March 12, 2018
One of the greatest challenges to today’s economic growth is a lack of technology talent. Companies are adopting new strategies to find qualified software engineers, programmers and developers, including new apprenticeship and internship programs. The national unemployment rate hit 4.1 percent in January, its lowest since 2000. As the job market improves, demand for tech talent also increases. For software engineers, the unemployment rate was a mere 1.9 percent last year, which was down from 4 percent in 2011.
Those low numbers are at least partially due to technology’s increasing mobility and connectivity across devices, making it so “software development has shifted more toward teams building smaller applications woven into a bigger whole … companies are focusing more on training, sourcing new talent through apprenticeships, and looking at atypical pools of candidates who have transferable skills,” reports Bloomberg.
As the tech industry has expanded, executives have come to realize that performance is a key differentiator for competitiveness. They’re often looking to create the supply of workers themselves, fostering and growing talent in-house when possible.
Gartner found that in the first half of 2017, 53 percent of earnings calls by the world’s 1,600 largest companies discussed talent in some way, representing an increase from 38 percent in that same span of time in 2010.
Because there’s a newly heightened emphasis on collaboration and teamwork, software development has now become an option for people who may have non-technical backgrounds, but can learn coding or have other transferable skills.
Companies are approaching software development in a variety of ways. Social Tables, a Washington, DC-based startup that sells event-management software to hotels, is pairing senior engineers with apprentices and interns who they intend to see learn and grow with the company. In fact, Hunter Powers, head engineer at Social Tables, noted: “We only hire senior engineers and apprentices.”
As of now, nine of Social Table’s 33 engineers came out of its three-month apprenticeship program and at least 4 of the ten engineers the company hires this year will be homegrown.