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Author: Editorial Office


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Most of the countries of the Old Continent are struggling with talent shortages of software developers. In some of them, these deficits are exceptionally severe.

The enormous rise of the software industry for the last two decades results in an ever-growing demand for IT skills. According to the European Commission, European countries can suffer a total shortage of over 900,000 skilled ICT workers by 2020. Shortages concern no longer only software developers, but also digital visual design and creativity specialists, digital user experience experts, big data specialists, and many others. In some countries, this phenomenon becomes particularly severe.


One of them is Sweden. A report by the Swedish IT & Telecom Industries warns that the deficit of digital professionals may reach 70,000 by 2022. The shortage is especially visible in programming and systems architecture. The authors of the report advise that tackling this issue requires not only reforms of the educational system and closer cooperation between business and schools, but also some ‘external powers’. Swedish IT & Telecom Industries suggests that the government should attract more international students who will be able to fill the labor market gap in the future.


The world’s third-biggest exporter, Germany, will have to face even greater shortages. It will have to deal with a deficit of 82,000 programmers to keep pace with its biggest competitors, the United States, and China. The industrial organization Bitkom estimates that four out of five companies lack personnel with digital skills. The labor market is currently one of the biggest threats to the German economy. In this case, as in Sweden, the solution may be to use the labor force from abroad. However, according to the analyses by Stack Overflow, one-third of German companies are looking for workers only in the country, and only one out of four is looking for workers abroad.


Despite overcoming a decade-lasting economic crisis, the country’s economy still has to deal with the problem of unemployment at the double-digit levels, tripling the OECD average. Being chronically out of work for many people has led to the erosion of their professional skills. The Spanish labor market, as the European University Institute predicts, is forecast to lose 30 percent of young workers. Until 2020 there is expected to be a strong demand especially for: programmers and developers (25-50,000 jobs), community managers/marketing ICT-based specialists (60-70,000 jobs), specialists in digital visual design and creativity (15-45,000 jobs).

Still, however, with more than 33,000 IT businesses, Spain is one of the major European IT markets. In 2017, investments in startups grew by 45%. Barcelona and Madrid are now the 5th and 6th largest startup hubs in Europe. Furthermore, Spain has the 4th highest amount of jobs in the tech sector in the EU. About 31 percent of new job openings in Spain is for digital jobs. There are some 300,000 developers, but that’s not enough for what the Spanish economy needs.


The situation is also problematic in Italy. The technology sector there is having a lot of problems with filling vacancies, despite the fact that the unemployment rate on the Apennine Peninsula oscillates around 10%. According to the Italian Ministry of Labour and the Chamber of Commerce, the ICT companies did not manage to fill as many as 76,000 positions last year. As many as 42% of the software developers' positions remained unfilled. This is largely the result of a brain drain, which increased after the economic crisis. On the other hand, however, companies often look for specialists with high, special qualifications - not always those that candidates have. It is therefore also a matter of mismatch.


According to the report by the Edge Foundation, an estimated 600,000 vacancies in digital technology are costing Great Britain £6,3 billion a year. These are the expenses related to recruitment fees, inflated salaries, temporary staff and training for workers hired at a lower level than intended. The report’s authors point out to the fact that the British IT sector already relies on non-British staff and that the number of domestic students taking IT and computing studies is falling each year. The perspective of Britain leaving the EU is just something that might deepen this problem further.


Governments of countries threatened by IT labor shortages are looking for ways to solve the growing problem. There are many ideas - from reforms in the education system to changes in migration policy. However, changes in the labor market also result in actions on the part of the job seekers. More and more of them decide to change their careers and try to gain skills that would open the doors to a software developer's job. Thus, the programming bootcamps are gaining in popularity. 

Coding bootcamps are intensive programs of software development and IT skills. Bootcamp approach is based on high-intensity training. Courses curricula consist of highly condensed knowledge which, normally obtained by students during multi-year programs, is provided to them within weeks. The mission of coding bootcamps is not only to equip students with practical knowledge but also to support them in the process of job search. The majority of bootcamps' graduates manage to find new jobs within a few months after finishing the course. The idea of accelerated learning in IT made its debut in the early 2010s and since then it has been gathering more and more followers. Coding bootcamps are a $309 million industry and will graduate ~23,000 developers in 2019. 

Hiring juniors trained in programming schools is not only an easy way to fill in the gap in IT companies' employment. Such employees enrich enterprises with unique values, like diversity, resulting from the fact that they represent various educational backgrounds, which widens their intellectual horizons. They also enhance business with an eagerness to look for positive change, the same that pushed them to put their life on hold for long weeks and attend a bootcamp and change their whole career.

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