It is safe to say that being in software development means you will be spending less time on the job market than others.
Software developers, designers, architects, testers, system administrators, DevOps professionals and data experts are highly sought-after, and it is usually software development companies who are struggling to attract them.
However, there are still situations in which the developers will be those who wish to have the upper hand over other candidates for the position. In such circumstances, every little bit can help and in the modern software development ecosystem. Being knowledgeable about Agile can make a real difference.
Today, we will talk about why this is the case and how software development job seekers can go about learning about Agile.
A Few Words on Agile
Before we start dissecting all the reasons as to why software development job seekers need to learn about Agile, it is probably a good idea to say a thing or two about the very concept of Agile software development.
Agile software development as a concept was formally introduced to the world in 2001 with the release of the Agile Manifesto signed by software developers who worked on some approaches to developing software under the Agile umbrella.
For example, Scrum and Extreme Programming had already been around for years, but in 2001, they officially became parts of the Agile ecosystem.
While Agile methodologies and frameworks differ, they are all based on a few basic ideas:
- Adaptation over elaborate planning
- People over tools and processes
- Working software over documentation
- Extensive communication and collaboration
- Continuously improving teams
- Flat hierarchy
The ultimate goal of Agile software development is to be able to consistently and sustainably deliver working software. Specifically, software that will meet business goals and provide real value for both the customer and the end users.
As years have gone by, more and more software development companies and teams have been adopting various Agile approaches. Scrum has become the most popular. Today, the number of Agile projects outnumbers those still run “traditionally.”
This brings us to the first reason as to why software development job seekers should learn about Agile.
Agile Has Become the Norm
Like we mentioned already, Agile has surpassed the traditional, more structured approaches to developing software. In other words, as a software development professional, you are more likely to work in an Agile environment than not.
Naturally, learning about Agile makes development job seekers better prepared. It is severe enough to get involved in existing projects and fit into existing teams. All of this without having to wrap your head around concepts such as Product Backlog, pair programming, WIiP limits, Scrum artifacts, etc.
Knowing this makes it is far easier to hit the ground running and contribute immediately.
Employers know this and job seekers’ knowledge, and experience with Agile can even come up in interviews. This will usually not go as far as asking general Agile interview questions like when companies are hiring Scrum Masters or Product Owners, but being prepared to answer a few fundamental questions is a good idea.
Agile Promotes Good Practices
At their very core, Agile methodologies and frameworks promote practices that make a lot of sense in the modern world of software development. Learning about them can help software development professionals become better at what they do, regardless of the actual process.
In the modern software development ecosystem, developing a piece of software the traditional way makes very little sense. The marketplace reality changes rapidly, as do the business requirements for the product under development.
By getting used to incremental delivery of working software, developers increase the chances of ending up with a better product.
The same goes for other aspects of Agile, such as constant communication with all stakeholders and the emphasis on transparency and inspection.
It does not matter if the developers end up working in Agile teams. Familiarity with Agile principles makes them better at their job regardless.
Additional Job Opportunities
The proliferation of Agile has reached a degree that some organizations are now looking specifically for experts who can transition them to Agile.
All with the goal of improving their existing practices. They are looking for Scrum Masters, Product Owners, project managers with experience in Agile and Agile coaches.
It is worth noting that these tend to be larger organizations, usually with great packages and benefits for employees.
This opens up an entirely new field for experienced software development professionals. However, this requires a whole different level of Agile knowledge.
It necessitates theoretical and practical expertise and familiarity with organizational and managerial aspects of Agile software development. Also, positions will usually be open only to certified Agile practitioners, which can in itself be quite demanding.
For experienced software development job seekers, this can be an exciting career choice. It is a perfect stepping stone towards executive and even C-suite positions sometime in the future.
How to Learn about Agile
One of the best things about Agile software development is the abundance of resources, organizations, and communities that are more than happy to share the knowledge. In addition to this, there is no shortage of resources for all the different levels of previous experience.
If you don’t know the first thing about Agile, you will quickly find introductory articles and guides. Likewise, if you are looking for more advanced knowledge, you will have plenty of resources.
In case you are planning on genuinely immersing yourself in Agile and becoming a certified practitioner, you will turn to some organizations that provide specialized training and certifications.
It is easy to pick up Agile and learn the basics, but that true mastery is challenging to achieve.
The important thing is that you understand the benefits and are willing to give it a go.