Coding Goes to Class: Why a C+(+) Won’t Cut It Anymore
Coding is set to become mandatory in some elementary schools. Even organizations like the Girl Scouts are rolling out STEM programs with badges for robotics and computer code and Ivy League institutions are implementing coding bootcamps.
The upshot? In 2019, companies are looking to jump the IT skills gap by hiring code experts. From Java to Golang to R, Swift, and C++, programming knowledge is now a priority. For IT professionals, this means passing familiarity won't make the cut — multiple code competency marks the passing grade.
Rebooting the Revolution
Software is still eating the world — the meal just got bigger. Why? Because desktop applications alone are no longer enough for businesses to stay competitive. Now, organizations need a combination of in-house apps, mobile-native solutions, and cloud-based software to ensure they aren’t left behind.
The push for cloud and mobile-native applications, however, prompted both a rise in more user-friendly, GUI-driven code languages along with a sudden demand for coding pros who could leverage whatever they had available to design, test, and secure new apps. The result is hardly surprising. Data from Cybersecurity Ventures suggests there will be 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs by 2021.
And while companies are now making more time for existing staff training and certification, there's also a focus on up-and-coming IT experts that can help reboot the revolution before the need for apps overtakes even forward-thinking enterprises' ability to stay ahead of the curve.
Solving the code conundrum means starting small by deploying digital literacy classes for elementary-aged children. While they won't be taking on hackers next week (or next year), this type of STEM-focused foundation can help boost the number of IT enrollments down the line.
Meanwhile, the Girl Scouts have created a new set of badges designed to help boost the profile of STEM's most underrepresented group – women. By giving girls the chance to code from a young age, programs like these have the chance to boost IT numbers. Right now, just 18 percent of all bachelor's degrees in computer science degrees are earned by women.
Also in the pipeline? As noted by the Chronicle of Higher Education, Ivy-league schools such as Yale are now putting code front-and-center with a two-credit web development course that may count toward undergrad distribution requirements.
Programming in Practice
It's one thing to consider the high-level of impact of new coding expectations, but what does this look like for businesses day-to-day? First is the need to prioritize in-demand coding skills. These include 2019 up-and-comer Python along with mainstays like Java, C++, Golang and R.
Organizations must also recognize that with shifting STEM skill sets come evolving employees. According to MIT Technology Review, schools like Texas A&M are pairing students with AI infosec systems to combat security threats, even as corporations roll out mobile training trucks and hand-picked apprenticeship programs for promising post-grads.
The result? A generation of coders raised on mobile devices and tempered by intelligent AI entering a marketplace where their skills are in demand. As noted by Beta News, this means they may not look or learn like typical IT staff, forcing companies to focus on existing IT gaps, rather than long-held expectations, to stem the cyber shortage.
Cracking the Code
There's no mystery here: Companies need experienced, expert coders to empower app development and respond to evolving threats. Good enough won't cut it. Organizations must embrace the new STEM workstream to source great talent and drive long-term IT success.