How Cloud Automation can Save a Nation of Burnt-Out Software Developers

EM360 TECH

Published on
21/06/2022 10:04 AM

Article Contributed by Mairead O’Connor, Exec for Cloud Engineering at AND Digital 

The phrase ‘every company is a tech company’ is often thrown around but given the spike in digital transformations over the pandemic, every company now needs to be one. More and more companies are focusing on maximising their digital output and using cloud computing to stay ahead of the curve and get better connected with their customers. However, this digital acceleration comes at a cost for the thousands of software developers who code these processes each day - developers who are now walking out due to feelings of burnout and excessive workloads. In fact, in a recent survey from Salesforce’s Mulesoft, 93% of companies surveyed found that the ‘Great Resignation’ has made it more difficult for their IT teams to retain skilled developers.

As companies scale up their cloud resources, there has never been more pressure on developers to consistently perform, often working much longer hours than before. This pressure is taking a toll on developers’ mental and physical health: with a 2021 study finding 83% of software developers were experiencing symptoms of burnout.  

Introducing cloud automation can enable individuals to banish monotony and work on truly innovative projects, enhance team wellbeing and help give back time that could be used to upskill and grow professionally. As a result, employers will see a positive impact on the digital transformation projects they take on, how innovative they can be and therefore a boost to the bottom line. Afterall happy and upskilled employees are a recipe for success.

Banishing monotony to embrace creativity 

When cloud computing was first introduced, a large draw was its ability to offer ‘on demand’ services to developers. However, in a manual cloud environment, provisioning virtual resources in the cloud is a largely repetitive and time-consuming task. Though they are easily automatable, these kinds of monotonous and repetitive tasks can slow down development and stifle innovation in software developers.  

Though essential for gaining inspiration for new and innovative developments, time to think creatively is lacking due to an increased load of admin work. Developers are now becoming stuck dealing with sterile, unstimulating tasks - such as performing manual back-ups to the cloud, even when the process is simple to automate. However, if they begin automating this admin - employers will allow their developers the time to take on more creative work that will boost their morale and help implement meaningful innovation. 

Keeping wellbeing and enthusiasm high

With 47% of developers citing high workload as their leading cause of burnout at work, employers need to be taking into account the strain that increased demand for developer work is causing. As workloads go up and developers get more fatigued, they begin to lose the enthusiasm they once had for the role. To save the morale of their developers, employers must embrace automation as a way to keep productivity and enthusiasm levels high.  

Tasks that require constant surveillance can lead developers to work overtime in fear that leaving a process alone will cause it to falter. However, automation is a tool that is easily applicable and highly effective in tasks such as these. An example of application is automated capacity increases and decreases for a website depending on the amount of traffic it is getting. Instead of worrying that they will miss a peak in traffic and cause the website to go down, developers can use their mental energy to focus on tasks that will increase the growth of the business.  

To keep producing quality content, developers need to stay on top of their work. In the time saved by automating processes, developers can assess their own progress, organise their resources and communicate their workload with colleagues. Having this weight off their shoulders will give them the time to fall back in love with their work and find the enthusiasm they may have lost.

Time back to train 

The time that automation gives back to developers provides a great opportunity for managers to implement more training and upskilling into their work calendars. Soft skills such as time-management and communication are now in demand more than ever, and with their deep-tech backgrounds, many software developers may not have had the chance to build these skills. In fact, an IBM report found that although problem solving was considered the most critical soft skill for tech roles (37%), over a quarter of tech recruiters (23%) have difficulty finding applicants with this aptitude.  

As automation brings specialist developers closer to the business side of the operation, these soft skills will be especially necessary. Interpersonal communication, critical thinking, and the ability to give constructive feedback will be vital for the new dynamic that software developers will begin to experience over the coming years. 

Utilising cloud automation is now essential to attracting and maintaining software developer talent. With more job vacancies than ever, employees are now actively choosing roles that will reduce their heavy workloads and give them the time and opportunities for professional growth. If businesses want to increase and future proof their development team, the application of automated processes into their cloud computing will be key.