Over the past several years, there’s been a developing software engineer shortage that has companies across industries trying to scoop up the best and brightest newcomers for these in-demand positions.
We’re going to take a closer look at where this shortage of software engineers is coming from and what exactly it means for aspiring software engineers.
The Software Engineer Shortage by the Numbers
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were over 1.6 million software engineering jobs in 2021, with an additional 411,400 new jobs projected to be added to the field by 2031. Right now, the job sector is experiencing growth at a rate of 25%.
These statistics might leave you wondering, “Is there a shortage of software engineers?” The answer is a resounding yes, and the shortage is, in fact, more severe than you might expect.
Experts predict that the supply of software engineer talent will not be able to keep up with the demand, which holds true both domestically and internationally. According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), the global shortage of software engineers and developers will reach four million unfilled positions by 2025. Based on these projections, the software engineer shortage is not only rather serious, but it appears to be worsening.
Although such news bodes poorly for businesses, it means that individuals entering the software engineering field will have an abundance of job opportunities available to them, along with strong earning potential. Still, it’s important to note that software engineer salaries vary greatly based on several factors, including the individual’s skill level and location.
Why is There a Shortage of Software Engineers?
The software engineer shortage is a complex problem. There’s no single, definable cause. Instead, the shrinking software engineer talent pool can be attributed to several interconnected factors.
High Demand for Skilled Engineers
Businesses are more reliant on technology these days, which means they need skilled software engineers to create, customize, and maintain sophisticated computer programs. According to some estimates, IT teams, on average, use anywhere from 40-60 different software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications.
The SaaS industry has exploded as well. SaaS development companies are accumulating massive teams of software engineers to fuel the creation of innovative software solutions.
Cumulatively, SaaS firms, IT service providers, and other technology-related companies are all hiring more engineers than they ever have before, and these hiring trends have placed a significant strain on the supply in the current talent pool. There simply aren’t enough highly skilled engineers to go around.
Unequal Access to Computer Science Education
The software engineering field is quite appealing to up-and-coming workers and those looking to make a career change, considering the profession is not only in high demand but also offers stability and strong earning potential. Not everybody, however, has the resources they need to make the transition to the field.
Computer science education is not necessarily easily accessible to everyone. A lack of equity prevents individuals from underserved communities from exploring these sorts of career paths and obtaining the education they need to capitalize on such opportunities.
There are some non-traditional educational pathways available, like free coding bootcamps, that can hopefully start to close the gap and make computer science education more accessible and equitable through various learning options and tuition support.
Shortage of Qualified Instructors
In some cases, instructor pools are staffed by retirees that rely on their own real-world experience to pass along their knowledge. Software engineering, however, seems to be facing a shortage of qualified instructors, as the pipeline is stretched too thin and many experts are remaining in the workforce.
Those in the field may have little incentive to leave, especially if they enjoy the problem-solving work and the competitive salaries. Those who are passionate about their craft may be more inclined to stick with their work rather than transition into a different sort of position with teaching.
Inconsistent Coding Bootcamps
Coding bootcamps have become appealing partly because of the prospect of jumpstarting a new career without the need for a college degree. This may be especially appealing to those that are eager to enter the workforce quickly, but they may come face-to-face with inconsistent curriculums offered by coding bootcamps.
Because coding bootcamps are not necessarily accredited by a third party that evaluates the curriculum, some programs might overpromise and underdeliver. These programs, however, can be pretty easy to spot — they might rely on hype, have unclear curriculums, and charge exorbitant fees.
On the other hand, there are plenty of exceptional coding bootcamps out there that are focused on their students’ success and career growth. Here at App Academy, for example, we’ve spent years crafting our curriculums, and we offer an income share agreement (ISA) option that enables you to pay no tuition until you’re hired.
What Are the Implications of the Software Engineer Shortage?
The software engineer shortage does have large implications for both job seekers and employers. As a job seeker, you may enjoy the opportunity to earn a competitive salary as soon as you enter the field, or employers may be more open to hiring bootcamp grads, making software engineering one of the most promising fields to enter, even if you don’t have a degree in computer science.
Additionally, you may find that employers are more willing or likely to pay for employee development opportunities or reimburse you for your education costs. These perks can make entering the software engineering field more affordable than ever.
Employers, on the other hand, will most likely feel the negative implications of the shortage. Employers should consider how they find and hire talent, screening applicants for measurable skills and learning aptitudes rather than only focusing on a degree or past work experience.
Employers may also have to work on making job postings more appealing by offering many of the things people are looking for in their jobs these days, like remote or hybrid working environments as well as other unique benefits.
Learn More: Best Jobs You Can Get Without a College Degree
How Do We Fix the Software Engineer Shortage?
The best thing you can do to fix the software engineer shortage is to acquire some coding skills and join the tech industry yourself. In exchange, you may enjoy a rewarding career, a competitive salary, and job stability. Let’s take a closer look at how we can address the shortage of software engineers.
Upskilling refers to the process of teaching employees new skills or sharpening existing ones. It’s a good idea for employers to invest in upskilling to develop home-grown talent. In other words, they can train their existing team in skills they need — like coding — to fill important vacancies, rather than trying to hire from a near-empty talent pool.
As a job seeker, this is a good thing to keep in mind. Suppose, for instance, that you complete an entry-level coding program and join the workforce. If you go on to work for an employer that prioritizes upskilling, you may be provided with more opportunities to develop your skills, acquire new certifications, and expand your responsibilities.
What Employers Can Do
In addition to investing in upskilling, employers can combat the shortage of software engineers in several ways, including partnering with one or many reputable coding bootcamps to hire their successful graduates.
App Academy, for example, can help employers overcome talent gaps in several ways. We support partnerships with businesses to help them recruit junior talent from our recent successful graduates as well as mid-senior level talent from our extensive alumni community.
Additionally, we offer corporate training services that are designed to identify and resolve your organization’s needs and concerns through targeted training and upskilling opportunities for your team.
Why Now is the Perfect Time to Consider a Career in Software Engineering
The combination of high demand and the historic worker shortage makes now the ideal time to consider a career in software engineering. You can enter the field without a college degree by leveraging a coding bootcamp.
Once you graduate, you’ll have dozens of job opportunities available to you, which may include remote work or in-person roles at top companies, mid-level businesses, and visionary startups. Above all, you’ll be able to earn a competitive salary.
Getting started as a software engineer is easier than you might think. Once you find a reputable program you’ll be starting your first software engineering job before you know it.
Start Your Software Engineering Career Today
App Academy can help you kickstart your career as a software engineer today. Our programs teach you the skills you need to succeed in this in-demand profession. Get in touch with one of our Admissions Specialists if you still have questions, or take some time to explore our curriculum and programs.
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