The technology sector is the fastest-growing part of the American economy. Companies from every industry are rapidly integrating new technologies into their operations, and as those technologies become embedded in, and essential to every firm, the demand for workers with technical skills will only accelerate.
But American universities don’t produce the volume of technical workers needed to meet the demands of the new economy. According to one estimate, tech companies posted 3.9 million tech jobs in 2019, while universities produced just 65,000 computer science graduates. And the volume of candidates isn’t the only issue. Software and web development are constantly evolving specialties that require frequent reskilling and upskilling. It’s difficult to expect universities and their faculties to stay apprised of these constant changes and update their curriculum fast enough to keep up.
Alternative education vendors and credentials are only just beginning to emerge and scale. In the meantime, the inability of traditional educational institutions to meet the demand for skilled workers has created an ever-growing skills gap. According to the research and advisory firm Gartner, nearly a third of all job openings in critical roles go unfilled for 5 months. Bloomberg recently reported that “fifty percent of firms had job openings they could not fill last month (August 2021).” And the Los Angeles-based consultancy Korn Ferry estimates that the American technology sector will face a talent shortage of approximately 4.3 million workers by 2030.
Not Just A Skills Gap
But the skills gap is just part of the story, seen through the lens of firms seeking talent. Millions of unemployed and underemployed Americans send countless resumes out into the digital ether and get almost no response from employers. Often, the responses they do get tell them their skills and qualifications aren’t a “match” for the role. Bright and eager individuals who invested in expensive college degrees or bootcamp certificates believing these credentials would help them secure good jobs are left languishing in unchallenging and under-compensated work.
Job seekers without the exact competencies employers want face under-appreciated challenges and constraints. People working paycheck to paycheck often don’t have the time or means to pursue new educational or job opportunities. If they do invest in more education or training, they have to make sense of the cacophony of education vendors that all claim to deliver the credentials they need. And for those who have already taken on education debt for credentials that didn’t lead to a good job, the prospect of additional investment in education is risky.
There is no shortage of talented people who want challenging work and upward mobility, but they need career pathways they can realistically pursue. Job seekers not only need educational options they can afford, but options that are concretely related to in-demand roles. They also need reliable career resources, professional networks, mentors, and ideally, a chance to get their foot in the door to learn on the job.
Let’s face it. Our economy doesn’t just have a skills gap, it also has an opportunity gap, and organizations in need of skilled talent must take a more proactive role in bridging these gaps. Firms need to create entry points and onramps for talented people who possess the right traits to learn the harder skills they need. They shouldn’t place one hundred percent of the burden of acquiring skills on the job seeker. And larger companies especially shouldn’t expect all their talent needs to be met in simple labor market transactions. This is passive, not proactive.
Bridging The Skills & Opportunity Gap
Apprenticeship programs are fast becoming a key pipeline for companies to cultivate the diverse talent they need. Successful technology companies know that to innovate and keep pace with advancements in web development, artificial intelligence, and other technologies, they need to update their workforce development strategies. They know that building diverse workforces that reflect a diverse customer base requires a broad talent acquisition strategy.
While many tech companies are building their own apprenticeship programs to help address their talent needs, not all companies have the infrastructure to create in-house programs. That’s where intermediary apprenticeship programs like DevPipeline come in. DevPipeline executes candidate recruitment, designs the curriculum, provides the training and mentorship, and takes care of all the necessary certifications. For firms without the time or human resource capacity to provide hands-on training and mentorship, programs like DevPipeline can step in to bridge the gap.
DevPipeline provides skills training and first opportunities to hungry, teachable individuals looking to break into tech. Fifteen fearless interns are currently receiving foundational training and will be eligible for employment with DevPipeline or their Employer Partners this December. The DevPipeline approach provides training in the following areas:
- Soft Skills – Key attributes we cover include: communication, teamwork, collaboration, and emotional intelligence
- Coding Foundations – Covers the skills that are common across languages and frameworks. Apprentices learn how to learn like a developer.
- Tools, Technology, Process – Apprentices learn the tools that help them manage time, communication, projects. They learn how to operate productively in an agile working environment, how to map out their days and weeks as developers. and best practices for accelerating their skill development.
Is your company looking to broaden your talent pipeline, but you don’t have the wherewithal to build your own apprenticeship program? Workforce development programs like DevPipeline allow firms to cultivate the web development and engineering talent they need and to observe apprentices building skills on real projects, without designing and executing the program themselves.
Corporate partners, nonprofits, philanthropists, impact investors, and government agencies are working together to help solve the tech talent shortage and change the lives of job-seekers across the country. To learn more about DevPipeline’s web development apprenticeship programs, visit devpipeline.com. You can also contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org!