- The CEO of Stack Overflow tells Insider that its clients are struggling to retain cloud engineers.
- The talent squeeze is also pushing AWS and Google Cloud to reconsider their developer strategies.
- While Google Cloud focuses on profitability, the CEO says AWS hopes to win big on developer loyalty.
Clients of Stack Overflow, the popular Q&A hub for developers, are having a tough time attracting and retaining qualified engineers, CEO Prashanth Chandrasekar told Insider. The talent crunch remains a thorn in the side of various companies the platform works with such as Bloomberg and Instacart, but Chandrasekar said it’s impact on the cloud titans in particular is coming to a head, forcing them to shift their strategies for competing with each other.
“For these cloud companies, from what we’ve seen is that it’s a battle balancing between the user versus the company. The onboarding of talent can be a critical point because sure, you can hire all these people and you can scale your business. But you also need developers that are really productive that can immediately start innovating and contributing code rapidly,” Chandrasekar said.
Even though the downturn has given companies a little more leverage over workers compared to last year, retaining and attracting talent remains a pivotal problem for the competing cloud titans. While cloud titans AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud dominate with over 60% percent of the market share, their growth continues to be hindered by the lack of cloud experts.
Stack Overflow receives over 100 million visits per month and claims to be seen by 80% of developers every week. Additionally, the company surveys over 80,000 developers every year about the technologies they love, hate, and use. By running the survey for over 10 years, Stack Overflow has chronicled how developers’ preferences for different cloud platforms have evolved over time, charting how AWS went from a developer-loved vendor companies often used exclusively, to one now battling competition from startups and big tech rivals alike.
Chandrasekar tells Insider his insights on how the cloud talent shortage has affected how these titans compete with one another.
Insider previously reported that while analyst firm UBS said the talent shortage provided a modest risk last year, now cloud engineers are so in-demand they can just “name their price.” In addition, the rising popularity of multi-cloud — or companies using more than one cloud provider for their IT infrastructure — might hurt AWS’ fervent developer loyalty, as a growing number of AWS developers expressed interest in learning Google Cloud technologies over other providers.
According to 2022 annual Stack Overflow survey, over 8,500 AWS developers want to work with Google Cloud, while only 7,600 Google Cloud developers want to work with AWS. This suggests that AWS’ developer stronghold is loosening, especially as the firm also faces competition from database startups like Snowflake and Databricks that are picking up unsatisfied customers.
This shift, according to Chandrasekar, has pushed AWS to shift its cloud strategy — going back to its roots, which is courting developers.
“The past few years, AWS, to scale its business, bet hard on enterprise and building customers,” Chandrasekar tells Insider. “But now we see it harkening back to appealing to developers, going back to fundamentals, especially as a large influx of AWS developers are starting to develop on Google Cloud.”
This shift at AWS comes just as Google Cloud moves to an enterprise-heavy strategy. While Google Cloud was previously focused on simplifying its platform for wider adoption and lowering its competitive price point to appeal to developers, it’s now aiming to win over more big clients.
The idea is that more enterprise clients and better business metrics will further Google Cloud’s position in the market and boost the firm to profitability.
“Competition comes with choice,” Chandrasekar tells Insider. “Now that developers aren’t locked into one vendor, they can find the tool that works best for them. Cloud companies, in order to survive, need to find the balance between a strong developer community, and a strong enterprise business.”
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