Do we really have a lack of developers in Malta?

Recently, I was talking to a friend of mine who works in the same industry; software development. We were talking about the fact that the more time passes, the more difficult it’s becoming to find some good developers on board to get some work done. The argument was that the company he’s working for had to decline some work due to the fact that they simply do not have enough developers in order to get around and deliver this work within a reasonable time frame.

During the same argument, I’ve also mentioned the fact that we, as developers, are always getting messages on platforms such as LinkedIn in order to attempt to poach us. I understand that these people need to recruit people in order to get their monthly wage; I’m not saying that they should not be doing their job. What I’m saying is that it seems that the amount of demand for developers is higher than the actual amount of developers that are ready to work here in Malta. What’s going on?

At my workplace, I’ve noticed that the typical recruitment that occurs during the summer (recruiting new graduates) did not as well as usual. There were some new faces, but then I discovered that they were actually students / interns, not full timers! It seems that even us, we’re finding it very difficult to get more developers on board with us. We can also talk about the high turnover that’s obviously present, but that’s an argument for another day.

We must then ask another question then: what happened to the new graduates? I have no idea on the amount of graduates per year in Malta, but I’m pretty sure it’s not THAT bad. So, are they being poached by bigger companies (iGaming) with huge salaries? Are they working on their own projects? Or maybe, the new graduates are sub-par to the industry standards and end up un-recruited?

3 thoughts on “Do we really have a lack of developers in Malta?

  1. The salary argument (in that, salaries are not exceptional UNLESS it is iGaming – and even there I have reservations) is one I will not delve into for starts.

    Back to when I graduated, there were “streams”. There was the CS stream, the IS stream and the engineering stream. I believe this still holds up to a certain degree. CS = development, IS = management, engineering = networking.

    It would be interesting to see the ratio of selected streams today.

    The trend today, is for “local” students to increasingly continue their studies at masters level. My feeling is that those who do pursue masters level studies, opt to go the MBA route or similar. Not to say that such students cannot, and do not end up in the development fields; but they rarely do. What can you do with a CS background, yet your “highest” education level is in management?

    Course structure matters too. I cannot comment on today’s structure and content; I just do not know. But what I know about CS back in my time, we had exposure to algorithms, generic programming concepts, and frankly, little to make one employment-ready in the development sector.

    As someone on the FB thread said: “You don’t hire based on what they studied. You hire based on can they be taught and then you nurture and train them”. And this just doesn’t happen in Maltese organizations, unless it happens to be, here it is….iGaming, or organizations that have, as ugly as it sounds, the foreigners’ teach-n-nurture approach.

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  2. Am a software dev based in Malta, there is no way I will do work in Malta.

    The salaries here are in the region of 15% of what I earn as remote dev, why would I work here?

    And the challenges here are pedestrian at best, I work in a field of automation where I get to work with 100s of thousands of nodes, what is there here for me? Plus the country is dominated by Windows based tech and lacks an appreciation for approaches like DevOps etc.

    The last point is not universally true of course – many in the iGaming industry DO have Linux and DevOps and AWS and all that, but they will pay a fraction of what you can earn doing even basic stuff remotely.

    What’s left in the country is not going to be the top talent alas.

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