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Why is There a Global Software Developer Shortage?

Updated: Jul 16, 2019


The average software developer salary currently rests at $99,500. This makes software development and programming jobs some of the most lucrative on the global employment market. However, as demand for software engineers is increasing, fewer software developers are stepping forward to fill positions.


The Software Developer Shortage in the U.S.


To understand the severity of the global software developer shortage, it is necessary to look to the U.S.


The United States is home to the world’s leading tech companies. America is also home to the highest average rates of take-home software developer pay. However, already in America, nine out of ten companies are struggling to hire new talent.


- America has a software development and programming jobs shortfall of 472,000. (Meaning, 472,000 developers are already needed to fill existing positions.)


- In the near future, it is estimated that 545,000 software developers will retire. This will take shortfalls of new engineers and programmers to over 1 million.


- 50% of tech employers in the U.S. say they are forced to hire developers and programmers who lack the correct skills they are looking for.


With demand for software engineers increasing, it is possible for developers and people looking for programming jobs to demand higher salaries. It is also possible to secure developer jobs with top tech companies, without having any formal education. The only question is, why is there are developer shortage to start with?


Skills Shortages are Predominantly Driven by Universities


Over the past 10-years, university graduates in STEM subjects like science, engineering, and IT has increased. However, Western universities are still largely de-coupled from economic demands for graduates with specific skills.


In Australia in 2018, a mere 1,200 new software engineering graduates were churned out by universities. At the same time, 16,000 migrants from overseas arrived in Australia, with software engineering degrees. This implies a skills shortage which could be directly addressed by universities promoting courses more in-line with current labor market demands.


Universities also rarely specialize in software development. At present 58% of STEM subjects in U.S. universities focus on computing. However, only 8% focus on actual computer science and programming.


Western Software Developer Shortages Drive Up Shortages in Developing Countries


In 2020, it is estimated that 1 million software development jobs in the U.S. will be unfilled. However, shortages also affect developing countries.


India churns out an average of 44,000 software engineers each year. However, America, the EU, Australia, and Canada, give developers from developing countries several incentives to immigrate and fill their own skills shortages. This leads to skills shortages and poor innovation at home.


Skills Shortages are Good for Developers


Demand for software engineers and developers is bad for tech companies. However, demand is good for aspiring coders. It is increasingly possible to start on a lucrative development career without formal higher education qualifications.


At present, tech some companies are also attempting to fill vacancies internally. Specifically, by offering in-house training. This makes now an ideal time to consider programming a top career choice. All that aspiring developers need to do is dedicate themselves to specializing in in-demand development areas.

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