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Coding expertise not enough: Top skills for developers today

18 Sep 2014  | Shridhar Mittal

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Technology degrees used to be the ticket to a secure job and solid future. Not anymore.

Now, companies in Asia Pacific & Japan (APJ) seek IT professionals that have business savvy – sometimes even more than technical expertise. Being a master coder alone doesn't cut it if you're looking to advance your career as a software developer.

In the (not so distant) past, software developers worked independently to code and test software apps. Today, there's a new movement – known as DevOps – that fosters collaboration between IT and operations, along with business executives.

From its theoretical roots, DevOps is evolving into a core business strategy. Indeed, some 70 per cent of organisations in APJ recently polled by CA Technologies either have, or are planning to implement, a DevOps strategy. This figure rises to 91 per cent in India and an impressive 99% in China. Adoption rates are lowest in Japan, where only 21 per cent of respondents have an existing strategy and a further 27 per cent plan to adopt one.

As they embrace DevOps strategies, more than three-quarters of organisations in APJ expect to commit more budget dollars to training for both development and operations staff. And more than half (59 per cent) foresee having to hire new personnel with the necessary skills to support DevOps adoption.

Their motivation? In APJ, more than 90 per cent of IT leaders polled have seen, or expect to see, significant benefits from DevOps initiatives. These include time-to-market reductions for their software and services (88 per cent), quality improvements (90 per cent) and more frequent deployment (98 per cent).

How can the workforce adapt to this transformation? Below are the top critical skills guaranteed to pay off for the modern DevOps pro in APJ.

Think like your boss (or better yet, their boss)

IT leaders across the region agree: the top skills required for DevOps are knowledge of business strategies and an understanding of current business processes. There are those who leave this up to senior management... but in this new environment, they will stay behind.

Developers who lead the charge in their organisation and adopt a DevOps methodology understand the importance of process improvements and collaboration across departments. Not only that, but they're able to articulate the business and potential revenue implications of IT transformation to those up the food chain.

The next generation of developers can transform their businesses, and their own careers, by embracing this business liaison role – for example, by educating and familiarizing themselves with business finance terms. Knowledge of the overall priorities, strategies and metrics of the business is viewed as the most important skill across all countries in APJ, with more than half of respondents (55 per cent) identifying this knowledge as key to successful DevOps implementation.

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