Level Up Your Software Development Career with These 4 In-Demand Skills

A laptop with unreadable lines of code sites in front of blue and purple lighting. Photo by Mohammad Rahmani on Unsplash.

Juan Santana

March 10, 2023

Whether you’re aspiring to break into the tech industry or a seasoned pro, you may be feeling some sort of uncertainty in your career.

It’s very likely that you or someone you know has been affected by a layoff this year. In the past, job market volatility could be narrowed to one market or industry — this time around, just about everyone is feeling the pressure.

Is the current hiring market in a volatile state? Well, yes and no. Despite there being over 100,000 tech layoffs since the start of the new year, the unemployment rate in the United States remains at record lows. Recent labor reports even show sustained job growth for 25 consecutive months.

Despite positive labor reports, our news feeds are painting a drastically different picture. In these times, It’s important to not let ourselves become desensitized to the scale at which folks have been displaced through layoffs.

The software community is resilient. We learn together, share our creations with one another, and we support each other through uncertainty. There is optimism on the horizon for those willing to brave the storm and ramp up on these emerging, in-demand skills within software development:

  • DevOps

  • Platform Engineering

  • Data Engineering

  • Automation

Developers holding highly sought-after skills can bounce back quicker from a layoff — or save themselves from a layoff completely.


8th Light software crafter Seth Thomas sheds light on the impact DevOps has for both software developers and organizations in his recent insight: What to Know When Becoming a DevOps Engineer. As Seth describes, “DevOps engineers manage the workflows and delivery cycles for software teams all across the organization and all of its digital products.” Faster delivery cycles, embedded cross-team collaboration, more stable products, innovation — these benefits are just scratching the surface on the value of DevOps.

Platform Engineering

Platform engineering and DevOps are like peanut butter and jelly — they are always better together. As described in a recent Garter Report, “Platform engineers help end users navigate complex and siloed systems by building curated self-service layers that improve user experience, delivery speed, process agility, and business value.” In short, platform engineers essentially built the toolkit for DevOps to execute on a more efficient workflow and delivery cycle.

Our experts here at 8th Light work with various client partners to address platform-related challenges of today, while assessing and evolving those platforms for the needs and innovations of the future. In Distributing Terraform Resources, feed your curiosities with a deep dive into how 8th Light approached building a platform team for a client partner wanting a more “secure, consistent, and extensible cloud infrastructure environment for their multiple product teams.”

Data Engineering

Global data volume is growing at an exponential rate — almost inconceivable to the human mind. According to Statista, global data volume is expected to increase to a staggering 180 zettabytes. In case you were wondering, one zettabyte is equal to approximately a billion terabytes, and a single terabyte is about a thousand gigabytes!

In a recent episode of Collaborative Craft Podcast, Relentless Optimism: The Future of Data Engineering with Brad Ediger, 8th Light’s head of technology shares his thoughts on why the software industry is ready for a “paradigm shift for how we think and work with data.”

Managing and protecting data is paramount for organizations. With local regulators cracking down on data (and for good reason), there's even more to take into account when developing products and solutions. 8th Light senior crafter Kaitlyn Concillo provides a series of insights into the many regulatory requirements for protecting user data around the globe:


A past mentor once told me, “delegation is the key.” In software, the same can be true when developing. Integrating automation within development life cycles can truly be the key when it comes to unlocking the potential for your team. Automation allows for a replacement of manual, menial tasks for developers. Tasks that deplete intellectual stimulation and creativity.

Not only will automation cultivate a more productive and efficient team, but it also can be cost-saving without sacrificing the quality and stability of a product.

A common practice in automating the SDLC is the process of Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Delivery/Deployment (CD) — commonly referred to as CI/CD. As folks at GitLab describe, “CI/CD automates much or all of the manual human intervention traditionally needed to get new code from a commit into production, encompassing the build, test (including integration tests, unit tests, and regression tests), and deploy phases, as well as infrastructure provisioning.”

Ramp Up With These Resources

At 8th Light, our crafters are committed to the belief that learning is a lifelong process, especially within software. Through our commitment to our core value of education, we are thrilled to provide thought leaders and creators with tools to evolve their craft.

  • 8th Light University: Our speaker series curated and facilitated by 8th Light’s global team of software, design, and technology professionals.

  • 8th Light Insights: Sparking creativity and inspiration, our wide range of insights span design, data, security and more.

  • Collaborative Craft Podcast: Navigating the ins and outs of software design and development, with a focus on the practical applications that teams work on every day. You can listen to Collaborative Craft via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.

  • Talent Community Newsletter: Subscribe for advice on professional development, monthly career opportunities, and insights on industry changes and disruptions

Juan Santana

Talent & Community Specialist

As 8th Light’s Talent & Community Specialist, Juan leverages his extensive background to drive hiring excellence and cultivate a supportive, dynamic company culture. With a career that began in the legal industry, Juan gained invaluable insights into the criminal, civil, and nonprofit sectors, honing his advocacy skills through dedication to supporting and uplifting others.