Is the UK tech industry growing? Short answer? Yes, it is. The critical thing to know, for anyone looking to get into software development and coding, or those looking to increase their skills in those areas, is that there continues to be a projected shortage of software engineers in the coming years. And that’s a shortage which you can potentially fill…
In January of this year, according to jobs site CV-Library, the number of advertised positions in the IT industry rose by a substantial 72.5 per cent. OK, so January is usually a busy month for jobs to be advertised. However, it still shows that the UK is hungry for IT skills and those with those skills. Even in a jobs market that’s slowing a little, software development and general IT skills are hugely in demand. A recent report by KPMG UK said: “While hiring continued at pace across most areas of the economy, it is clear that the tech industry is suffering from a skills shortage, with recruiters struggling to meet demand for roles.”
What areas are growing in the UK Tech Industry?
The areas that are expanding the most quickly are data analysis (demand for which rose by a massive 78 per cent in 2017 alone), mobile technology (28 per cent) and cloud computing (30 per cent).
A survey by the business intelligence company, Domo, found that 71 per cent of senior executives thought that their business could be at risk of losing revenues because of the skills gap in IT and software development. This is common among many businesses and the global technology company, Accenture, estimates that 14 G20 countries could lose up to $11.5 trillion in potential revenues by 2028 if they don’t secure enough digitally skilled talent.
What do software developers earn?
This drive for software developers and digitally skilled staff means that salaries for these workers are continuing to climb steadily. The Hays Recruitment Salary Guide for 2019 suggests that Junior Developers are earning between £30,000 and £40,000 per annum in London. They also indicate that junior salaries can be as high as £35,000 in the rest of England. Whereas software architects are demanding salaries of between £62,000 and £90,000 per annum in the UK.
What about automation, though? The rise and rise of machine intelligence, machine learning, artificial intelligence — call it what you will — is often cited as a potential Armageddon when it comes to employment. After all, if machines and computers can be designed that are as smart as us, why do we need us anymore?
Well, the good news is that we’re not there yet. The BBC estimates that two-thirds of all jobs are at risk of becoming automated. The fact is that it’s not that simple. According to a report in Forbes magazine, jobs that become automated don’t necessarily become entirely automated in one go. The process is slower than that, giving the jobs market time to adjust. On top of which, the drive for greater automation effectively creates new jobs — especially in the IT and software fields — as unexpected or unforeseen roadblocks occur.
Autonomous car development is a good example. According to Takeo Kanade, a professor of robotics at Carnegie Mellon University, we can teach a computer what a road looks like, what a car looks like, but: “The technology has to be able to understand what the world is doing around them. For example, is that person actually going to cross the road in front of them, or not?”
Skills shortage continues to grow
The current skills shortage in the IT and software development sector in the UK tech industry is set to continue to grow. Right now there are not enough developers to meet the demand. This supply and demand issue creates a huge opportunity for those looking for a career change to the sector. As for automation? Automation is all about software, and creating software that’s better, faster, and less prone to error. Which means that software engineering work isn’t going to dry up any time soon!