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Skills that Employers are looking for in Junior Web & Software Developers

about 1 year ago by Luigi Muscat Filletti
Image contains a laptop and cubes with Development skills

Web and Software Development in Malta are growing fields in which talented individuals in these areas play important roles in creating and maintaining a company’s digital existence in the way their online services appear and function. This leads to the rise of recruitment of web and software developers in order for a company’s image and services to remain not only relevant, but top-choice. With the call for talent being plentiful, we take a look at how web and software development plays an important role in a company, and what employers favour when recruiting new faces in the web and software development fields.

Why is Web & Software Development Important for a Company?

In today’s business environment, the importance of a solid digital presence is vital in order to maintain a professional look and competitive edge. With the attention of the customer moving towards online platforms, companies are being discovered though their social media pages which are ultimately linked to their websites. It therefore goes without saying that the development of an organisation’s website enhances brand recall and popularity of the company, generates leads, increases sales and also creates an online area where customers may obtain value and insight through the form of regular content. No matter the industry, a company’s online presence is essential when reaching out to their target audience, making the design and development of websites an ever-growing field.

Web development refers to the creation, development and up-keeping of websites which revolves around areas of web design, web programming and database management. Through the use of various coding and computing languages, web developers are generally sorted into Front-End, Back-End or Full-Stack Developers. Front-End Developers take care of the visual aspect of webpages (designs, interactions and animations) through the use of HTML, Javascript and CSS - composing a structure of code which gives the webpage its look and feel. Back-End Developers take care of what goes on behind the scenes - the organisation of data on the server which hosts the website - ensuring a smooth functionality when browsing through the website, utilising server-based languages such as PHP, Java and Python. Full-Stack Developers take care of both the Front-End and Back-End operations - this is usually a more senior role of further expertise brought about through considerable experience and further study.

Web development falls under the bigger picture of software development, which refers to the catering for users’ needs and wants in order to develop successful software applications to be used in a company’s online services. According to what a company offers and the way it operates, software developers customise programs to be used in a company’s everyday online affairs.

Web & Software Development Opportunities in Malta

Software Development careers in Malta are currently on the rise, especially with the ongoing growth of the iGaming industry which is introducing a number of technology-related careers in iGaming in Malta, which demand the development of smooth functioning and user-friendly websites for their online gambling and gaming platforms. The demand for developers to seek careers in the Financial Services in Malta is also high, with the growth of Fintech companies looking to optimise their online services to create efficient processes for transactions and payment solutions. Therefore, the call for talent in software and web development is evidently high, making the nurturing of talented individuals within this field a top priority.

But what are employers looking for when recruiting junior roles in web and software development? The below set of hard skills and soft skills prove game-changing in the recruitment process:

Front-End Development Skills

The candidate is usually expected to be proficient in HTML and CSS, the two  most basic yet essential Front-End skills which allow a developer to work from the ground up. Equally fundamental is the knowledge of Javascript, which allows a user to interact with a webpage and also allows the inclusion of features which permit a website to be interactive. An understanding of jQuery is also a common asset - this software allows the features of plugins and extensions on webpages and simplifies coding structures. Skills in understanding and developing WordPress-based websites are also sought after - with Wordpress powering around 28% of the World Wide Web, it’s always probable that many companies make use of WordPress services in their online operations.

Back-End Development Skills

Back-End Development is seen as a higher profession when compared to Front-End Development, however, even if one is looking to move towards a career in Front-End Development, being knowledgeable about back-end concepts is always favourable, especially due to the fact that From-End an Back-End Developers work in correlation to each other.  Employers would expect that candidates understand back-end concepts and terminology such as Java, SQL and APIs, and wouldn’t want to be restricted to not passing on basic back-end tasks to their employees due to their lack of understanding.

Visual Skills

Employers do not only wish to recruit individuals who are proficient in the hard skills of Front-End and Back-End languages, however also seek to recruit individuals who have a good eye for design. The importance of creating an interface which is engaging, attractive and user-friendly contributes to customer acquisition and positive user experience. Understanding methods of responsive design according to the device in use (desktop, tablet or mobile) as well as the clever use of colour theory and understanding of consumer behaviour play an important part in designing webpages which users enjoy browsing through. Skills in UX (User Experience) and UI (User Interface) are favoured by employers, since they are skills which contribute to a successful web development process.

Competitive Portfolio

Candidates with portfolios which showcase their web and software development abilities are more favoured than their counterparts who do not - the importance of the portfolio has grown considerably over the last few years, and the employer’s final decision is heavily based on an impressive portfolio which displays tangible work which the applicant has done. Such work may be carried out through course projects or work carried out in one’s own time, yet the most favourable way of compiling good quality work is through freelance work. Freelance working with real clients shows a sense of commitment and responsibility which surely never go unnoticed. Many individuals tend to be sceptical about how and where to start freelance working, however this may be as straightforward as offering to set up a simple website for a friend, or even designing one’s own online portfolio or blog website - taking such steps shows initiative and dedication to one’s work! Another method of building a portfolio is through past job experience which could be gained through internships or part time employment whilst completing a course of study.

Digital Marketing Knowledge

Employers regard developers who possess a good working knowledge of digital marketing very highly, and even though digital marketing is being introduced to many workplaces through talks and workshops by experts in the field, employers consider developers who are up-to-date on the latest digital marketing trends, such as SEO and web analytics as well-informed. Understanding such data allows a developer to develop websites which increase organic traffic and get tangible results.

Problem-Solving Skills

The ability to efficiently and productively solve complex computational problems and come up with viable software solutions when troubleshooting software deficiencies or addressing client demands proves to the employer that the candidate is able to work well under pressure and in a collaborative environment. The ability to calmly and logically tackle software problems is a skill which employers all wish to see in potential employees, making it a desirable trait.

Communication and Team-Playing Skills

The importance of interpersonal skills is never disregarded - like any other candidate in any other industry, the ability to integrate well with colleagues and fit in well with the company culture is taken into consideration by employers. The ability to be a team player is also vital when working towards both short-term and long-term goals.

Being an all-round talented individual builds a strong and long-lasting impression which leads employers to placing their trust in a candidate who not only satisfies the hard skills needed for the job, but also those soft skills which are considered strong assets. With the Technology industry in Malta growing rapidly, the recruitment of young and upcoming talent is all eyes and ears, and as employers seek to hire the best of the best, an emphasis on acquiring the right skills is vital to opening up one’s career opportunities and securing their job of choice!