Apple CEO Tim Cook has backed a major effort to persuade state governors, governments and educators to make computer science classes available to every student in every school. But it’s not just philanthropy at play.
We just can’t get the staff
Supply and demand. In theory, when demand increases, supply arises to meet it. It just doesn’t always work that way and as the world becomes more digitized, the need for coders is growing faster than the world can keep up with.
The demand for coding skills is growing so fast that developers continue to explore ways to design configurable solutions that can be built without code (no-code – essentially filling the gap that Apple’s Shortcuts are becoming).
They know they need to do this as the demand for coding talent continues to grow internationally. It’s a need that affects every market from the US to Singapore and everywhere in between. By 2030, the world is expected to be short of approximately 82.5 million programmers – already 87% of organizations struggle to find the coding staff they need.
But some industries, especially those in the data analytics field, are managing to be both in high demand and on a rapid growth curve, while also desperately looking for enough staff. Given the growing importance of AI, the lack of data analytics skills is already affecting many enterprises. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that by 2026 the shortage of engineers in the US will exceed 1.2 million.
All we say is give code a chance
That’s why more than 500 leaders from business, education and non-profit organizations have signed a call to “give every student in every school the opportunity to learn computer science”. signatories, including cook (and countless Apple allies and competitors) know we need to invest in the next generation of programmers.
They warn that because computer science education is not available everywhere, many students never get the chance to learn. That’s why only 5% of US high school students study computer science — and some communities, especially young women and students of color, have been left behind.
Of course the employees know that too. And while not everyone has the talent for it, a side effect of the Great Resignation is that more and more employees are participating in coding courses. They almost certainly hope to make more money and work more remotely in the future. Workforce tech education platform Pluralsight notes that the four most popular courses it offers are related to coding. Courses on AI and cloud services are also popular. At the same time, the pandemic has led to major investments in digital technologies to support the emerging future of work, exacerbating the talent shortage.
Coding is one of the most valuable skills a person can learn. It can open new doors, jump-start careers and make big dreams seem like achievable goals. Everyone around the world should have the opportunity to learn to code. https://t.co/yWfNlmQwdz
— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) July 12, 2022
Apple can scale its encryption search, but not everyone can
Apple has made no secret of its belief that we should nurture more coding talent. It has built and continues to build new development hubs around the world so it can find talent not available in the US.
It hosts in-store programming workshops and has developed academic courses to nurture future talent. Swift Playgrounds isn’t just meant to be fun to use; it is also designed to teach young people the basics of coding as the company works to nurture future talent.
But Apple’s chance to participate in such programs is something only the biggest companies really have access to — and the coder Cupertino makes today won’t necessarily code for iPhones tomorrow, especially when their skills are in so much demand. . It is also true that the need, combined with the shortage, means that more than 50% of companies are hiring technical workers who do not have all the skills the job requires.
Challenging the economy
Yet the magnitude of the problem poses a major challenge to economic growth and productivity, sparking a transnational struggle to bring in talent.
In the US, nearly two-thirds of highly skilled immigration is for computer scientists. The US alone has more than 700,000 open computer jobs, but trains only 80,000 computer science graduates each year — and the demand for those skills will increase as digitization continues to grow. Demand is also putting existing recruits under great pressure. That extra work means some argue that about 70% plan to change jobs in the next year. This in itself is a problem for employers – it costs up to $35,685 to identify and hire a full-time developer, according to CodeSubmit data.
Every churn in workforce means additional costs, as well as increased pressure on existing employees and additional damage to project schedule and overall productivity.
With all this in mind, it’s no surprise that Cook and what appears to be a roll call from all of the biggest companies in the US are making this urgent call for code. Their eye-watering bonuses probably depend on it.
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