Software development, how is the job market nowadays?

Hi everybody,

I am sharing this story because there seem to be a lot of software engineers on this forum.

Long story made short, 39 yo male, I have been working in the software industry for almost 20 years as a developer (mostly in the Java world). I am losing my job because my employer has been acquired by a larger group that requires everyone to work from the main headquarters in Basel (3 hours from where I live). Despite a positive experience during the Covid crisis, employees are only allowed a single day a week of home office, and as ridiculous as it may sound, there will be no exception.

So, I have been checking jobup and jobscout24 for open positions. It’s pretty clear that my area (“la Riviera” between Sion VS and Lausanne VD) isn’t the best when it comes to finding IT jobs but, from my past experience, there has always been a couple of local opportunities.

I am a bit disappointed to realize that I have a hard time finding a good match for my skills, most job offers I come across require years of experience with specific frameworks, software stacks, cloud platforms, sometimes accompanied with extra requirement, such as knowledge of niche software and experience in industries outside the IT world.
Nobody seems to consider that, as an engineer, you can adapt and train yourself on the job. I have done so hundreds of time in my career… I have switched between frameworks and languages almost on a per-project basis without any paid training, I have yet to met a single software engineer that hasn’t done the same over the past 10 (3?) years. So why is everyone writing crazy job requirements that so few people could reasonably meet? We keep hearing that CH lacks IT engineers, don’t we?

I still remember mid 2000s when companies were just looking for standard developers, not unicorns with 5 years of experience in technologies that are barely older than that? Has the market changed that much?


Welcome to this f******* world where you need 15 years of experience, a bachelor and a master before the age of 25 :slight_smile:

To be honest, you don’t truly need all of what is writing in the job description. They are looking for the unicorn being paid less than an intern. Just put your experience and your flexibility and you should find something. At least I hope for you.

What about moving in another Canton if you have this opportunity? I did so for my career and it was my best resolution for now.


They are hoping for someone with the skills in the job description. Reality is with the lack of skilled workers companies are settling for much less nowadays and try to train the candidate with the most potential on the job.

I just recently switched jobs and my experience is that all big companies/corporations are pulling the skilled workers with great benefits and pay, which I myself followed.

As a software engineer there are plenty fully remote jobs throughout switzerland. There are also companies that are not publicly stating fully remote work in their job postings but rather like “open to hybrid work” and you can then choose by yourself how many, if any, days you want to be in the office.


The market is quite hot for Java developers. There are a lot of opportunities, even on jobup

Check or Search Jobs | Tech Jobs in The USA | Darwin Recruitment

I would advise you to apply in all cases, even if you don’t match completely the job offer… It’s really hard for companies to find developers.


I think this is overall not a great time, big tech has been laying off waves of engineers in the past 6-12 months, so the market is now leaning a bit more towards companies who have an unusually large pool of talents to choose from

To be fair, I think you can still optimise your profile to make yourself more appealing to companies, if you’re not doing that already

  1. You have expertise in different technologies, but companies oftentimes don’t really care: they need a person who can work with technology X, and that is what they look for. If you’re also versatile with a couple other technologies they use, then that’s even better. My advice here is to tailor each application to the job description, by highlighting the relevant technologies

  2. In general, try to highlight technologies that are still marketable. A lot of experience with Java is very easy to sell, a lot of experience with Perl is not. These 2 should not have the same weight in your resume

  3. Use tools like and ChatGPT to help you identify improvement points in your resume / LinkedIn profile and fix them.

  4. Practice interviewing, it’s a game of its own. It’s very likely to lose a job to someone else who might be half as competent as you, but it’s better at selling himself. Interviewing for tech jobs is a game, make sure you’re good at it

  5. Show enthusiasm and brush up on soft skills: I interviewed a good number of very senior profiles for SWE positions, and it happened more than once that I gave a big thumbs up from a technical standpoint, just for the candidate to be rejected by HR for soft-skills related reasons. Companies nowadays really value that a lot: they will pick an OK engineer who is pleasant to work with over an insanely skilled engineer who isn’t a good “culture fit”

  6. Don’t get discouraged. If you partook in recruitment for any company you worked on, you’ll sure have realised that candidates get rejected for the most idiotic reasons. A rejection doesn’t mean anything, so don’t take it personally

  7. People who write job descriptions sometimes just push an aggregate of all technologies used in the company because they have no idea. If a job description lists 10 technologies and you’re good at 3, apply


Thanks all for your answers.
Considering that many job posts have been there for months, I guess there aren’t many unicorns waiting at the gate. I should probably follow your advice, apply and see …

I had a nice talk with some former colleague, he said his current company hired him despite lacking a good half of the technologies listed in the job description. In his case, it’s even worse; the technologies in question have actually never been used in his daily job.

Practice interviewing, it’s a game of its own. It’s very likely to lose a job to someone else who might be half as competent as you, but it’s better at selling himself. Interviewing for tech jobs is a game, make sure you’re good at it

I know this is not my best talent. I tend to be very humble when selling my skills. Last time it went quite well because the interview was conducted by the CTO. I had him talk about the ongoing projects and turned the whole thing into a pleasant geeky exchange.

