Motivated, successful

and fiercely competitive

Credit: iStock, Alias-Ching

What motivates software developers? What is their idea of an inspiring work environment?

And how much commitment are they willing to give? These were the questions asked by the WeAreDevelopers team – and they wanted detailed answers. A study called “Software Developers – Expectations and Motiva- tions” provides answers and offers solutions to a problem that IT compa- nies really dread: a shortage of skilled professionals.

The Austrian economy is growing, unemployment figures are falling slightly – the prospects are looking good. But there is one industry in the country that is currently finding things particularly hard. While growth figures are skyrocketing thanks to cloud computing and the Internet of Things, so is the scramble for the much sought-after ICT specialists. The demand for IT experts continues to rise, and it is a major headache for companies who are faced with a shortage of specialists. There are those who recommend specialized training and professional development to make employees fit for the demands of the market, while others feel the root of the problem goes back much further and want Austrian schools to foster a greater interest in IT so that the need for ICT specialists can be met in the future.

What makes developers tick?

WeAreDevelopers knows the problem all too well, but has already taken this one step further. The best way to find solutions is to look at what makes the participants – in this case software developers – tick. And to ask them pertinent questions, such as: What motivates them? What are their views? What are their expectations with regard to employer, work environment, salary and opportunities for development? How satisfied are they in Austria, how satisfied are they in the CEE countries? Can they be lured abroad? And if so, where? Answers to questions like these were explored in the “Software Developers – Expectations and Motivations” study. With the aid of Computer Assisted Web Interviews (CAWI), 405 peo- ple aged 18 to 59 were interviewed last September and October. All the in- terviewers have experience in software development, come from Austria or the CEE countries, and are part of the WeAreDevelopers address pool.

Female developers have great potential

First, the really good news: Female developers look set to have a rosy fu- ture; in the CEE countries, today one in four developers is female. Who are these IT specialists? They are young, most of them live with a life partner but don’t have any children. Most of them work in junior positions as de- velopers, software developers or web developers and worked for their pre- vious employer for less than two years. The pay could be better, though; most have a net income of less than 1,800 euros per month.

Young developers like to change jobs

Most of the developers in Austria and the CEE countries are employees of information and consulting companies and have four or more years of professional experience. Developers in both Austria and the CEE experi- ence their biggest jump in remuneration between the fourth and tenth year of their career. While young developers change employers more of- ten, experienced software developers tend to be loyal to one company due of the fact that the younger generation started their careers at the time of the “Internet boom” and have the confidence to easily find new jobs dur- ing their careers, whereas the more experienced employees entered the market at a time when frequent job changes were not the norm. As for the motivation to change jobs: While job changes in Austria are motivated by personal reasons or attractive job options, software developers in the CEE countries often have no option but to leave the company because of tem- porary contracts coming to an end.

On the wish list: home office and benefits

One way to attract developers to a company is from a financial point of view – and the easiest way to do this is by offering them vacation pay and Christmas bonuses. Other highly appreciated motivators are the freedom to introduce new ideas, the opportunity to work from a home office, good working relationships with colleagues and supervisors and identifying with corporate values. And what about working abroad? In general, the majority of study participants have a positive attitude toward job offers from abroad, with marital status and age having a strong influence on their willingness to relocate. The most popular regions are Central Eu- rope, followed by Northern and Western Europe. Austrian developers pre- fer to orient themselves toward Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Great Britain. While they primarily expect a higher salary, colleagues from the CEE countries accept job offers from abroad in order to work and live in a better environment. Bonuses and company health care are also benefits that are appreciated for those looking to successfully recruit developers from the CEE region.

Credit: Peter Hofmann