Retention rates and a shortage of software developers are putting tremendous pressure on companies seeking to create new products or services, innovate current products, or transform legacy products and platforms. The resulting confluence has been dubbed "the developer drought”, in which there simply is not enough manpower to supply the ever-changing digital demands.

Too few developers with too many opportunities

For the foreseeable future, the shortage of software developers will continue to fall behind demand.

There simply aren’t enough developers to service the current 3+ year project backlog. The recent pandemic, departing talent, and growth in job openings is draining the already shallow talent pool. According to Forbes, & the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for engineers with the right skill set continues to skyrocket and is expected to grow 22% from 2019 to 2029. In addition, many companies have unrealistic expectations when posting technology positions. The actual number of skilled developers in IOT, big data, AI, AR, MI and other emerging technologies with, or without a college degree is quite small.

Target rich environment “because they can”

Software developers are in a very opportunistic position, they can, and do change jobs, on average, every 3 years. There are a lot of compelling reasons to switch:

  • Immediate pay increase of 15%, as opposed to an annual 3% to 7% raise
  • Learn and do new things, everybody gets excited about trying cool, new things.
  • Burn out at current job, tired of the same problems, bad boss, toxic culture
  • Underappreciated, little or no recognition, no connection to company values

What's the hold-up with recruiting developers?

The ever-evolving world of digital tools, languages, platforms and resources has long outpaced traditional academia's ability to remain technically current and provide the much-needed internship path available to most professional careers. This has forced fledgling developers to resort to non-academic means to educate themselves.

How do developers acquire their skills?

  • On-the-job experiences
  • Memberships in technology groups
  • At home or with friends working on ad-hoc projects
  • Programming courses online or at a local college

What are they missing?

Without a post-secondary degree, developers are missing the professional collegian experience that provides students with soft skills, communication skills, and structured collaboration exposure. This enforces a virtual ceiling of sorts for senior management and executive opportunities.  


Offshoring development talent continues to be a valuable resource for savvy companies who understand the offshore and hybrid delivery models. However, they too are not immune to the developer drought. Many offshore companies have additional social-economic barriers for recruiting and retaining talent.

FPT University has been fulfilling its purpose of providing the market with highly-skilled, well-trained IT human resources.

Companies like FPT Software, located in Vietnam, work to solve these problems by creating the county's first corporate university. Leveraging the nation’s favorable demographic with its young and tech-savvy workforce, FPT University was established in 2006 to provide the market with highly-skilled IT human resources. The university equips students with in-depth professional knowledge and well-rounded personal skills. The curricula are continually updated to comply with industry standards in CICD, DevOps, Agile methodologies, advanced programming languages, and trending technologies like big data, AI, and RPA.

FPT University programs have an emphasis on language skills, delivery processes, teamwork skills, physical fitness, social awareness, and other soft skills. 

A retention strategy that works

FPT Software's education philosophy delivers technically competent and socially adjusted students who quickly become part of the thriving community. Their approach to solving the “drought” does not only encourage and fosters a culture of enrichment but also enables the technological market to grow and evolve.

Author Chuck Bratton