I am always worried that gasbags selling themselves as world-class experts would be more successful than me. :grinning:

I feel the same. They asked now 6 skills and you can’t know them all.
Dev is more and more fragmented so you have to adapt and keep learning.
However I do not think they can have the perfect match and you should highlight that you are already well settle on the opposite of asking someone with the perfect skills to relocate from France or even Canada.

The worst you can get while applying is a non-response of your CV or a no during a job interview but at least you will prep for the perfect match when it will show up.

You can also consider jobs in Geneva. There is few famous name wanting Java developpers (Picket, Lombard Odier, Richemont …). You should look at their career pages.
However in most job, the working from home rate are back to pre-covid to 1-2 days a week or even none.
I know someone that do the commutte by train 3-4 days a week.

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From my experience that’s not really a problem, because of this:

The people actually interviewing you will likely know this, it’s just seemingly hard to get the HR/recruiting department to understand this from my experience. I just hope potential candidates apply anyway.

If you have a specific company that you would really like to work for, maybe do a mini-project in the framework they mention on the listing before applying and then mention it in the cover letter or something like that. Otherwise, if you’re just looking for a job without anything particular in mind just apply to some positions and I would assume you should get a couple of interviews.

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Another tested advice: post on LinkedIn (doesn’t matter what) once or twice a week, and always reply immediately to messages, this way the algorithm will mark you as active and you appear at the very top of search lists from HR/Recruiters. Make yourself open to work (but check privacy settings first).

You can start by giving and asking recommendations, then move into link resharing or own content. Takes 15 minutes a day tops.



Yes, I should probably put some effort in maintaining a decent linkedin profile. I’ll think about it…
I hope I won’t need to play that game since I am really not a fan of social networks in general. I deactivated most notifications from my contacts because I couldn’t care less about their posts. I am not interested in how much fun they had at their company end-of-year dinner party or which wonderful conference they attended.

I actually removed the “opentowork” tag from my profile because I got tired of ridiculous proposals. Last one was a german-based company asking me to do some PHP development. They were not interested in hiring people, their employees had to be some kind of freelancers. No job security and moldavian hourly rate.

Again, I’ll think about it… Thanks for the tip

Don’t worry about it, I think it is a copy/paste syndrom + maybe lack of knowledge of people preparing the offer. Or it’s just the strategy - to list everything used for the position and hope for the best. On the other hand, with the recent layoffs maybe companies will be a bit luckier with finding people checking more marks, but I would not exaggerate it (I hope :D).

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I have sent 3 applications and have yet to get a reply 3 weeks after.

Two companies are pension funds, last one is bank. I had to use their platform to submit my documents so I should at least get an email if they decline my application. Can’t help but wonder if the long wait is due to slow internal processes or simply the fact that they are not excited…

I’m not working in the same field but phone contact to inquire about how the process is going, show interest in the position and build a more tangible connexion than files transmitted by their automatic process is usually viewed positively in my experience (provided the person you reach is part of the hiring process, it probably doesn’t matter at all otherwise so there’s at the very least no harm done to your prospects, no matter what).

I’d phone and ask.


I applied to the career page of a private bank last year and received a no 2 months later With no reason.
Some have very slow process I guess …


Don’t let these things get to you, in my experience (both hiring and being hired) in Switzerland it takes sometimes up to six months to close a position. That means HR will get back to you quite late for a call, many reasons: another candidate dropped out, budget freeze, change in assignment, etc. etc.

With financial institutions things go even longer, startups and service companies are more responsive.

Seconding also what @Wolverine wrote.

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I think the main problem here is scarcity and therefore outrageously high wages.
Imagine you are a recruiter in tech. You struggle to find the right candidate, only for them to ask a salary somewhat beyond what you could reasonably afford. Since you are going to spend that money anyhow, might as well try to add as many “skills” as you might think of, to make your hire more of a bargain (or just less catastrophic).
This is a common pitfall, and as a candidate I really think you should disregard the “tech” requirements, maybe not altogether but at least significantly.

I am recruiting software developers, and the only parts that actually matter to me are their values, their mindset, and their ability to adapt to a given context without compromising themselves.

I would say that you should apply where you actually want to work, and see what happens. Don’t neglect LinkedIn, but I personally love meeting potential candidates through meetups or other tech gatherings.


I have been focusing on jobs matching a good 80% of my skillset, but following advice given on this topic, I’ll certainly broaden my criteria.

Also happy to read that developers are still a scarce resource, because most job offers are written in a way suggesting that there are plenty of candidates to choose from. Was thinking to myself that I’d be really distressed if I was a recent graduate trying to find his first job…


If you also need a source on how to negotiate in job interviews I strongly suggest everyone to read the book “Getting to Yes - Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In” by Roger Fisher, William L. Ury and Bruce Patton. I think in german it’s called “The Harvard Concept”.

The CAS “Global Negotiator” from the University of St. Gallen is also based on this book as a reference.


not every company wants you to be in the office :wink:
I’ll send you a DM.

I find Swiss companies to be much more conservative and demand seat warmers for most of the week. A number of companies also add “no mondays or fridays remote” to their “hybrid” conditions…

There are many more international companies that are fully remote but it’s a B2B relationship and their budgets are usually not realistic for the Swiss reality.