Growing vacancies requiring graduates with coding skills – IT degree not necessary

TechCity Futures was a report launched at the recent Digital Shoreditch festival, and those of you with a keen eye will have spotted some reports about it in the Evening Standard and also all over online tech related websites.

One of the key thrusts of the survey (around 141 founders/senior staff based in East London’s Technology Cluster responded), was the skills shortage on the technical side of the businesses holding back future growth.

This isn’t news to me, as over the last 6 or so years of working in the graduate market the most common concern I hear from organisations of all sizes is that they can’t find people, at any level to fulfil the needs of the technical sides of the business.

My team within the Careers & Enterprise Centre handles internships and temporary roles with a range of organisations, and coding/ web development is the number one requirement we see.

The issue with the lack of technical skills in the labour market is a difficult one to unpick. We can lay the blame at almost everyone’s door from Schools and Universities to the employers themselves who aren’t willing/able to invest in training for a promising Intern or junior staff member, but what can you ‘the graduate job hunter’ do to build your skills?

A few weeks ago, I spat out my cornflakes as someone on BBC Breakfast said that this shortage could be fixed by graduates ‘retraining’ as coders as though it is dead easy to learn a new language from scratch when you are trying to make ends meet, but it did make me look at some of the resources you can use to accentuate skills you may already have. Remember you don’t necessarily need to have studied a technical degree, but can use coding / web skills to enhance your existing creativity, research and writing knowledge, giving you access to a broader range of vacancies.

Freeformers run sessions on how to code using Facebook apps. We’ve run a session here at QMUL, and we plan on running more in the new academic year.

You can watch a video about it here.

If you can’t spend a day at the moment then there are also things like Code Academy where you can learn a range of skills at your own pace.

These are just three options and there are loads of different free and pricey options out there.

Now there’s no point in pretending that if you do these you will be an ace coder and waltz into a job, there will be a lot of work for you to do, but it could be a good thing  to try!

James Weaver
Employer Engagement Manager
QM Careers & Enterprise Centre

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