Our new lead consultant, Craig Armstrong, shares his views on the back-end engineering market and how Futureheads can help you…

At Futureheads, we’ve witnessed first hand the growing demand for technical talent across our industry and we want to make sure we’re in the best possible position to support our candidates and clients alike.

This month we’re delighted to welcome Craig Armstrong to the Futureheads team who brings with him over 10 years’ tech recruitment experience, having worked with a host of large and small organisations to source them the specialist back-end engineering talent they need. He’ll be joining Futureheads to share his expert server-side engineering knowledge helping to support our clients and candidates alike.

We can’t wait to see the impact Craig will make on the business, working as a conduit for candidates to have access to a wider client base, and clients will be able to access Craig’s specialist industry knowledge and experience. As an introduction, we asked him a few questions about his career journey so far, what his new role will mean for the business as well as what he’s seeing in the industry right now.

What is the story of your career so far?

I’m joining Futureheads with over 10 years’ tech recruitment experience, working with a host of large and small organisations with a particular focus on financial services and fintech.

My original markets were within more business focused tech, covering the likes of Application Support, Business Analysis and Project Managers. In more recent years, with the ever-closing gap between tech and business, I made the strategic step to build out a new niche within the back-end engineering sphere. As a result, I’ve dedicated a lot of time over the last few years to building out my knowledge and network within server-side engineering covering the likes of Java (JVM – Kotlin & Scala), .NET & Python.

What will your role at Futureheads be?

My aim is that I can share my knowledge within this space, from working with classic large-scale enterprises right down to your smaller aspirational start-ups, to support Futureheads’ client base and candidates looking to take their next step.

I hear from many candidates that they want to develop a range of experience, not just in terms of the tech they use, but also in the size and profile of the companies they work with. My hope is that I can be the channel through which candidates can have access to a more diverse client base, leveraging both the brand and client base of Futureheads along with my own contacts and industry experience.

How has the back-end engineering market evolved over the last few years?

Undoubtedly there is a far wider array of tech out there now more than ever before, but the demand for the likes Java and .NET is still ever present. In the context of Java, clients will remain attracted to using it due largely to its versatility whether this be for usage on gaming consoles, trading systems or even for scientific computer systems.

At 26 years of age and counting, we still see a huge market demand for Java but this now includes the likes of JVM languages – Scala (predominantly for OOP, functional programming and for big data solutions) and Kotlin which is ideal for web and server-side development. Regarding .NET, there may well have been a dip in new adoption, but the market is still strong and there’s still a huge marketplace for .NET Core given the added flexibility that comes with the updated open source system.

What trends are you seeing in the tech recruitment space right now?

Investment in the UK tech scene has not only shown tremendous resilience but also solid signs of growth. Investors are hungry to find and fund the next unicorn and ideas are being launched nearly every day. To do this though, companies must scale in a considered manner, not only identifying the very best minds, but also bringing on board and creating the right cultural blend and hunger to build something significant.

The market, whether a start-up or a well-established enterprise, is now hungrier than ever for the very best software engineers out there – the battle for talent is fierce and it’s a highly candidate driven market. 2020 however presented us all with unique challenges and this was the same for both clients and candidates, but what we are now seeing is a new open mindedness to flexible working on both sides.

How has the pandemic impacted the client and candidate landscape and what’s your advice for candidates contemplating a new role?

We’ve been forced via a pandemic to embrace tech on every level and have demonstrated our capability to build highly effective and successful teams, even if they are dispersed across Bristol, London, Leeds or even Inverness. What this then means is that there’s never been a better time to find a company and role that could suit you.

The pandemic has shone a light firmly on employers, highlighting both the good and the bad. Yet those who would typically have moved on and found a new challenge, have often opted to ride out the storm; perhaps due to the old notion of last in first out.

Thankfully as we hit stage one on the roadmap out of lockdown, we have signs that “normal” life might not be too far away. As such we’re seeing an ever-growing confidence from candidates to fine tune their profiles in the hope of moving on to a new challenge. What I would say is that if you’re contemplating a move for Summer 2021 and beyond, now is the time to start the search and to reach out to Futureheads.

There’s an abundance of brilliant roles with first class employers all keen to hire immediately. The key benefit of doing it now? You can interview from the comfort of your own home!


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