Software developer

Outsourcing can help address the skills shortage of local software developers

Continued economic instability and the normalization of remote work are pushing South African organizations to find more efficient ways to overcome the scarcity of internal software development resources.

So says specialist software development company Dariel, which believes that outsourcing this critical function will become a business priority.

Wayne Yan, Chief Technology Officer at Dariel

“The US IT labor market is highly specialized and software engineers are appointed to focus on specific tasks. However, the limited resources available to local software developers mean that they are more versatile and versatile as they need to be resourceful to overcome these challenges. The latter makes them highly sought after abroad. And while talent may stay in-country through remote work, international companies benefit from quality software engineers at more affordable rates while being able to overprice local companies,” says Wayne Yan, chief technology officer at Dariel.

Greg Vercellotti, executive director of Dariel, explains that the pandemic has taken what was already a difficult proposition for acquiring quality developers and made it a nearly impossible task.

“More and more foreign companies are offering jobs to South Africans. And because there is a shortage of skills coming out of higher education institutions, there are not enough graduates to meet the demand,” says Vercellotti.

Fortunately, this is not an insurmountable challenge.

“Universities can change to help solve this problem. Although they spend a lot of time on the theory needed to give someone a good degree, they don’t prepare them for the working environment. Junior software engineers do not understand how to run projects and how methodologies work practically. Yes, they have excellent book knowledge, but haven’t been exposed to much, if any, on-the-job training. There’s a big jump between leaving college and starting work,” says Malcolm Rabson, managing director of Dariel’s group.

Strategic value

This is where specialized organizations like Dariel come in. The company is focused on delivering high quality strategic software development that unlocks business value.

To do this, it focuses on five key values: Delivery; Excellency in the quality of the work produced; Passion for developers; ethically engage with customers; and Growth his people skills.

This is not about creating a body shop where developers are blindly outsourced to customers. It’s about finding ways to use software development that makes sense to the customer and helps them meet specific needs.

“Many local businesses don’t like or understand the software development process. There has always been the temptation to create bloatware instead of focusing on the minimum viable requirement for the business. A few organizations realize that this has to be done on a time and material basis. For them, software is the electricity of their business. They just can’t function without it,” says Rabson.

For example, if a bank loses its ATM network due to a software glitch, the financial and reputational damage can be disastrous. However, a mine can still operate for some time even if its backend systems are offline.

“For us, it’s about understanding the business problem and using our software engineers to create a solution that addresses it. We don’t want to sign as many clients as possible. It’s more about finding those who understand the importance of software and partnering with them. It’s about providing insight into business value through technology,” says Vercellotti.

Han agrees.

“A client who has this maturity is also one who accepts that the data is linked to his success. It treats the quality of its data like gold. In addition, the company adopts the procedures essential to maintaining the high quality of its data. If this is done, the organization can learn lessons that will translate into better business decisions. A business needs to be able to pivot quickly to adapt, and data becomes the secret ingredient to doing that,” says Yan.

Service management

Rabson believes that Dariel’s creation of a managed service provider (MSP) business will help companies fill their lack of skilled software developers by working with an experienced partner who understands the local market.

“We will be expanding our MSP offering over the next few months and increasing our presence in the cloud space. Dariel wants to create a niche market for himself with the MSP business and the cloud as an instrument,” says Rabson.

He says the local shortage of developers will see MSP value propositions become a key differentiator.

“Companies invest in training graduates to become quality software engineers. Invariably, they go off on the lure of international opportunities, and then the cycle begins again. Dariel wants to remove that headache by providing the essential skills and resources to execute software engineering projects to strategic customer specifications to enable long-term business growth,” concludes Rabson.