Enterprise software development focuses on creating software applications designed to support the needs of large organizations and businesses. Unlike traditional software development, which often involves creating standalone applications for specific purposes, enterprise software development encompasses a broader range of functionalities and complexities, catering to an enterprise's intricate operations and processes.
It is often complex and mission-critical, meaning that any problems with the software can have a significant impact on the organization's operations. This is why it is crucial to choose enterprise software developers with the right skills, experience, and expertise. Let’s look at some of the key competencies of enterprise software developers.
Key skills and competencies of enterprise software developers
Developers working in enterprise environments should be proficient in SDLC, have a knowledge of architecture, understand the principles of integration, prioritize reliability over speed, and be well-versed in the CI/CD best practices.
Solid understanding of SDLC and related processes:
- SDLC: Enterprise developers must have a deep understanding of the software development life cycle (SDLC), including a strong focus on documenting and preserving. They must also have experience with software design, development, testing, deployment, and maintenance.
- Experience with agile methodologies and waterfall: Enterprise projects often follow specific development methodologies, such as Agile (including variants like Kanban, Scrum, and Extreme Programming) or the more traditional waterfall approach. Developers need to adapt their practices to these methodologies effectively.
- Estimation techniques: Enterprise software developers should be experienced in time-based and story points estimation techniques to accurately estimate the time, complexity, uncertainty, skill of the developers, and effort required to develop and maintain software applications.
- Requirements management: The ability to gather, document, and manage requirements effectively is critical for enterprise software developers. This includes working with stakeholders to understand their needs, developing and documenting requirements, and managing changes to requirements.
Understanding the principles of architecture
The majority of user challenges that should be solved have standard solutions (tech stacks, approaches, patterns) that were designed a long time ago and proved to be effective, well-documented, and recognized within the community. The key point of using standard approaches is to reduce the number of potential errors, architectural bugs, and reworks. Therefore, well-versed enterprise developers should be familiar with those approaches to design and develop complex, scalable, and reliable systems that meet the specific needs of your business.
Understanding of integration and reuse concepts
Understanding how to integrate with existing systems and reuse existing components is another essential skill for enterprise software developers. Software reuse and sustainability can result in countless benefits for your business process, such as reducing development time and effort and increasing software quality and reliability. Reusing tested and verified components, libraries, frameworks, or patterns can prevent duplication, inconsistency, and errors as you use existing building blocks, thus shortening development time and costs. The following standardizing, applying conventions, and documentation can simplify the process of understanding and modifying software, further reducing the costs. Moreover, McKinsey predicts that enhanced software reuse will lead to decreased complexity in software and hardware. This, in turn, will result in cost savings and reduced efforts in development, integration, and validation, thanks to fewer required software variants and more straightforward feature integration.
Experience working with complex, highly regulated software systems
When it comes to enterprise software development, reliability is even more important than speed. Such software it is typically used to support critical business processes subject to formalized business domain requirements. Enterprise software developers should ensure the reliability and regulatory compliance of their software through:
- Rigorous development: This process includes precise requirements gathering, well-defined architecture and design phases, and adherence to coding standards. A formalized process helps prevent errors, reduces rework, and ensures the software aligns with business needs and regulatory requirements.
- Extensive testing: Thorough testing is essential for reliability. It is a best practice for developers to cover their code with functional/unit/integration testing. Automated testing frameworks can help ensure that all critical functionalities are tested thoroughly.
- Implementation of security measures: Enterprise software requires using best security practices, such as following secure coding guidelines, ensuring data encryption, and implementing access controls.
- SLAs, SLOs, and SLIs adherence: Most enterprise software has strict service layer agreements that define the level of availability of the system, its performance, usage experience, and more. Experienced engineering teams need to be aware of non-functional requirements, such as portability, compatibility, usability, etc, that stem from these agreements.
In highly regulated industries, technology can help businesses gain an edge and avoid costly lawsuits and fines. Let’s take a closer look at the legal and regulatory requirements enterprise developers should be aware of, such as:
- General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR): The GDPR is a European Union (EU) regulation that regulates the processing of personal data of individuals located in the EU. The GDPR applies to all organizations that process the personal data of EU residents, irrespective of where the organization is located. Since enterprise software might collect, process, or store the personal data of EU residents, developers must comply with the GDPR; otherwise, their enterprises may face fines of up to 4% of the total global revenue of the preceding year.
- Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA): HIPAA is a US law that protects the privacy of sensitive patient health information. The HIPAA regulations apply to every healthcare provider, health plan, and clearinghouse that transmits or stores electronic protected health information (ePHI). If this act regulates your business somehow, your developers should have experience working with it or undergo training to understand the nuances of this regulation.
- Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS): PCI DSS, the security standards that protect credit card and debit card information, applies to any organization accepting, processing, storing, or transmitting credit and debit card information. Failure to comply can lead to many consequences, such as monthly penalties, data breaches, legal action, damaged reputation, and even revenue loss. If your organization falls under this regulation (offering financial services or having a financial component), previous experience or training would be beneficial.
Along with legal and regulatory requirements, enterprise software developers must be aware of the enterprise's complexity. They need to have the experience of working with complex business processes that involve multiple stakeholders, numerous approvals, and levels of acceptance before the product reaches the final user.
Hands-on experience working with CI/CD pipelines
Auditability, traceability, and accountability help organizations maintain data integrity, ensure compliance with regulations, investigate security incidents, and establish trust among stakeholders by providing a transparent record of data-related activities. This is where a CI/CD approach comes into play. Enterprise software engineers need to be well-versed in CI/CD best practices.
CI/CD established accountability by logging when and who made changes to the system (code, infrastructure, releases, etc.). This is done by using a version control system. CI/CD methodology is used to continuously deliver new software, fixes, and releases to the end-user on time.
Other competencies to look for based on the project at hand
Other important considerations when hiring enterprise software developers include domain-specific expertise, a specific tech stack, and experience with cloud environments. However, all these aspects depend on your project and its details.
- Domain-specific expertise
While enterprise developers don’t have to be experts in their industry, the more domain knowledge they have, the more value they can add to the project. These specialists need industry knowledge to understand the needs of the business and its users, make informed decisions about software design and implementation, communicate effectively with stakeholders, and build trust. Let's say a software engineer understands the nuances of the financial sector. This will allow them to develop solutions tailored to the customer's needs instead of taking a one-size-fits-all approach that may not meet customer expectations. This type of insight requires technical expertise and direct customer contact experience.
- Tech stack required
The next thing you should look at is the developer’s technical skills in enterprise software development. Ask them to list the tools, languages, frameworks, methodologies, and standards that they are proficient in and that are relevant to the enterprise software project or role.
- Experience with enterprise-grade environments
Many enterprises operate in hybrid environments, using a mix of on-premises and cloud-based systems. Developers must be able to create software that seamlessly integrates across these hybrid architectures. In this case, cloud experience is essential.
Enterprise software development projects are large and complex, integrating existing systems, data management at scale, security measures, and adherence to industry standards and compliance regulations. Due to the complexity and high-stakes nature of enterprise software, selecting developers with the right skills and expertise is essential. An enterprise software developer should possess a solid grasp of SDLC and related processes, expertise in software architecture, a deep understanding of integration and reuse principles, substantial experience with complex, highly regulated software, and practical familiarity with CI/CD pipelines. Partnering with a software development company streamlines the hiring process, reduces risk, and provides access to a diverse pool of talented developers. This strategic collaboration can be instrumental in finding and hiring the right enterprise software developers for your project.
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