Top Three Things Every .NET Engineer Needs To Know

Every full stack .NET engineer who knows React and can build deployment pipelines for Azure, didn’t know these things in the not too distant past. When recruiting, it’s critical that we acknowledge this and build it into the career goals of those we wish to hire. To do this successfully though, we must screen on something recruiters don’t – potential. Potential in engineering terms is usually measured by proactive learning or involvement in communities.

The bulk of the below research on trends comes from .NET Engineers with a heavy back-end focus. What’s particularly interesting is that it’s very clear that developers aren’t simply concerned with working with technologies that relate explicitly to their commercial day to day, instead there is a drive for up-skilling and cross-training. There is a natural curiosity amongst developers to understand the wider technological landscape.

Highlighting a culture that isn’t purely 9-5, the best software engineers are coding round the clock.  From a business and hiring perspective, these polyglots, or those with experience in different technologies, can create an opportunity to introduce new technologies to your company, whilst also expanding their own toolkit, boosting their value in the market.

Here are the areas in which developers channel their curiosity right now:

1 – Cloud: The most common thing .NET Engineers seem to be exploring now is cloud technologies, particularly around Azure and AWS. This comes as no surprise as gaining commercial exposure to cloud is a very prominent motivation for the engineers I speak to. There are huge varieties in the way they upskill on Azure. Many of the engineers I spoke to approach their self-learning theoretically, opting to watch videos on Pluralsight. Others, however, opted for a more practical route. One engineer I spoke to was hosting his own website on Azure, whilst another engineered their own ticketing system hosted in AWS. Others took things to the next level by pursuing certifications in Azure and/or AWS, which can only help when looking for opportunities that encompass cloud-based engineering!

2 -  NoSQL Databases: Talking about Cloud (Azure in particular) leads nicely on to another technology that’s getting a lot of airtime right now – Azure’s NoSQL database, DocumentDB (among other NoSQL Databases). The emergence of cloud seems to have really vamped up the focus on NoSQL from a .NET perspective. Gone seem to be the days of .NET Engineers only having knowledge of SQL Server, with engineers now having knowledge of MongoDB, Couchbase and many other NoSQL databases.

I’ve spoken to engineers who have actively pursued MongoDB certifications and others who are working on personal ventures underpinned by NoSQL databases. One thing is clear: NoSQL databases are really driving discussions in the market right now!

3 – Javascript Technologies: Finally, Javascript technologies, particularly around NodeJS and Angular4. What I found most interesting about the self-learning in this area is that those whose focus professionally was purely on backend engineering, like high-transactional systems in C#,  still spent a lot of time outside of it learning JavaScript technologies.

The tech that people seem to be getting most excited about at the moment is NodeJS. From watching Pluralsight videos to meetups to forum discussions, NodeJS has certainly grabbed the attention of the .NET world. Some of the more practical explorations of NodeJS included several people building Alexa apps!

Of course, for any engineer there are an infinite amount of different technologies that could be explored, the above three just seem to be the most prevalent in the market right now. Others I spoke to were covering off a variety of technologies, from Xamarin and Ionic to F# and everything in-between.

The most important thing is that the .NET Development world stays curious! What technologies are you looking at outside of work? It’d be great to hear of any new technologies you’re exploring, or indeed of any cool applications you’ve built using the above technologies!


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