Tech Talent Squeeze Plagues IT Industry And Small Business

The rapid development of technology coupled with a small talent pool is affecting mobile app development more so than any other IT sector.

Photo: Dina Destreza, IT professional, blogger and speaker; Source: Courtesy Photo

What’s “the worst kept secret of IT? Ask the CIOs and they will pour out their angst on the looming talent crises plaguing their departments. IT departments of companies rest on the plinth of an alarmingly skewed skill base.”

“Such is the crippling scarcity of next generation tech skills that is fast snowballing into a full blown talent crisis” (Economic Times).

These talent shortages seem almost ludicrous. IT, particularly mobile app development, is a rising and lucrative industry. Yet, according to ManpowerGroup’s annual Talent Shortage Survey, 34% of employers surveyed report hiring difficulty due to a lack of people with adequate technical competencies.


Driving Forces Behind Talent Squeeze

Tech companies have an increasing problem finding technical talent, including architects, engineers, and software developers, because the industry changes so quickly that many tech employees have a difficult time keeping their skills up-to-date. On top of this, the talent pool itself is small and shrinking each year. There simply aren’t enough people entering technology fields.

Photo: ManpowerGroup's Annual Talent Shortage Survey 2015
Photo: ManpowerGroup’s Annual Talent Shortage Survey 2015

Education advocate Code.org compiled government statistics and predicts that by 2020 there will only be 400,000 computer science students to fill 1.4 million computing jobs (USNews).


Mobile App Development Hit Hardest

The rapid development of technology coupled with a small talent pool is affecting mobile app development more so than any other IT sector. This is not a talent shortage that simply hinders the pace of business progress; it is a shortage that can actually prevent businesses from taking a mobile-first approach to business.

Imagine your business wants to launch the latest app and can’t find a developer to get the job done. Competitors already have an app up and running and you are left behind.

Developers working in the industry are overrun to the point of having to turn down lucrative projects because they have too much on their plates. The shortage of talent in the mobile app development sector is particularly relevant to iOS app development. iOS development has been rapid, and with the imminent launch of iOS 7, the need for more advanced graphics capabilities will be a reality.

The development of these types of graphics is not cheap and the need for developers skilled enough to create them will increase substantially. The shortage of iOS mobile development talent extends across all industries.

Any industry that relies on mobile, whether it is health care, retail, or SaaS, will ideally have at least one iOS and one Android developer at their disposal. Retail and SaaS are particularly vulnerable to the iOS mobile developer shortage because these sectors have experienced the largest percentage of growth via iOS mobile usage.


Eminent Tech Talent Wars

Small businesses are struggling in particular because larger companies can pay developers twice as much and are hiring the talent that is available. The desperation for a small pool of talent causes a highly competitive environment where companies are literally stealing talent from each other.

However, the issue is not isolated to the need for more talent; it is also related to a need for talented tech workers who are business savvy. Developers need to do more than simply write code; they need consulting skills and must be able to grasp the big picture.

Companies need to hire technically skilled people who will act as business partners, rather than supply the business with single-minded technical solutions.


Talent Shortage Solutions

In the grand scheme of things, all industries need more techs, particularly more developers. At the present time, the talent pool is shrinking, rather than growing.

Perhaps a greater emphasis on increasing the number of people trained in IT is warranted. Specialized coding schools, which are beginning to pop up across the U.S., may be an attractive solution to increase the number of people skilled in coding.

Ensuring technical students learn business skills – this is essential when it comes to the big picture. Aside from the training aspect, companies in need of mobile app development, but who have no in-house native developers are relying more and more on third-party mobile app development agencies and platforms or putting a greater reliance on their mobile web presence, such as ASP.NET web development.

In general, businesses, including yours, may have to become more innovative in how they use the talent they have, doing more with less and automating processes wherever possible.


This article has been edited and condensed.

Dina Destreza is a raving IT professional, Blogger and Speaker. She has spent the last 15 years studying the internet and how to use it to communicate effectively. She loves writing about emerging technology on mobile phone, gadgets and other technology related stuff. Currently she is working with Keyideas Infotech – a leading offshore software development company that provides web and mobile application development services to its clients across the globe. Connect with @keyideasglobal on Twitter.


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