Photo by Drew Beamer on Unsplash
Jobs in tech are very much in the media spotlight right now, as a new wave of jobs are created to help “build the metaverse” – a world where we live much of our professional and personal lives in virtual spaces.
Although the metaverse was always on the cards, COVID created a paradigm shift in the labour market and turned the pre-existing digital skills gap into more of a gaping cavern overnight.
What is the current state of the tech jobs market?
The tech jobs market is evolving so quickly it’s hard to define. Here’s an outline of the circumstances that are contributing to a mixture of rapid movement, skills crises and catch-22s.
Our lives and the world we live in were becoming increasingly more technology-driven anyway, but we all know that COVID accelerated digital transformation almost universally. There is increased demand for online shopping, online working, online learning, online entertainment, online socialising and online networking. Therefore, there is an increased demand for all the infrastructure that must be built to support it.
Infrastructure this complex, and that needs to be built this quickly and at scale requires many, many skilled hands to construct, develop and maintain it.
Throw into the mix the UK’s departure from the European Union, an end to free movement and tightened immigration laws, and the situation becomes instantly more complex.
Then, add a pinch of legislative turmoil in the form of the extension of IR35 legislation into the private sector. The result of this is a reduction in flexibility for the private sector to contract-in digital skills.
A volatile chemical reaction that has bubbled over in 2021 into what we are navigating today. It’s been dubbed a “disaster” by think-tank NESTA, which estimates that the digital skills gap is costing the UK billions.
The solution for the tech jobs market
Meanwhile, as the tech skills gap was growing exponentially, elsewhere the labour market was also evolving rapidly. In 2020, entire industries dissolved and many were left not only jobless but virtually careerless overnight.
Additionally, the work from home revolution opened the eyes of employees to the benefits of remote working. Business as usual began to feel like a prospect people didn’t want to return to. In an unexpected turn, the mood of the workforce shifted from gratitude for having employment to an awakening; if they weren’t getting what they wanted out of their job, they could probably find it elsewhere.
This created a phenomenon called “The Great Resignation” where upwards of 40% of the global workforce are currently actively considering resigning from their jobs. Who saw that one coming?
All of these factors combined have created a vast need and wealth of opportunity on one side of a fence, and a throng of people who are eager and willing to pick the low hanging fruit on the other. There’s mutually beneficial reciprocity available here, the only barrier standing in the way is the fence – comprised of a lack of hard skills and qualifications.
There are huge employment opportunities in digital, but people need the skills and qualifications to access them. The question is, how do you acquire them?
Digital has been identified as the most future-proof arena for people who are looking to reskill and find a new job after the coronavirus pandemic. It ticks all the boxes of responding to the remote-working revolution, of making a difference in a changing world and demand for digital skills is always going to be growing. The sustained demand means there are plenty of opportunities available.
How can you reskill for a career in software development?
- The traditional university route – there are a host of computer science-related degrees, diplomas and certifications you can achieve through multiple higher education institutions. For example, a wealth of software engineering courses are listed here on the UCAS website. Additionally, there are many options for post-graduate study for those who have completed an undergraduate degree.
- Apply for an apprenticeship – there’s a misconception that apprenticeships are only for school leavers or young people. There’s no upper age limit, though the minimum age is 16. So long as you’re not in full-time education, you’re eligible to join an apprenticeship scheme and begin your journey from novice to expert in your chosen field whilst earning an income.
- Online training institutes – there are various online training programmes that promise you can become a software developer or a programmer in as little as 11-18 weeks. Be sure to thoroughly research these company’s credentials and obtain market feedback about how much weight a qualification from these organisations would hold in the real world.
- Government skills bootcamps – a range of Government-funded courses are available (according to eligibility criteria). Find them here. Courses include:
- IT Technician
- Microsoft IT Engineer
- Cyber Security Technologist
- Junior Software Developer
- Microsoft Software Developer
- Data Technician
- Microsoft Azure Data Analyst
- Microsoft Azure Data Engineer
- SAS Data Analyst
- Cyber Intrusion Analyst
With so many routes into tech careers and so few barriers to entry, it’s never been a better time to break into the tech industry. This is particularly true if you have experience and transferable skills from your work history in alternative fields. Soft skills are often overlooked and undervalued aspects of employability, but in reality, it’s your soft skills that make the hard skills accessible and practicable in the real world. So, once you’ve mastered the tech skills, opportunities abound.
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