25 Mar 2024
by Björn Schwarz

How technology can make tech more inclusive

While it might sound like a cliche, software is touching almost each and every aspect of our daily lives. It is slightly surprising that this is created by not more than 20-30m developers globally (https://www.griddynamics.com/blog/number-software-developers-world). 

Software developers are expensive  

While quantity might be an issue on its own if you want to develop software, developers are also quite expensive. The average salary for a Java Developer is £77,217 per year in London (https://uk.indeed.com/career/java-developer/salaries/London). It might obviously be a function of supply and demand, but it can also lead to highly experienced software engineers being tied down in coding when they could be more productive in areas like deep technology research.  

Software developers are in high demand 

Technology talent will be in high demand in the years to come. Despite widespread support for STEM, the UK currently faces a massive shortage of technology manpower (70% of UK companies are experiencing skills shortages https://www.robertwalters.co.uk/solving-the-uk-skills-shortage/technology-research.html) and with the widespread adoption of technologies like 5G (https://www.pwc.co.uk/press-room/press-releases/5G-technology-to-add-43bn-to-uk-gdp-by-2030.html), the demand is expected to grow considerably in the coming years. 

Software developers take long to train 

So why are there no more entrants into the sector? Part of the answer is that getting up to speed can take a long time, a year or even longer in the case of Java (https://medium.com/javarevisited/going-from-hello-world-to-multithreading-how-much-time-does-it-take-to-learn-java-2090eec3d510) - too long for prospective employers to invest in non-sector talent. 

Software developers are not very diverse 

On top of that, software development is not very diverse: 92% of developers globally identify as male (https://www.statista.com/statistics/1126823/worldwide-developer-gender/), have been around for a while (the average work experience for software developers in the UK is 16.1 years https://kruschecompany.com/software-developers-statistics-faqs/#What_is_the_gender_distribution_among_software_developers) and only 3% of UK tech workers identify as black (https://hired.com/uk/uk-tech-workplace-report/#black-tech-workers). 

Software development can be streamlined to make it cheaper, easier to get into and more diverse 

So, what to do – are the disruptors themselves ready for disruption? Raising salaries for a small circle of established developers will help individual companies (or poaching them from your competitors), but not address the wider issue. One way to help to solve the issue are low-code or even better zero-code platforms. While one of their main benefits being taunted is speed to market, they also make coding a lot more accessible. Most of these solutions have graphical interfaces and drag-and-drop functionalities, so easier to use than traditional line-by-line coding. Users can also get up to speed a lot quicker. Apto.ai’s solution takes 2-4 weeks to learn, a timeframe that individuals and/or their employers can afford. This also offers the opportunity for non-tech talent to enter the sector without studying computer science or related subjects, so individuals can enter the tech sector at a later stage in their life as well, e.g. coming back from childcare. With lower investment, there is less at stake should things not work out – talent from non-traditional tech backgrounds will be easier to persuade to enter the sector. 

The only challenge is to provide a framework that can certify this knowledge outside of traditional university education or costly executive education. It should be a widely recognized institution that is known outside the tech sector. This framework could also include training providers and prospective employers who could offer a package including work experience, turning this into a mini apprenticeship.  

Even for tech’s problems, technology can offer a solution. 

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Björn Schwarz

Björn Schwarz

Managing Director, Apto.ai

Björn Schwarz is the Managing Director of Apto.ai, a no-code development platform for Java and ReactJs that allows users to download generated code without any restrictions