How do I become a competent developer

Career & Salary

The digitization and transformation of business models are causing established industries such as the automotive industry and the banking sector to tumble - and their downsizing in some cases in the headlines. In the market for IT specialists, however, the current economic dip is bypassing it: This is particularly true for software developers, who according to the DEKRA job market report are the second most sought-after skilled workers.

This is not surprising, as most companies are in the middle of the digital transformation for which IT experts are indispensable: whether it is about new business models such as connected cars, omnichannel in retail or process automation to reduce costs - or that to create new ecosystems by integrating services or entire startups. Without modern software, practically no business model has any future prospects today.

Software experts are wanted in many industries

Good software developers are therefore spoiled for choice, and the range of options in terms of working environment and additional services is impressive. According to the DEKRA report, developers currently have the best chances of looking for a job, especially in the IT industry itself, but also in mechanical engineering, vehicle construction and the electrical industry. However, this does not change anything in terms of the high demands placed on the candidates; therefore the job market for developers is not a "make a wish". Both sides would therefore do well to formulate clear requirements for cooperation.

Classic nerds are less in demand

What these requirements look like depends above all on the history, structure and culture of the employer, but also on the priorities and foresight of the candidate. The DEKRA study shows that the requirement profile in most companies goes well beyond traditional programming. Among other things, there is a demand for knowledge transfer in the direction of teams and customers, project management and customer communication.

This is especially true when software providers implement the so often demanded "customer centricity" themselves and understand programming, implementation and consulting as an overall package that a joint team implements from start to finish. In this case, soft skills such as the much-touted ability to work in a team, creativity and consulting competence have more than just symbolic character, but are essential for the management of successful projects.

  1. The salary evaluation
    For COMPUTERWOCHE, the Hamburg remuneration consultancy COP Compensation Partner GmbH evaluated salary data from software developers. A total of around 6,000 data were used for this. 4,275 of them dealt with backend developers and 1,682 with frontend developers.
  2. IT developers deserve that
    All salaries have risen sharply, especially among young professionals. In Germany, backend developers earn an average of € 61,200 and frontend developers around € 46,700.
  3. Developers without professional experience deserve this
    A backend developer with no professional experience already earns around € 52,300. As a front-end developer, he has an average starting salary of € 40,400.
  4. Up to € 80,000 with 20 years of professional experience
    After 20 years of professional experience, the backend developer should earn almost € 80,000 and a frontend IT specialist around € 59,300.
  5. In small companies up to € 57,000
    In a company with up to 50 employees, backend developers earn around 57,000 euros and in the frontend area around 42,000 euros.
  6. This is what a developer earns in a company with 1,000 or more employees
    If the company has more than 1,000 employees, developers in the backend area receive an average salary of 68,000 € - in the frontend area, in turn, almost 54,000 € per year.
  7. With minor personnel responsibility from € 90,000
    If a backend developer has a small personnel responsibility of one to three employees, his salary increases to 105,000 and for a frontend developer to 94,000 euros.
  8. With up to 30 employees € 100,000 per year
    According to the study, there are around 115,300 euros per year for back-end developers with 16 to 30 employees and for front-end developers 102,300 euros.
  9. Earn € 60,000 a year in mechanical engineering
    The industry also has an influence on the salary. A backend developer in mechanical engineering achieves an average salary of € 63,700 per year.
  10. In chemistry up to € 49,000
    A front-end developer in chemistry receives an average salary of € 49,000.
  11. Munich is the front runner
    In Munich, the salaries for backend developers at € 74,000 are on average around € 10,000 higher than in other Bavarian regions. Frontend developers achieve an average salary of € 56,500 here - that's still € 7,000 more than in the rest of Bavaria.
  12. Earn up to € 130,000 with personal responsibility in Munich
    With personal responsibility, the salary for backend developers in the Bavarian capital can rise to € 132,000. A front-end developer earns around € 117,000 here.
  13. In Berlin around € 58,000
    In Berlin, the average salary for backend developers is around € 58,000. For front-end developers, there is around € 44,000 a year.
  14. 65,200 € for backend developers in Hamburg
    Hamburg offers an average salary of € 65,2000 for IT backend developers. In the front-end area there are significantly less: 49,000 € per year.
  15. Earn around € 46,700 in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania
    In Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, a back-end developer earns around € 46,700 - in the front-end area it's again less: € 35,400 per year.

