As artificial intelligence (AI) permeates through every aspect of business, a skills crisis among the software development industry continues.
IT Europa attended the Qt World Summit in Berlin this week. Data from the software development services provider shows that coding and software quality assurance skills remain a priority for businesses, as the global economy emerges from a business downturn.
Qt Group analysed the number of vacancies for “software development”, “software testing”, “software engineering”, and “quality assurance” positions at 30 tech companies that have made the most redundancies this year.
In total, 166,260 were laid off during the time period of analysis, according to layoffs.fyi, yet 23,430 developer-related vacancies remain unfilled on the companies’ websites.
For example, one major tech employer made 27,410 redundancies, but still had 5,440 software development-focused roles advertised on its website as of 15 November, 2023.
“The developer skills gap has been well-documented, but with so many tech companies forced into making redundancies across the business, the requirement for developer talent is as urgent as ever,” said JuhaPekka Niemi, senior vice president, product management at Qt Group. “Despite an uncertain economic market, companies are still looking for, and struggling to recruit developer talent.
“To mitigate the skills shortage, companies must act now to refine their design and development process, and improve efficiency by harnessing cross-platform development frameworks and quality assurance tools.”
Over 90% of developers are said to use AI-powered coding tools at work, but developer skills remain in high demand even as AI adoption increases.
Aleksina Shemeikka, director of operational development at Qt, told hundreds of World Summit attendees (developers at companies selling to and working at the some of the world’s biggest brands): “AI can generate more code, but does it mean better quality? - no. You have to check it more for quality.
“We love the opportunities created by generative AI, but you need the systems to check the code created earlier. You don’t want to find flaws when you’re about to release it.”
You need to know what you have tested, and what you haven’t tested automatically, she emphasised.
IT Europa also attended BMC Software’s Connect conference in London this week, and AI was, as expected, a leading theme. Ram Chakravarti, BMC chief technology officer, agreed in a press briefing that there was a bit of AI-washing going on. Most of the AI business use cases being touted at the moment stem from the machine learning and big data analytics we were talking about 20 years ago.
Chakravarti said: “With AI, you have to know what problem are you trying to solve. If there is no improvement of magnitude, don’t bother. Do the assessments and make sure you have the right data.
“To consider AI, go to two vendors, the software vendor, and the implementation partner. A large percentage improvement must be demonstrated, otherwise don’t do it.”
He added: “Customers usually need help with AI, unless they have their own ‘data stewards’, as a vendor you can’t force them to do it.”
BMC is, however, building out its AI capabilities with its growing AI innovation labs, with BMC developers keen to work on generative AI projects. “They all get a tour of duty”, said Chakravarti.
More from the Qt World Summit and BMC Connect event to follow...