The Coder Talent Shortage – How it is Impacting Businesses and What We Can Do to Mitigate it
Rob Turner

One of the most talked-about issues in the tech world is that of the significant shortfall in the number of qualified, experienced coders there are compared with the number of available jobs in this field.

On the outside, it might not sound like a problem that matters beyond its specific niche, but if you look closer you’ll see that this is a state of affairs with ramifications across the business world.

Let’s look at what is causing this shortage, what it means for modern organizations, and what solutions might help resolve it.

Why are Employers Struggling to Find Enough Coding Talents?

While the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that coding jobs will grow by 22 percent over the next decade, there are a few obstacles preventing talented individuals from being found to fill the roles that are being created for them in all sorts of industries.

One of the issues is that businesses are simply not up to speed with the challenges of recruiting the right developers for the positions they have available.

Many candidates make use of the best online learning platforms to acquire their abilities, and yet recruiters are still tied down to outdated means of filtering prospective employees who might not recognize the efforts and achievements of the new generation of coders.

Another conundrum is a more fundamental one; as developers are needed in larger numbers, there is no throughput from the educational system to meet this demand.
Steps are being taken at the moment to address this, with coding taught in many schools and students incentivized to keep studying computer science and associated topics to college level and beyond.

However, this is a slow-burning strategy and one which will take years to pay dividends. As such, the shortage looks set to persist and be perpetuated for the time being.

How Does the Coder Talent Shortage Affect Businesses?

With more coding-related jobs being available than there are qualified people to snap them up, there is a growing skills gap that separates small businesses from their better-funded, larger-scale competitors.

Tech giants, in particular, are guilty of absorbing all of the most gifted and well-educated developers right out of school, keeping them sweet with cushy pay packets, incentives, and perks that none of their smaller rivals could hope to match.

This creates an unbalanced market, effectively concentrating skills and opportunities for innovation in one place. This is bad for businesses individually, and bad for the economy as a whole, as it leads to the kinds of monopolies we are seeing at the very top of the tech tree.

Can AI be a Solution to the Coding Skills Gap?

Aside from waiting for the education and training of coders to catch up with demand, businesses do have a few other options to bridge the skills gap in the interim.

Artificial intelligence (AI) may not yet be at the point where it can replace flesh and blood developers on software projects. However, it is already being deployed to catalyze the development process and lessen the burden on human coders, especially at the testing phase.

Being able to automate software testing means that this is less labor-intensive. Furthermore, there are low-code and no-code solutions that are AI-enhanced and thus don’t require programming language experts to write, operate, and adjust them.

In time, it may be that AI takes the reins of coding away from humans altogether, but for the moment we need to rely on enough talented developers being trained up to ensure businesses of all sizes can thrive.