Research Byte relevant to Open-Source professionals or the Open-Source market.

How to Attract London's Open-Source Developers

Published by Profile picture of Ben Mellows from Talent Point. Ben Mellows on the 7th August, 2019

It can be tricky to find developers that fit both hiring requirements and budgetary restrictions. This is especially true in London, where the steady growth of the IT and tech sector is leading to an insatiable appetite for competent applicants.

So, as a company looking to hire an open-source developer, what is the best way to go about sourcing and hiring them?

Know the employment market and budget accordingly

Before anything, you need to know the availability of applicants and the going market rate for the developers you want. Without a frame of reference, it can be incredibly difficult to craft an offer that will both appeal to applicants and be financially feasible for you, the employer.

First, we looked at the number of existing professionals within and around London, based on our highest fidelity dataset*.

*The true figure of professionals in the talent pool may vary, as some may be missing due to either not updating their job titles or by having generic job titles such as ‘Software Engineer’. Nonetheless, this is consistent across languages, meaning the picture the data paints should be considered valid and accurate across the broader London talent pool.



From this, we can see the comparative numbers of developers in London, filtered by the
open-source language they use.

Java professionals make up a large chunk of the combined talent pool, with .NET, PHP and Python following.

Next, we crafted a programmer pay scale by scouring the salary rates currently being offered on London’s most popular job boards and assessing the salaries of 412 people from our own network of technologists.





While all developers tend to start out with similar salaries at the entry and junior levels, it’s interesting to note that pay gaps begin to appear as developers grow more senior. In the open source languages in particular, PHP salaries tended to trail the most, with a gap of only £5k at the higher end of the mid-level salaries increasing to an average gap of £10-£20k once they reached Lead.

Mid- and senior-level Ruby developers also face a slight dip in comparative salary, however they are able to command higher salaries as Leads, with many Ruby developers earning the same as Java and Python developers at the higher end of the range.

Find out which languages are most popular amongst developers and adapt accordingly.

Developers and engineers constantly update their skills to stay relevant. That’s why an employer looking to attract professionals in the tech sector must be open to exploring new tooling and adapting their tech stack to account for new languages and technological innovations.

Amongst professional developers, Python proved to be the most popular language overall, showing the least divisive perceptions; of the 41.7% of developers that used Python, 73.1% professed enjoying the language and actively wanted to continue using it, whilst 25.7% of those who hadn’t used Python before declared an interest in learning it. No respondents claimed to dread using Python – a stark contrast to the highly divisive Java and PHP.

Of the 41.1% that used Java, 53.4% expressed an interest in continuing to use it, while 46.6% admitted never wanting to use it again. Similarly, of the 26.4% that used PHP, only 45.8% of users expressed an interest in continuing to use the language, while 54.2% stated that they would prefer not to use it again.



These opinions align neatly with the general trends across the tech sector, which have seen a stark rise in the popularity of JavaScript and Python in the past few years, at the expense of PHP and Java. With the creation of Node.js and the subsequent proliferation of JavaScript-based frameworks, PHP lost a large chunk of its traditional use; at the same time, the rise of machine learning and artificial intelligence has massively boosted the business applications of Python. Tech professionals want to work with technologies that are pushing the envelope; right now, in the open-source space, that’s Python.

That being said, perceptions may soon be changing. As one of the oldest programming languages, PHP is often considered unappealing and dated. However, the introduction of the new framework Swoole, which extends the PHP language and enables it to perform more efficiently whilst enhancing the tools available to developers, could result in a rebound in interest for the language.

More on that here.

Key Takeaways

To stay within budget, cross-train PHP Developers into other languages.

If you need a Python or Ruby developer but don’t have the budget for one, another option is to find PHP developers interested in learning the new language and cross-train them. Many PHP developers are open to diversifying into different languages that offer new career paths. This is often compounded by the fact that PHP developers tend to earn less on average as they advance in seniority.

Doing this can help you to save money on your initial hire while also offering them a solid career development path that will help keep them invested in the role.

Stay abreast of new developments in technology & adapt as necessary.

With the speed at which tech changes, you can’t afford to assume the knowledge you have about the state of the technology talent pool and market will continue to be relevant. The introduction of new technology can result in certain languages becoming more or less popular – and as an employer, this is information you need to have, as it will affect the way you hire.

Keep your organisation competitive with the latest tech – without sacrificing productivity.

Where possible, update your tech stack and keep it in line with market needs. With the rise of engineering practices like microservices and even microfrontends, it’s more possible than ever to create software that mixes languages. What this means is you would be able to offset the perception of only using legacy tech by introducing exciting new projects without needing to completely overhaul your tech stacks.

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