As everyone who’s recently tried to hire developers or interaction designers knows, there’s an acute talent shortage in the US. This should be worrisome to everyone, given the importance of software to nearly all aspects of the economy, but is especially troubling for firms like Atomic Object that provide innovation services in software product development. And of course it matters greatly to companies seeking to innovate through software. A recent article in Forbes goes so far as to say that we’re seeing the rise of Developeronomics, an economic system based on the critical need for software and the scarcity of development talent.
The market is beginning to react to the disparity between supply and demand with new forms of training and education. Universities still matter, I believe, and I’m sure they are trying to increase their output, but there are a host of creative new attempts to address the shortage. Some are aimed at particular sorts of people, some are designed to address the perceived shortcomings of a computer science degree.
Here are a few of the new programs, all for development, I’ve heard about in the last month. I’m much less familiar with training programs for interaction design, but I guess there must be something brewing there, too.
Craftsmanship Academy is an intense 6 month training program, followed by a one year apprenticeship. Ken Auer has been mentoring and training developers for years. It seems that Craftsmanship Academy is a formalization of this work.
The governor of the State of Michigan, Rick Snyder, recently announced that the State will be developing a program to train programmers and piloting it in three cities. The Shifting Code program is run by the Michigan Economic Development Program and is a recognition of the fact that the talent shortage is hurting our economy. No details yet on this one.
Jen Meyers spoke about Girl Develop It at the SCNA conference this year. GDI trains women in programming. Given the paucity of women in university programs, this grass roots, bootstrapped effort is going after the 50% of the population that is nearly lost to the profession.
The software craftsmen at 8th Light have a very strong and well-defined apprentice program. I’m not sure on the details, but I know these guys and know how seriously they take their apprentice program. People accepted into it are very lucky.
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