Edit - Nov 2021: The Shortage Occupation List for Skilled Worker (née Tier 2 (General)) Visa now include all roles under the occupation codes:
- 2136 - Programmers and software development professionals, and
- 2137 - Web design and development professionals.
The original answer, written in Sep 2018, reflects the state of the UK Immigration Shortage Occupation List as when the OP asked the question. The OP was unlikely to be filling a role in Shortage Occupation under the old rules, but is very likely to be doing so with the same set of circumstances under the current rules.
For future readers: Immigration rules do change and they change often. If in doubt, it is advisable to obtain up-to-date legal advice to minimise unexpected cost and delays.
Summary (Sep 2018): Unless your position is with a small and medium-sized enterprise (in its loose sense) that is registered with Home Office and not already sponsoring too many Tier 2 visas (plus some other conditions/exception, see below), it is not under the shortage occupation list.
If you are lucky to have your role to be one, you will need to get your employer to issue a CoS (Certificate of Sponsorship) with the right SOC (Standard Occupational Classification) code, and put the application under the shortage occupation route before you can apply. That warrants another question.
Current shortage occupation list - senior developer
The current shortage occupation list, listed as Appendix K of the UK Immigration Rules, listed a 'senior developer' under the following entry (emphasis mine):
2136 Programmers and software development professionals
Only the following jobs in this occupation code:
Senior developer employed by a qualifying company, where the job requires a person with a minimum of five years’ relevant experience and demonstrable experience of having led a team.
Here, not all UK companies is a qualifying company, but a (pretty stringent) list of rules apply:
- In this Appendix “qualifying company” means a company which:
(a) has obtained permission from the Home Office to issue a Certificate of Sponsorship in respect of the relevant job on the basis that the job is included on the Shortage Occupation List and the company:
(i) is licensed as a sponsor for the purposes of Tier 2 of the Points Based System,
(ii) at the time of obtaining such permission, employs between 20 and 250 employees (inclusive), or employs fewer than 20 employees and has provided a letter from the Department for International Trade, confirming that the Department has been working with the company and supports the application in relation to its trade or investment activity,
(iii) is not more than 25% owned by a company which has one or more other establishments in the UK and one of those establishments employs more than 250 employees; and
(iv) has not been established in the UK for the purpose of supplying services exclusively to a single company or company group in the UK; and
(b) will have no more than ten Tier 2 (General) Migrants working for it at any one time in jobs to which the requirement to be employed by a qualified company applies, if all Certificates of Sponsorship in respect of such jobs lead to a grant of leave as a Tier 2 (General) Migrant.
You can only be sponsored via this route if ALL the above apply.
Other development jobs under the shortage occupancy list
Alternatively, if your role has anything to do with computer animation and/or electronics systems, the rest of the entry may apply.
The following jobs in visual effects and 2D/3D computer animation for the film, television or video games sectors:
- software developer
- shader writer
- games designer
The following jobs in the electronics system industry:
- driver developer
- embedded communications engineer
I do qualify - now what?
In either case there is some non-trivial work required to be carried out by the company and you to ensure you and the company pay less for the visa. This at least warrant another question at best, or some legal advice at worst.