- More than half of students say they have acquired their skills at least partially by self-teaching methods, according to a HackerRank survey of more than 10,000 student developers. This, the study asserts, indicates that computer science programs have not kept pace with advancing technology, which has caused students to rely on themselves as teachers. More than a quarter of respondents said they are completely self-taught. Almost three-quarters of respondents said they rely on YouTube to learn, versus 64% of professional developers.
- Students revealed they're interested most in jobs with professional growth and learning, coming in at 58% of those surveyed. Work/life balance was a second choice at 52% and having interesting problems to solve came in at 46%. Wages and perks were lower on the list than growth.
The widening skills gap for tech-fluent workers is putting the pressure on employers, educators and the government. With more than half a million open computer science jobs in the U.S. and less than 50,000 computer science graduates per year, supply is not meeting demand. Demand for workers with tech skills or computer science degrees is making it challenging for businesses to maintain head count.
Institutions looking to bridge the gap are tapping learning initiatives as a possible solution. As the study suggests, students don't have to be inside a classroom to learn; programs held within workplaces, community centers and even online forums can prove just as helpful as a college degree.
Some tech-based companies are looking to provide training at no- or low-cost to anyone interested in learning. Facebook, for example, partnered with the national Urban League to offer digital skills training to small businesses and non-profits.
Cognizant Technology's U.S. Foundation awarded a New York City-based non-profit a $2 million grant to create a digital skills training program for local workers. Another grant aims to help students remain in school despite unforeseen financial emergencies.
In some sectors not traditionally associated with tech fluency, lack of skilled workers may even be stifling growth in the industry. The construction field, for example, has adopted more tech to assist with building and engineering, but workers haven't kept pace with their technology needs. For many, on-the-job training is the only way to upskill to meet demand.