Behind almost everything that seems critical to our day-to-day lives – from our home computers to the ones in our pockets, the cars we’re driving and the jobs we’re doing – is code. Line upon line of glorious, complex code. There’s little in life that we love more.
Okay, we might be getting carried away, but it’s National Coding Week so forgive us for taking the opportunity to shout about it from the rooftops. Not only do we source the best Software Engineers for organisations across the UK, Europe, and the US, but we also give our Consultants the opportunity to learn how to code in their chosen programming language.
To put it simply, we know what we’re talking about when it comes to code. We know what the opportunities are in the industry, the challenges it faces, and why National Coding Week is, perhaps more so this year than ever before, a really important occasion.
What is National Coding Week?
First celebrated in 2014, National Coding Week was set up by Richard Rolfe, a headteacher who just a few months earlier had decided to start learning to code. In learning, he grew frustrated that while investment was being put into an improved computing curriculum at schools, very little was being done to help adults reshape their careers in favour of technology.
National Coding Week was born out of that frustration. Over the past eight years, Rolfe’s event has facilitated bootcamps, created communities and given professionals the opportunity to start a new chapter in their careers each year. The industry has long battled with talent shortages and National Coding Week has played a key role in the fight, earning praise from our recently deposed Prime Minister who said it would “help to make whole generations of Brits more comfortable with coding, allowing them to embrace the business opportunities of the future”.
How bad is the talent gap?
There’s no way of sugar-coating it – it’s bad.
Figures from 2021 indicated that the UK alone would need a further 1.5 million people to be equipped with advanced digital skills within the next two years. On top of that, FutureDotNow’s research found that as many as 17 million people in the UK lacked ‘essential’ digital skills, nearly one-third of the country’s population.
In short, the UK is at risk of falling behind other leading tech hubs in Europe and the US. Action needs to be taken, and quickly.
What is develop doing to help close the gap?
A lot of effort has been put into short-term fixes. Funding pushes, placement programmes and, to an extent, teaching our Consultants to code are all part of that, but in the long term the same issues persist. We can’t claim to have the silver bullet, but we’re making a start by way of our partnership with Canon Barnett Primary School.
Research suggests that children start making career decisions by the age of nine, and if school pupils don’t know what a Software Engineer is, or that it is a potential career route for them, then supply will continue falling short of demand by the time they leave education. As part of our partnership with Canon Barnett, we are improving technology education by providing the school with STEM toys, making visits with industry professionals, and talking to them about how rewarding a career in software engineering can be.
It’s a small cog in a much bigger wheel, but we’re making a start. Children in our local community will directly benefit from these opportunities, and if others follow suit, then we begin making great strides towards the long-term solution. What better time to start making that difference than in National Coding Week?
If you want to learn more about how we are supporting Canon Barnett Primary School, or if you are interested in helping us with our partnership, then please do get in touch.