The IT industry is becoming is growing ever so quickly, and so the demand for people with IT knowledge grows with it. Unfortunately, the supply is severely lacking. According to a 2012 report by US President Barack Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, there will be an estimated shortfall of about 1 million people within STEM-related jobs over the next decade.
Microsoft is currently competing fiercely with the likes of Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook among others to attract the best computer-science graduates from top schools such as MIT, Stanford, Harvard and more. But those at the company have asked themselves about the possibility of finding untapped potential elsewhere.
“That is the hurdle the U.S. IT industry needs to leap– finding new ways to discover and train people who have the aptitude for IT, and a desire to learn it, but for many reasons haven’t cracked the code on how to get into IT.” – Alison Cunard, General Manager of Learning Experiences, Microsoft.
At a recent IT Jobs Roundtable held at the White House that Microsoft took part in, creative ideas were thrown around about how the US could increase the number of people working in STEM-related jobs. Microsoft itself has been pushing to convert army veterans into coders with its MSSA program. New companies have also popped up recently with the sole purpose of identifying specific IT gaps within companies and helping them fill it with the right personnel.
“Year-old Launchcode, for instance, is a St. Louis-based startup (started by the founder of Square) that works with companies to assess their IT skills gaps, then quickly trains prospective employees and places them as paid apprentices. After 90 days, some 90+ percent of Launchcode trainees are hired by their host companies. And these are candidates who didn’t have an IT “pedigree.”” – Cunard
Although the scale of recruitment is a problem that Microsoft has identified, and existing programs may successfully provide a few hundred people after training them for about a year, the software giant insists that this is not fast enough, and that new ways should be developed to quicken this process.
“We have a shortfall of a million people, and some of the innovative accelerated programs we’re seeing today are successful in terms of getting 100, 200, 300 people trained. That’s great, but it’s not enough. In the IT world, we need to think of ways to find people with talent – hundreds of thousands of them – and get them the training they need in months, not years.” - Cunard
It’s clear that the way IT companies like Microsoft, and even non-IT companies that require some form of IT solutions are changing the way they pursue potential employees and finding hidden talent. Microsoft has a presence at education institutions around the world including high schools and community colleges where “people build skills but maybe don’t earn the name recognition of a Stanford degree”, as all people need is an opportunity to enter the world of IT. Once in, they will only learn and grow.