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Junior Developer Roles Scarce in Today's Market

A new article from Communications of the ACM discusses the dim prospects for junior developer roles and how this job is shrinking in a seemingly booming market.

Junior Developer Roles Scarce in Today's Market

Here were some of the key stats from the article:

  • The U.S. Department of Labor projects the number of new jobs for programmers will decline by 7% between 2016 and 2026.
  • A 2015 survey by the Computing Research Association found "the average number of CS majors at doctoral-granting academic units has more than tripled since 2006 and more than doubled since 2011" - this means a lot of recent graduates entering the job market.
  • According to Outsystems, 43% of 3,200 IT professionals surveyed said their companies either use or are considering using low-code or no-code platforms; these organizations also support (or are considering supporting) "citizen developers," generally non-professionally trained developers sanctioned by IT.

Justin Harless, Regional Director at MATRIX, confirms that it is difficult to convince his clients to give junior programmers a chance. "They have internship programs in some places, but it's a small percentage of companies that will actually recruit entry-level engineers. You should see the level of screening they put engineers through!"

One senior developer recommends not broadcasting the fact that you're a "junior" developer because it portrays that you're inexperienced and has a negative connotation. His suggestion is to "have a junior developer mindset where you are constantly looking to learn from others, but never settle for a junior developer role."

Entry-level developers are encouraged to do side projects to strengthen their portfolio and make sure all of their work is displayed online where hiring managers are going to look.

"There has to be something the company can tangibly look at beyond their resume. That's what has gotten us to the next step, to get them in front of a client. Another thing is, LinkedIn has really turned into an online resume," Harless adds. "A lot of entry-level college grads don't think that their presence on LinkedIn is important, but that needs to be on point, because the first thing companies do is go look at that."

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