This astounding statistic demonstrates just how inextricable smart technology has become from our day-to-day lives. It’s a strong call to action for brands and businesses to embrace this change and, in such a competitive environment, striving to be ahead of the curve when it comes to digital innovation is only natural.
Whilst these sorts of technological developments used to be only at the disposal of larger companies and lean, agile start-ups, this is no longer the case.
The growth of open-source technologies and cloud-based computing have made digital innovation achievable across the board. The playing field has been levelled and the game officially changed.
However, as more and more brands go digital-first, forcing competition in the market, developers are bearing the brunt of this cultural shift. The remits of the ‘makers of tech’ are expanding beyond prior recognition and it’s got to the point when there is just too much to do.
Beyond the proliferation of digital-first strategies, developers also have a habit of saying yes without a consideration of the practicalities. This is because, by nature, they want to make more, do things better and help the business to grow and become the best it can.
Although part of the reason that they feel overwhelmed, the developers’ innate enthusiasm can hardly be criticised. The real problem comes from a big knowledge gap from a business perspective, as they seek to innovate and implement new digital technology.
Tech departments remain siloed, its workers are typically disconnected, which means that getting the right support is a real challenge.
While this is all good for business, the buck stops with the developers to make technological advancement happen. But, as with many complex job functions, while the C-suite is pushing hardest for change, they are unaware of the intricacies and reality of making it happen.
There is still a real issue with education and understanding on a broader scale. The majority of people outside the industry just can’t get their head around how the specifics of technology work – nor do they see it as their job to educate and inform themselves.
This leaves developers isolated and frustrated by the lack of understanding of their capabilities which result in them being tasked with endless ‘fix-it’ jobs that restrict the amount of time they are able to spend on more creatively satisfying project.
This knowledge gap also results in businesses struggling to equip their tech and IT experts properly, something that is exaggerated by the fact that budgets are more accountable than ever and need to be examined line by line regardless of the size of the business.
As developers strive to keep spinning plates and fulfil demands from multiple stakeholders, their jobs are becoming more complex with one idea leading to the next without additional investment.
Countering the tech debt
Whilst this technological and educational revolution might be slow, there are a number of very exciting things that are emerging as a result. Diversifying skillsets are just one of these, as businesses of all sizes are empowered to hire new team members and upskill existing ones.
This applies to the people in charge too. It’s ok not to be an expert, as long as you try to understand the basics and are aware of any shortcomings. Not everyone in the business needs to be an expert, but developers deserve to be treated in exactly the same way as any other department – sensitively and with genuine enquiring interest.
However, the educational responsibility goes both ways. It is entirely possible to explain technology to non-technical people, as long as you choose to speak to them in a language that they understand.
Job frustration is not exclusive to the tech industry. No one is satisfied when the reality of a role falls short of expectations. However, I strongly believe, and have seen the outcomes to prove, that freeing-up developers to pursue more creative projects will increase their satisfaction at work and have a positive impact on the businesses’ bottom line.
Minimising the impact of the multitude of problems within the developer community is a company-wide, and indeed industry-wide, responsibility. Businesses must arm themselves with a basic knowledge of what developers should really be doing and remember that tech is, like any industry, varied and intricate.
Awareness will pave the way to finding the right solutions that will ensure everyone in the business benefits and achieves in line with their individual goals, as well as the collective business objectives.