At least for the time being, the IT talent shortage continues. Nina Cofer, Breezy HR, points out that less than 60,000 students are graduating with computer science degrees every year, and analysts estimate there will be one million unfilled computer programming related jobs in the US by 2020. And although more students are pursuing computer science degrees, it’s not enough to close the gap. According to Data USA, the number of students pursuing computer science degrees grew by 24.5 percent from 2016 to 2026, which is significantly faster than the average for all other jobs in the US. But computer science jobs are also expected to grow by 24 percent.
Competing for Top Talent
Cofer says because quality talent is scarce, salaries have become extremely competitive and employers have to offer higher-than-average pay with top benefits, like fully paid health insurance, to attract candidates.
She adds that because of the talent gap, employers are getting creative to fill open positions. Many are turning to applicants who may not fit the role perfectly and offering internal training to get them up to speed. “Hiring for personality and willingness to learn can help fill the skills gap,” Cofer explains. “Once you get star employees in the door, providing them with on-the-job training will boost their skill set and will convey that you are willing to grow their skill set as the company grows.”
What Computer Science Students Can Expect in the Next Four Years
Colleges and universities understand the demand for skilled IT talent that will persist over the next four years and beyond. They also recognize that with the speed of technological advancements that the market could need people with different skills that are prevalent today. Cofer says, “Universities are preparing students for jobs that don’t exist yet by removing the stigma that your degree has to match your job.”
She adds that because learning doesn’t stop when you graduate, especially for IT/Computer Science related jobs, new graduates need to understand that they’ll learn over the entire length of their careers.
How ISV Can Support the Freshman Class
ISVs can help encourage and educate aspiring coders, programmers, software engineers, systems analysts, security engineers and other IT-related jobs through internships that give students real-world training. Cofer says, “ISVs can work with schools and universities by providing internships within their organizations, giving students a real feel for what work life would be like and the everyday opportunities and challenges they would face.”
She adds that ISVs can also offer volunteer hours to students, helping universities provide real-world work to students. “Students would be able to volunteer for less than 10 hours per month in the organization, learning the job first hand. Once the specified volunteer time is complete, students would base their final projects on the work achieved at the organization,” Cofer explains.
Female role models and mentors can have a major impact on encouraging young women with an interest in the field to pursue a degree, a career, and success in IT.
Your Business Depends on the Team You Build
Whether you’re building a team for a startup or looking for talent to complement your existing staff, you know finding the right people is essential to your company’s success. In a climate where demand continues to exceed supply, you need to find ways to build a team that will carry your business into the future. In your search for people to join your organization, it may be wise to consider people who will be entering the workforce in a few years and help them get hands-on experience now. It may be how you find your next rock star employee.