Accessibility Links

National Coding Week 2019: “Software is eating the world”

20/09/19 Neena Miskelly Senior Consultant, R&D / Engineering

Famed venture capitalist Marc Andressen once said, “Software is eating the world.” Frightening, but there is some truth to the statement. Among Fortune 500 companies, 31 belong to the software industry, with a combined revenue above $400 billion. 

It seems software is, taking over the world. It's also created a hotbed of entrepreneurial creativity, where founders beam with innovative, software-driven business ideas. The problem is that many of the people who come up with these bright ideas also have little to no coding skills. A bit of a conundrum, isn’t it?

This week is National Coding Week, an annual event that aims to encourage more people to learn to software code to fill the current skills gap.

The widening of the digital skills gap in the UK has been much reported. The tech industry’s struggle to fill software job vacancies could cost the UK economy £141 billion in GDP growth, according to Accenture, the multinational professional services company that provides services in strategy, consulting, digital, technology and operations.   

Given that, only two percent of the global population knows how to code, write software or program and taking into consideration the growing demand for software developers is set to grow by twenty-four percent in the next few years, this suggests that there should be a greater effort to introduce and teach coding to existing technical professionals and the next generation. 

Neena Miskelly, Senior Consultant for Redline’s specialist R&D and Engineering Division discusses further: “Software development is an industry that is different from programming. Therefore, before we talk about trends that are relevant at this time, it is worth to distinguish between these fields a bit. In short, all software developers can program, but not all programmers can create programs. Software developers are people who don't just write software. They look at this issue more globally and act regarding two aspects: the repletion of wants and problem-solving. 

There is a consensus that the software development process is imperfect, sometimes grossly so, for any number of human (management, skill, communication, clarity, etc) and technological (tooling, support, documentation, reliability, etc) reasons.  And yet, when it comes to talking about software development and coding, we apply a variety of scientific/formal terms.

National Coding Week suggests one of the answers is to teach more people to code to bridge the gap. But, let’s be honest; there aren’t enough teachers, lecturers, courses globally to teach enough people fast enough to keep up with the demand. To be more effective, there should also be a focus on developing skills in problem-solving and creative thinking as well as learning how to code, program or write software amongst existing technical professionals in today’s businesses.”

Neena continues: “With the growing presence of artificial intelligence (AI), a focus on soft skills is also as important than ever and will only become more important in the workplace of the future. The growth of low-code technology, which enables software developers with little coding experience to develop apps, along with artificial intelligence, has led some to ask whether coding or software development could be a redundant skill in the future. Shifting the focus away from coding could bring about the next wave of technological change.”

Software development jobs are about crafting logic.  It involves engineers creating software via logical steps. Right now, this is done by people who are specially trained in translating logic into a computing language. As we know not everyone can do this, but most can learn to draw a picture of a process or logically tell a story about what they are trying to achieve and what they need to do to get there. This visual approach to capturing and translating logic is the next wave of technological change the UK needs to advance and ultimately address the digital skills and innovation shortages. And when AI is integrated into low-code technology, the software can write itself. 

In programming though, it’s not just the code which is written that is constantly being changed, it’s the entire toolkit. Programming languages ebb and flow in popularity, models and frameworks appear and disappear. Nothing in this field is timeless. e.g. Cobol, Fortran, LISP, BASIC.

For software developers and engineers who want to stay in the industry, they must prepare to keep up to date with rapidly changing technological trends. Those software engineers who fall into this category will be able to quickly move up the career ladder and count on excellent earnings.

This will require the following:

  • Being able to develop software suitable for solving not only flow problems, but also the  hypothetical future
  • Possess functional software programming skills
  • Maximising and using full potential of each development tool and methodology used in software development

Employers and hiring managers must also explore soft skills and characteristics in a potential candidate’s attitude. These should include:

  • A self-improvement spirit
  • Passion for the work done
  • Open-mindedness
  • A data-driven attitude
  • Perseverance
  • Adaptability
  • Self-reliance
  • Risk-taking

This can be explored through the use of a Competency-Based Interview. What’s important, however, isn’t to find a software engineer or developer that carries all of these attributes, but to cultivate them from the interview process to the moment they commence working with or for the organisation. 

Furthermore, to be an innovative software developer, candidates must adapt their skills under the trends of the time. For those seeking the best professional software developers, hiring managers must think strategically and work in advance to secure the best software candidate. Beyond the fact that you need a developer who knows how to use a specific technical stack—like a specific JavaScript framework, PHP, C#, and so on—you want to look for a developer or software engineer who can solve real-life problems through technology.”

Working with a specialist technology and software recruiter represents a robust solution – one that has the resources, in-depth technical knowledge and a long-term approach to your business development needs. Whatever your requirement, we’ll evaluate project by project and recommend the most effective solution, to provide you with software candidates who add real value. 

If you are a candidate and want to find out more about software jobs and careers in, or to see our latest job opportunities, click here or contact Neena Miskelly on 01582 878855 or email NMiskelly@RedlineGroup.Com