A recent article on thisismoney.co.uk had the headline, "Recruitment is a challenge for over 40% of business owners as skills gap hits home". It continues, "More than two-fifths of small and medium business owners have experienced challenges in recruiting the right staff, according to a survey of 1,000 small and medium-sized enterprises by Aldermore bank." with London and the South East of England having the biggest challenges.
I imagine this is no major surprise for those of us in the tech industry. Finding those exceptionally skilled software engineers has always been an ongoing challenge. Just take a look at almost any agency or tech company in and around the capital and you would notice what seems to be an endless round of vacancies for developers, testers, analysts etc.
With a very limited local talent pool, some companies have been recruiting and sponsoring talented engineers from abroad. With the PM due to trigger Article 50 by March and the focus seemingly on migration, and therefore pointing towards a "hard brexit", we must assume the avenue of bringing in "foreign" engineers will prove equally challenging.
In addition to the brexit issue; Google, Facebook and makers of Snapchat, Snap Inc. have recently announced expansion of their UK (London) operations with the creation of 3,500 new jobs. We would have to assume a fair few of those would be tech jobs, further increasing competition in an already crowded space.
This could all be a major boon for contractors, freelancers and off-shoring, all of which have their positives and negatives.
Off-shoring certainly does present the greater rewards through bigger returns on investment, more stability and the greater potential to scale up based on needs in the longer term. It also has the biggest challenge, especially if you are a start-up or SME who may not be in a position to work with the larger (and potentially safer) managed services providers of this world.
If this is a route you are considering, here are a few points to consider;
- Quality. How much control do you have over the skills and experience of the developers? Are you involved in the recruitment process? Will you retain the same resource and skill level throughout the contract? What allowances are made for training and Continuing Professional Development?
- Security. With GDPR coming into force in 2018 and threats of fines up to €20 million or 4% of a company's global annual turnover, this is a hugely important issue. Again, you must be particularly vigilant of processes in place to support quality and always look to companies who have achieve ISO27001 standards.
- Communication. How easy is it to communicate directly with your developer? Software development is usually an iterative process with changes and refinements made throughout SDLC. The ability to communicate directly with your development team is vitally important. What processes are in place for feedback and meetings? Are you able to (remotely) join stand-ups?
- Timezone. Dependent on your requirements, you will definitely need to have as much of your working day cross over with your chosen supplier. There are obvious advantages with working companies in a different timezone. e.g. batch tests can be done on a daily bases and reports will be ready and waiting when your local team arrives. On the other hand, support technicians can come online when your local team clock off.
- Legal recourse. If things go catastrophically wrong, what are your options? I would always recommend where possible, choosing a supplier with an established local presence, and by that, not a single sales guy with a laptop working from a local coffee shop.
- Talk to me. Ardent are a BSI accredited ISO 27001 technology & data solutions company, headquartered and established in the UK since 2008. We have the flexibility to deliver a full service or compliment and support your internal resources with a full-time extended team based at our development centre in Mumbai. Our clients range from well-funded start-ups such as IntentHQ to large enterprises such as Ericsson, Vizio and research giants Gfk.
If you are looking to resolve your software engineering or data management challenges, please get in touch with Vincent Iweka
T: 01582 870 180 M: 07903 517 362