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Lack of Software Engineers Bears Risks

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Although many products and solutions increasingly leverage software as an essential fundament, software engineers are becoming a rare species in Western countries. The problem with scarce availability of well-educated software engineers is that many companies require more engineers then they can get and if that gap widens, this could damage the leading edge of some companies.

In The Telegraph issue from the 12th of August one of the headlines has been “Lack of software engineering talent 'could derail London’s Tech City'”. In this news story, Joe Cohen an entrepreneur talks about the world-class technology cluster in East London that wants to compete with Silicon Valley, but suffers from a lack of software engineering talent. Especially, engineers who could be the founders of the next Google or Facebook kind of success stories.

Other countries in Europe are having a similar problem. In Switzerland, the number of students in computer science is the same than 20 years ago, which was recently mentioned in the Tages Anzeiger. Germany reveals a lack of experts in the so-called MINT disciplines (Mathematics, Information technology, Natural Sciences, Technology) where approximately 120000 experts are sought by companies as 3SAT, a TV broadcasting channel recently reported.

Even the highly attractive locations like Silicon Valley suffer from a shortage of qualified engineers as the New York Times explained in an article. In this case, there are software engineers available but not with the skill set the companies are looking for.

While countries in Europe or North America hardly create a few thousand software engineers per year, Asian countries like China or India are educating hundreds of thousands skilled experts every year.

In London, another challenge are the inherent problems of the existing education systems and governments

so it’s the duty of technology firms to mobilise resources to provide training, structure and work experience.

Thus, Devcamp was initiated by different local companies which basically provides a series of training workshops to young students to help them develop apps for smart phones, the Web, or Facebook.

As a conclusion, companies and governments should spend more efforts in increasing the number of students in software engineering. Although engineers receive relatively high salaries, software engineering seems to have a bad reputation with respect to young people, especially by females. Mainly, because there is no clear profile of the software engineer’s job other than the illusion of technology-addicted nerds that love to program day and night. It is not obvious, how interesting and diverse software engineering jobs are, requiring a lot of interaction with people.

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