In Germany, agencies and companies are desperately looking for developers, as they can barely fill their vacancies. But how can developers and companies find each other? What kind of skillset is really needed? This time we asked QAware GmbH in Munich, who are specialized in Software Engineering, to answer these questions.

A new approach is necessary to overcome the shortage of skilled professionals and to find suitable candidates on a clean swept job market. So we asked the staff managers of agencies and companies which creative measures they use to fill the developer positions. This time we spoke with Christine Böttcher, Staff Manager at QAware GmbH.

Editorial Team: According to a study by the digital association Bitkom, IT jobs remain vacant for five months on average because there is a glaring shortage of IT specialists in Germany. Especially developers are very hard to find. What are your current experiences regarding this issue?

Christine Böttcher: There’s a noticeable shortage of IT graduates. That’s why we use our student scholarships and various coding workshops to ensure that young people experience IT as an attractive job environment.

We want a sustainable growth rate and we are consciously planning a small number of new hires, but even these effectively 10 to 12 new colleagues want to be found actively and enthused by us as an employer. This is happening more and more at recruiting events. In addition to the salary, exciting projects, further training opportunities and, especially, the culture they experience are decisive for job applicants today.

Editorial Team: In which fields are you looking for Software Developers and which qualifications (Programming Languages) have you been looking for recently?

Christine Böttcher: We are driven by a passion to solve IT problems and to develop cool new solutions. That’s why we analyse and renovate the existing system landscapes of our enterprise customers or invent and build new IT systems for them, using the latest technologies. So if you have know-how about Microservice Development, Front- and Backend Development or Domain-driven Design in the enterprise environment, then our place is the right one for you. DevOps expertise and experience with technologies of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation’s ecosystem are equally welcome. Currently, the languages that are particularly relevant to us are Java, more and more JavaScript, and Go.

But the cultural fit is even more important than the qualification for us, which expresses itself, for example, in sincerity, inventiveness, and respectful interaction.

Editorial Team: How do you manage applicants who don’t have a degree or education, but have a proven expertise as developers in practical self-study?

Christine Böttcher: A solid foundation in IT and Software Engineering is important to us – a formal university degree is not. We are also happy to welcome self-educated people, who have acquired their knowledge and skills in challenging online courses. In doubt, a good basic knowledge of algorithms and data structures, for example, is more important to us than specific knowledge of a single programming language.

We are also always looking to recruit people of different work backgrounds, such as mathematics or physics. Then we set up an individual training for them parallel to the project work. Unfortunately, our capacities for such intensive orientation training are limited.

Editorial Team: How do you find suitable software developers? Does recruitment mainly take place via personnel service providers or do you use alternative approaches, such as trade fairs and company events?

Christine Böttcher: Now, we recruit suitable talents mainly through our own and external recruiting events, by cooperation with universities, and also our meetups. Some also come to us through the accolade of our workplace culture by Great Place to Work or through platforms like kununu.

Editorial Team: Are you also actively approaching IT specialists from abroad or do you primarily concentrate on the German job market when recruiting candidates?

Christine Böttcher: We focus on the German-speaking job market, but people of all nations are welcome. An individual language training is also possible, if someone has great IT and Software Engineering skills but doesn’t speak German yet. We don’t do any kind of near- or offshoring.

Editorial Team: According to the quoted Bitkom study, many companies complain that the salary demands of applicants are too high. Therefore, we have one last question at the end: How often does it really happen that you have to reject software developer of the IT market because of “excessive” salary demands?

Christine Böttcher: The decision depends on the overall package with most applicants. For us this includes — in addition to the salary — an average of nine further training days, a resilience initiative, flexible working hours, home office, challenging projects, and a culture of appreciation. Of course, it occasionally happens that people opt out for a different offer but the number has not increased over the last few years.

Editorial Team: Thank you very much for this interview!