What They Won’t Tell You About Being a Developer
By all accounts, it’s great to be a developer in 2019.
The BLS reports that the median pay for software developers last year was $105,590, with job growth forecasted to increase 24% between 2016 and 2026. The jobs are out there, they’re in demand, and they pay well.
So, what’s the problem?
Like any job, being a developer comes with plenty of challenges that you might not have been prepared for. And given how in demand these jobs are, you’ll find that lots of companies hold different (and maybe unreasonable!) expectations for what their developers should know.
Let’s review a few of the biggest pitfalls we’ve seen in our own network.
Clients expect code translations
To put that another way, they’ll expect you to make helpful, constructive comments on your code that they can reasonably parse. This might mean structuring your comments far differently than you’re used to. You may have to get used to phrasing benefits from the client perspective, or making more clarifying comments than you think is reasonably necessary. This can be a surprisingly contentious issue for some businesses, so if you need a primer on how to make constructive comments, this rundown by Coding Horror will set you straight.
You’re expected to know SEO
There’s a fundamental misunderstanding of SEO saturating the online world. SEO is often thought of as an add-on; a function that companies leave to their development teams to tack on at the last minute. They falsely equate your coding knowledge with SEO—and then start making demands that you aren’t prepared to handle. To apply SEO effectively, companies need to understand keyword strategies, tagging, metadata, site mapping, indexing patterns, and more. It’s not typically covered under the developer skillset umbrella, so be prepared to handle these conversations when they inevitably come up. For a quick primer, Moz has a great SEO guide specifically for developers.
You’ll be on the hook for resource management
Every developer must balance their available resources, project timelines, and company limitations. Some of this will depend on whether you’re in a senior development role, but it’s a cross that all developers bear when they start work on a project. Inexperienced developers tend to go too big too quickly, building out functions that don’t need to be reinvented, which, naturally, pushes back project timelines and bloats project costs. Developers, especially new developers, should try to make regular team communication a priority to prevent wasting time and resources on unnecessary tasks.
The Biggest Developer Challenges
Developers are compensated well for their time, but on the other side of that coin, employers often expect a lot from their teams. Some requests may be reasonable, based on your experience and resources, while others might be too much of an ask. But the great thing about the developer market is the wealth of opportunity it provides. With the right job sourcing partner in your corner, you’ll have no trouble finding a developer job that fits your needs.