The pool of viable developers needs to get deeper … now.
Companies that are looking to cement a competitive advantage by providing app-driven customer experiences could find that the talent pool for developers may not be as deep as they thought.
According to a recent survey commissioned by CA Technologies, there is a growing skills gap within the apps economy that is directly related to the need for many firms to become software driven. In a global survey of business and technology executives, cited by eWeek, 78% of respondents saw software as the key component to future success, with 51% increasing investment into mobile apps and API-enabled software.
The Battle for Competitive Advantage in the App Economy survey—conducted by Oxford Economics on behalf of CA—also said that, as company priorities shifted, there was a demonstrated skills shortage in certain areas. Finding experienced data scientists, for example, is becoming increasingly difficult, with 54% of executives saying that this was the most valued skill, followed by social media (43%), programming and development (42%) and DevOps (41%).
Closing the Skills Gap In The Apps Economy
As the apps economy has grown, so has the need for skilled or talented workers. The survey said that a skills gap was the most reported concern of respondents, with 37% of interviewees seeing it as a global trend that would have an increased impact by 2018. Fifty-seven percent of executives said the apps economy would significantly influence their hiring strategy over the next three years, with the challenge being to find the right people to do the job.
The issue is not that companies are not acquiring talent, but the fact that there is seemingly not enough to go round. The report said that 49% of respondents were bringing software development in-house and 47% are planning to increase their app development capabilities, both of which increase the importance of reducing any perceived gap.
Technology companies, especially those in the consumer-facing market have always competed for the best and brightest talent and university enrollment in software or computer engineering has continued to grow. Much of that can be attributed to the perception that working in tech is a cool job, especially if you are fortunate enough to work for Google or Facebook, but there are thousands of companies—from the pharmaceutical realm to local government and everything in between— desperate to recruit.
Take employment website Glassdoor, for example. Glassdoor currently lists 55,716 jobs in the U.S. are being advertised for apps developers on the site, some of which have been open for 30 days or more. Software engineers can take their pick of 49,374 positions, while there is a need for 39,412 data scientists in the U.S. alone.
Investment in Eduction Is The Answer
An article published by The New York Times reported that a former waiter had increased his salary from $20,000 to more than $100,000 simply by taking a coding course and this is certainly not an isolated example. A former sports reporter dropped out of the press box to learn Python. Coding camps—like Girls Who Code—and free programming websites like Codeacademy have grown exponentially over the last several years as the technology industry works to fill the demand for developers that can write passable software.
Ultimately, the lack of skilled—or available—workers is fueling company concerns. According to the CA Technologies survey, 42% of respondents said that the lack of knowledge or requisite skills prevented them from effective responses within the app economy, with 52% saying that governmental assistance or investment in technical or STEM education could go a long way to closing the gap.
Top image: “USAID and Partners Run App Design Challenge for Social Change” via USAid Asia, Flickr, Creative Commons.