says: “Companies struggling to find developer talent is nothing new but there are opportunities ahead in 2021. Hiring developers in the Bay Area has been tough for years, but it’ll get even harder this year.”

In terms of the bigger challenges, Olsen says: “Workers continue to flee the high-priced area, so finding local talent will be even more of a challenge. That’s why companies should lean into remote opportunities. The talent pool is much larger than it’s ever been in the U.S. as companies have become decentralized in 2020. Furthermore, companies should also be looking beyond our borders.”

As part of the responses, Olsen recommends: “Expanding your geographical reach to find talent presents its own, new challenges but it’s a pivot companies must make. And the quicker companies and their talent teams make this pivot, the better they’ll be positioned to find top-tier developers.”

Olsen then moves on to how COVID-19 is changing the job market as well as how these changes are here to stay.

What does the new normal look like? In Olsen’s eyes “Hopefully we return to a sense of normal soon but office life will be different post-COVID. I’ve already seen a lot of people moving out of the Bay Area, where I’ve worked for many years. Some may come back but a lot won’t. They’ve moved closer to family or somewhere with a lower cost of living.”

The challenges emanating from this include: “The problem is that it makes sourcing those candidates a much bigger job for recruiters. But there are already AI-based talent and sourcing tools, that are going to help solve it so recruiters can continue to be effective. This change will also affect how we use offices. I imagine a future where companies have smaller, cafe-like office hubs throughout the U.S. and world. These will be places employees, and clients, can meet, and they’ll have a bigger focus on conference space and less on individualized work spaces.”

This will mean, Olsen adds: “Those that like coming in every day can still do so, but the office will be a place for everyone to periodically come together rather than a daily workspace.”

Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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