Where have all the coders gone?

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It seems like coding boot camps, coding programs in schools, and other development initiatives are popping up left and right these days. After all, learning how to code, even just a little, is helpful for more careers than software engineering. In fact, some none-coding jobs are starting to require a basic level of coding ability.

With all of these programs pushing coding these days, you may start to think the industry is flooded with would-be-developers as well as senior engineers, right?


In fact, there’s a significant shortage of qualified people in this country to fill the available programming positions.

The job disparity

In 2015, just under 60,000 people in the U.S. graduated with degrees in computer science, whereas the number of open jobs in the computing field was over 500,000. Of course, graduates aren’t the only that can fill open positions. Many of those jobs are likely to require at least a year or two of experience, if not more. But even so, the job to graduate ratio is not quite 10:1, representing a significant shortage.

In fact, software engineering has been one of the hardest fields to fill available jobs for in the United States for over 9 years. It’s recently grown significantly and will most likely continue to for the foreseeable future; however, the number of people qualified for those open jobs isn’t growing nearly as quick, and it’s led to a huge shortage across the board.

With the supply and demand gap growing, many companies have turned to alternative means to staff their projects, including staff augmentation. Staff augmentation allows a company to add specialized talent to their team without the overhead of a full-time employee.

Quality staff augmentation isn’t just about adding another body to your team; it entails finding expert resources that will ensure your projects finish ahead of schedule and with the highest level of quality. Simply adding John Doe Programmer to your staff can actually slow you down if done improperly.

Quality over quantity

None of that really explains why there is a shortage, though. You’d think it would be an easy sell to folks looking for a new career. The average salary is over $80,000 per year, benefits are usually the best in the country, and working from home is becoming normal.

There are a few downsides to being a programmer, however. For one thing, while it may be a lucrative job, it’s by no means an easy one. Depending on the company, you could end up working 50-60 hours a week, with tight deadlines and tremendous pressure. This can cause young, rising stars in the field to burn out quickly and ultimately switch careers.

It’s also true that the shortage issue isn’t just about finding software engineers to fill the available positions. It’s about finding qualified software engineers, who know how to do the job well. This is proving difficult, and it requires experts in staffing your company may not even have.

Many companies looking to hire programmers report the software engineers who apply simply aren’t qualified to fill them, and the cycle to replace them is long and expensive. Since there’s a shortage of competent developers, plenty of people who don’t have the aptitude are applying for the available positions and wasting your and your team’s time.

What is almost guaranteed is if you don’t have a proper vetting system in place that allows you to match the right developer to your needs as quickly as possible, then you will always be falling behind.

Staff augmentation

Offshoring was an answer 20 years ago, but over the last 10 years, the trend has shifted, allowing employers to search and shop for their ideal developer. The industry is changing, and it’s pointing to a future where staff augmentation is a white-gloved, outsourced service, freeing up time and energy from businesses while reducing overhead in employee churn.

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