Proposed solutions to the problem of a huge number of vacancies in tech jobs and the lack of skilled people to fill them
Addressing the problem of the tech skills gap isn’t easy. In an ever-evolving industry, finding people with relevant, up-to-date skills is getting increasingly difficult as more and more firms begin to realise the value of tech to their brand and company.
We’ve written in detail about the problem of the tech skills gap before, but what is being done to solve it? Is an allround tech education from childhood the answer? Is attracting women to the tech industry going to fill some of these jobs? Or do companies need to incentivize their current workforces to level up their skillsets and take these jobs on themselves, rather than hiring outside staff? We’ve put together four solutions that could make a huge change in the problem of the supply and demand of skills in tech.
1. Coding In Schools
It comes up again and again, but children need to be exposed to coding in schools. STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Economics and Maths) need to be made interesting for kids who traditionally might shy away from these subjects, thinking them ‘too hard’ or ‘boring’. Coding needs to be put into the syllabus from a young age, giving all young people the same basic understanding of the infrastructure of the web. This year the UK will be the first major G20 country to make coding mandatory in the schools countrywide.
But will this initiative to get coding into schools close the skills gap in the near term? The short answer is no. But it will get more smart people interested in the subject earlier. It’s unlikely the majority of Oxbridge graduates grew up dreaming of careers in finance and consulting, but they were made aware of their opportunities (and the financial lucrativity of these industries) in their young adult lives. We don’t want the tech industry attracting swaths of opportunists, but smart and driven people cannot harm any industry.
2. MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses)
Online courses, such as MOOCs are another way for beginners to learn tech skills. Free, online, globally accessible, MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) are a great starting point to learn a new skill, as they are free, convenient and have a wide range of topics. Sadly, MOOCs are not for everyone. Completion rates are very low and many people seem to use the courses to ‘look around’ a subject rather than to actually commit to learning something.
3. Offline Bootcamps
Offline intensive courses such as devBootcamp are a great new emergence: over three months they teach students a range of tech disciplines and then connect them to companies and recruiters for hiring at the end. They start where universities fail: education that actually gets you a job. Unfortunately, they are pretty expensive, require a three-month full time commitment and are only available in several major tech cities around the world.
4. Personalized Learning
One of the big trends in education technology this year is personalized learning. There are a few programs, including ours, that combine mentor-driven learning with a mixture of online, accessible course materials. These are ideal for people who cannot leave their job or family to do a full-time course. As with all industries, having a mentor or teacher figure is crucial for thorough and fast career advancement and the approach of these combination programs is making learning a flexible, inexpensive option.
The tech skills gap needs to be seen as an opportunity. With so many job openings those with the right skills (or those willing to learn them) are in prime position to significantly level up their market value while working on the solutions that will simplify and enhance the lives of tomorrow. In this post-recession marketplace, tech is one of the few areas that is actually expanding and growing; every industry is desperate to stay up to date and engage with the field. They can’t do this without the right people working for them. Training up in tech opens up doors to new careers for people who are willing to take up the opportunity and get skilled up in tech.