High demands despite the "War for Talents"

Such projects, however, do not require the classic nerd, but rather an all-rounder with software, process and consulting skills as well as communication skills. There is much to support the assumption that development services in "expensive" markets such as the DACH region only pay off in the long term if they are not viewed as an isolated product but as part of a comprehensive, fast and flexible solution.

Because the pure programming can in principle also be carried out in outsourcing markets; However, the key to long-term success in the market is the proximity to the customer, the establishment of a real relationship in the consulting process and the creation of real added value for this customer.

This proximity to the customer - and thus the expertise on current market and industry trends - is also required by the software developer, otherwise the company runs the risk of failing to produce when required or at least delaying and complicating processes. It is also to be expected that machine learning will reduce the pure development work in the future. This will further increase the importance of creativity and experience on the job market for programmers.

Understanding the interaction of technologies

But also on the purely technical side, thinking outside the box should replace tunnel vision if possible. More and more technologies are in use in the system landscape of companies. Anyone who wants to offer the customer the above-mentioned added value must therefore develop an understanding of how these technologies work in a network and how an integration can be represented. In the future, despite all the enthusiasm for new job profiles and specialists such as the data scientist, the generalist will be more of a generalist.

Here we are back to the corporate structure and culture cited at the beginning: At large software providers, development, implementation and customer service run separately from one another, which gives developers the opportunity to focus entirely on programming. Such process silos and the inevitable gaps in communication are ultimately the cause of numerous problems that not only delay the implementation of projects, but also cause a lot of frustration for customers and their own teams.

Because the more departments are involved in the process, the slower it runs naturally - and the worse the result. When an employee writes the specification and then passes it on to a developer, who in turn programs the whole thing, the famous "silent post syndrome" often arises.

It is precisely these silos and the lack of integration in solutions as well as in customer communication that many clients of large providers complain about and often also make life difficult for the employees of these companies. Smaller, more agile companies are comparatively faster on the market and closer to the customer. This ultimately pays off for everyone involved, provided that everyone involved is ready for it.

  1. Generate constructive conflicts and criticism
    "Conflict" does not necessarily have to be negative. It can also have a positive effect when it is used constructively in an agile team. IT management consultant Ivan Kovynyov gives tips on how executives can specifically create a positive conflict culture in the team and thus improve performance and project success.
  2. Form a heterogeneous team
    You need a heterogeneous team. If, for example, the team were made up entirely of middle-aged white men, it can be foreseen that they will all have a similar style of thinking.
  3. Conflict-free team building
    Team members should already have met and worked together. It would be counterproductive to start the team building phase with a constructive conflict.
  4. Remove impediments
    Barriers to freedom of expression in the team must be identified and removed: irrational need for harmony, excessive consensus orientation, strong opinion makers, camp formation, authoritarian project managers or product owners, zero-error tolerance, target specifications contain a solution, etc.
  5. Take the right path
    The middle way is not always the best way: if one wants to pass the tree to the left and the other to the right, the way through the middle is obviously not the best.
  6. Define consensus rules
    Looking for a qualified consensus: Rules must be defined for situations in which the team cannot come to an agreement. For example, the team calls an independent expert or the project manager or the product owner decide.
  7. Define a common goal
    Common goals as the North Star: Debates can easily separate participants of an agile team further from one another. A common understanding of the team's goal and mission creates the opposite and has a balancing effect.
  8. Humorous interaction
    When all else fails: humor always helps!

Work-life balance, further development and exciting projects

In order to achieve high quality standards and optimal results for all parties - employers, candidates and, above all, the company's customers - realistic expectations management right at the beginning of the relationship between employer and employee is important. It is undisputed that employers should offer additional benefits and a productive working atmosphere in order to attract competent developers.

But the candidates themselves also have to be clear about where the journey in the market is going and what their decision in favor of a company means for them personally: If you choose a global player, your everyday work is probably more likely to result from a classic division of tasks (development, sales , Customer service, etc.), and consequently less require the all-rounder. Since success with customers is much more likely to have an impact on medium-sized software providers, they need powerful teams in which the project managers for development, implementation and consulting work hand in hand.

Companies that act in this way have high requirements, but sometimes have an easier time approaching candidates. Because a good salary is no longer the decisive factor for many developers. Instead, what is needed are a good work-life balance, personal development with targeted further training and the opportunity to actively work on exciting projects with state-of-the-art technologies. A job that offers the customer real added value and thus makes sense. Where employers and employees work together in this spirit, innovation and customer benefit go hand in hand. And mutual success is almost guaranteed.