How Much Does Job Experience Matter When Hiring a New Developer?

The traditional idea of what an employee needs to know or demonstrate in the workplace is often derived from the job's original description. They tend to be specific, specialized within a team or department, and relatively immutable over time.
How Much Does Job Experience Matter When Hiring a New Developer
Annabel Connell
Publish date
Apr 13, 2022

The traditional idea of what an employee needs to know or demonstrate in the workplace is often derived from the job's original description. They tend to be specific, specialized within a team or department, and relatively immutable over time. Consequently, training for those roles follows naturally. 

In a digitally enabled and hybrid working environment, however, this way of thinking about learning and development is no longer enough. In addition, automation of roles and functions, globalization, and the increase in internet usage have all heightened both the intensity of competition and the pace of change.

People are now faced with a new paradigm shift as they comprehend what it means to be a member of a rapidly changing workforce - and wonder what the future holds for them.

1. Busting Myths About Job Experience vs. Skills

There are numerous myths associated with job experience being the only factor in hiring decisions in the tech sector.

  • You must hold at least a bachelor's degree to be hired as a developer

Truth: Many open IT positions do not require a bachelor's degree

  • You can only learn what you need to learn as a developer in college

Truth: Candidates are being hired for positions based on skills and certifications they have acquired from online courses

  • Recruiters in tech firms only consider experience when making a hiring decision

Truth: More recruiters, especially in the tech sector, are making hiring decisions based on skills and not just experience or educational background

A lack of skills continues to threaten the future of many organizations, but those who recognize the true importance of skills can optimize their competitive edge.

2. Have Skills Become the New Currency of Work?

The global pandemic has disrupted the job market significantly. Businesses have made changes to the way they hire and screen candidates. Now, technology skills are being viewed as more valuable than experience and qualifications. According to Microsoft and LinkedIn, post-pandemic hiring will be based heavily on skills, in addition to the individual's ability to perform the job. In other words, "Skills (not jobs) will become the central currency of work."

3. Why Is There an Increase in Skill-Based Hiring?

Skills shortages are the biggest obstacle in post-pandemic hiring. As companies and jobs become more cross-disciplinary, the job market is placing an increasing amount of emphasis on bridging the skills gap. According to Forbes, around 40% of hiring professionals who use LinkedIn are using skills data to find talent. A survey by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation uncovered that nearly 75 percent of HR leaders require job candidates to submit a credential during the hiring process.

Historically, many methods have been used in the job recruitment process. Today, companies are looking for candidates who can start performing immediately, without any training, especially since the pandemic has transformed the workplace. Chances for growth lie in change. It will be those who develop skills to cope with change head-on who will thrive in this new era.

4. Is Experience More Important Than Being Technically Skilled?

Macroeconomic pressure coupled with a high need for certain skills has caused enormous pressure on the job market. In the tech and development sector, the employment history of the candidate is often considered as highly as the candidate's technical skills. Is that still the case today? While over 65 percent of developers hold a bachelor's degree or higher, 25 percent of developers have less than a bachelor's degree, according to the 2021 Developer Survey conducted by Stack Overflow. 

In the past, only degrees were viewed as a golden ticket and education qualifications would penalize potential candidates. To find candidates with a wide range of skills and experience, more employers are starting to consider those without a degree. Today, more candidates are being hired according to the skills listed on their resumes, and not the degree. Skill infusion is a crucial part of today's education process. Students don't want to be stuck with just theoretical knowledge; they want to develop skills that will allow them to put it into practice.

Having relevant skills and experience are both very important. For example, those who aim to be a Java Developer are developing skills in advanced technologies like MEAN Stack and Amazon Web Services (AWS). Comparably, a future Python Developer may be technically skilled in Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and more. While decades worth of experience may be needed for some job positions in other industries, in the tech sector, developers need to have the skills that will keep up with the rapidly changing nature.

5. Are You Ready to Optimize Your Competitive Edge?

It's impossible to predict the future of work, but we know that people and organizations must remain agile and flexible if they want to stay a step ahead. One effective way to gain a competitive edge in your industry is to ensure that you hire candidates who have a sound set of skills. A highly skilled workforce tends to be more resilient and can take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves.

We can no longer limit learning and development to a job title. It's about what needs to be done next, not what was done in the past. Technically skilled candidates and candidates who get upskilled can empower your company. When candidates bring new skills to the table and demonstrate how those skills can benefit your company, the future growth of your company will not be threatened. 


Trying to match the skill requirements of what today's job market in the tech sector consists of, with what necessary talent can deliver, can be a major challenge. You can no longer acknowledge the importance of having skills and developing those skills without taking action. As overwhelming as these changes and challenges can feel, it is important to think about how being proactive can help you thrive in today's landscape.

Considering the changes in the job market, you should be prepared to consider skill-based hiring. Even if a candidate does not have the exact skills your job requires, some candidates are willing to get upskilled. If you are ready to rethink your hiring process to focus on skills, contact Buchanan Tech for your recruitment needs.