Talent shortages have been the talk of the town for a while now. It’s become very clear the present demand outweighs the supply of skilled IT professionals. According to CareerBuilder, in Minnesota alone, there were 20,337 open Software Developer (Applications) jobs open from April 2013 to March 2014. The following year it increased 22.91% for the same occupation bringing it to a grand total of 24,997 open jobs. What will this next year bring? The demand is increasing, but that’s not to say we can’t be the solution to our problem. These two foundational changes can help you be a victor in this “war for talent”.
1) Admit there’s a problem and be the change
Leadership needs to admit there is a fixable problem that can be worked on today, this very moment, to help better our IT ecosystem. Yes, there’s a skills gap, talent shortage, not enough people that code, however you’d like to doll it up. So please do something about it. Don’t wait for our education system to advocate for Comp Sci programs or for the day you can pluck developers off a tree with your preferred experience. By that time you’ll be too late to the party. The first step is recognizing the void within so a plan can be devised. If you want to be significant, steps need to be taken to combat the shortage. Start with your current team.
2) Identify potential, train, nurture, and grow
You will spend more time and money looking for something that doesn’t exist than you will making it yourself. Plant your own tree, shower it with a little “love”, nurture, and watch it grow…right along with your business. Send your Developers to boot camps, hackathons, code academies, conferences, or (un)conferences to fully submerge themselves in what needs to be learned. It will be worth it. He/she will be able to transfer that knowledge to the rest of the team or company, and in turn you are connecting their work with a sense of purpose we all desire.
You will be doing yourself a disservice if your business doesn’t promote continual learning. Technology grows and evolves at a faster rate than our traditional education systems can produce. Be aware and stay ahead of this growing problem or our talent shortage will continue to prevent us from exponential advancement. Leadership, invest in training employees on new technology. Send them out unto the world to learn. You will see a positive shift in culture, production, and retention.
If nothing else take this with you, invest in your employees and they will invest themselves back into your business.