Something needs to be done to close the widening gap between IT job openings and the number of trained professionals qualified to fill them. No-code can help by redefining what it means to be an engineer.
We’re currently in the midst of an IT skills shortage that only seems to be getting worse. Research shows that 87% of organizations are struggling to find the right talent. While this already represents a crisis, 70% of survey respondents on LinkedIn actually report that the tech talent gap is widening.
This makes sense, because nearly half of organizations expect to update products or service offerings in the next three years to keep pace with emerging technologies. As these new technologies grow in popularity, the demand for skilled IT professionals only becomes more crucial due to our reliance on technological services in our everyday lives. But no matter where recruiters look, our current workforce simply lacks the skilled candidates necessary to satisfy the huge number of available positions that companies are anxious to fill.
Ongoing efforts to bridge this gap through professional training and investment in related education initiatives are coming up short. For example, the number of cybersecurity training programs has grown by a third and the volume of qualified graduates has risen by 40%, but the number of job postings calling for cybersecurity proficiency has surged by 94%. IT trade group CompTIA estimated that there are more than 700,000 unfilled tech jobs in the U.S. today.
More Than a Recruitment Problem
The IT skills shortage has wide-ranging implications for global innovation and the domestic economy. While enterprise leaders may be inclined to turn a blind eye to this crisis for the time being, failing to act now will create problems down the road. The situation is made worse by tech giants such as Apple and Google, who tend to attract the little available tech talent.
This leaves other companies at a disadvantage — they have fewer resources than the tech giants of the world to recruit and retain IT talent, but they still rely on IT to run their operations and move the needle forward. With limited employees, IT teams will likely have to focus on doing the bare minimum of keeping the lights on, which means less time spent on innovation. And while these companies may be less tech-driven than an Apple or Google, they are often still huge contributors to our economy — which means everyone should be paying attention.
Why Current Tactics Fall Short
Unfortunately, existing tactics such as nurturing agility, broadening employee skill sets, and investing in specialized IT education aren’t going to cut it on their own. Despite organizations’ best efforts, these strategies are ultimately ineffective when it comes to getting at the root of the problem and solving the big-picture issues that are contributing to this crisis.
For example, undergraduate programs in computer science are growing in popularity and provide a good foundation for careers in IT. But the reality of these programs is that they take four years to accomplish, their huge costs tend to present a barrier to entry, and they don’t necessarily teach skills that are practical for the workplace. Most importantly, even if all students were 100% ready to jump into full-time engineering positions after graduation, there still wouldn’t be enough qualified candidates to close the skills gap.
Ultimately, these tactics fail because they attempt to solve the IT skills shortage by cramming more people into a narrow, challenging field with a high bar for entry. Instead, enterprise stakeholders should be looking for a way to widen the reach of the field. This calls for a reassessment of what it means to be an engineer, as well as a solution that empowers more people to fit into this new definition.
No-Code Widens the Playing Field
All of the above tactics assume that the solution is to teach more people traditional engineering skills. But when put into practice, this is time-consuming, limiting, and doesn’t produce the results we need. So what if instead of forcing more people into a restrictive field, we changed the requirements of the field entirely? What if we could redefine the skills required to become an engineer?
No-code makes this possible. By using a visual interface and a configuration method to translate ideas into an application, no-code allows you to build applications without a single line of code. People who don’t have experience working with complex computer languages can use no-code to bypass the syntax required by traditional development. What’s more, it enables development to occur on a much faster timeline than traditional application development.
Compared to existing attempts to fast-track learning — which cannot keep up with the demand for IT skills, nor fully prepare candidates for professional engineering — the new no-code paradigm will focus on business logic over syntax and workflow concepts over coding. If professionals have ideas and understand business logic, no-code can allow them to see these ideas through.
If we take the example of new graduates, no-code quickly solves the supply and demand issue underlying the IT skills shortage. Rather than recruiting engineers solely from a pool of computer science degree-holders, no-code tools can allow enterprises to look to candidates with degrees in math, business, and anything similarly logic-oriented. If even 20% of the graduates in these logic-oriented areas might be interested in becoming an engineer, it’s possible to make enormous strides toward closing the talent gap.
By using templated functionality and removing code from the equation entirely, no-code empowers individuals and organizations. Rather than scramble to find qualified talent and delay critical projects, enterprises can focus on furthering their competitive advantage and innovating rather than putting out small fires. No-code offers a desperately needed solution to the IT skills gap.
The Bottom Line
As it becomes more imperative than ever for enterprises to digitize and build functional applications for the sake of operations and customer demands, it’s critical that key decision-makers take a new approach in the face of the IT skills shortage.
Without doing so, the tech talent gap may have huge repercussions not just for business but for the future of a domestic economy that’s become increasingly dependent on technological services and products. Instead of trying to resolve this shortage by forcing more people into a restrictive field and coming up short, enterprises should invest in no-code tools that allow them to accommodate a broader profile of qualified professionals.