Find your next developer from open source communities

Can developers with open-source experience fill an IT talent demand shortage?
16 October 2019

Open source backgrounds could provide the best developers. Source: Shutterstock

By 2020, US organizations can expect to see approximately 1 million computer programming jobs unfilled. With only 13.2 percent of high schools in the US offering AP computer science classes, the wide skills gap isn’t likely to close soon.

Meanwhile, demand for data scientists is rising as companies seek AI-based solutions to stay competitive. Demand is reflected in salary offers. Companies competing to hire and retain data experts are offering on average more than US$100,000, making it one of the most highly paid professions in the States.

For companies lacking the budget to hire or train in-house staff to fill the role, they may find themselves struggling with maintaining technological infrastructure or moving forward with plans for digitization.

Therefore, open source learning and further development of communities could be the solution to this gap.

An IBM grant to support open source communities such as Girls Who Code, a non-profit organization offering coding lessons for women in the US, is a step forward to filling in a shortage of software developers.

Reshma Saujani, Founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, said, “this grant will help close the gender gap in tech, and bring in new minds with new ideas.”

Strengths of open source community developers

Developers actively involved in open source projects are bound to have excellent collaborative skills as they are continuously working in teams (often remotely) to complete a project.

“If you are active at open source community then you will be able to keep up with the best software developers or even better, to collaborate with them on a project,” said Michael Mavris, a self-taught Mobile Developer at Stagedoor on Medium.

In this sense, self-discipline and passion are likely to drive developers to achieve project goals and ensure desired outcomes are met.

The independent setting often allows them to solve issues and are more likely to face challenges with more open-mindedness.

Besides that, contribution to open source projects keep developers abreast with the latest trends in the industry and are constantly developing their expertise.

Open source projects provide opportunities for both novice and professional developers to sharpen their coding skills. In particular, developers with a beginner’s level can gain feedback from more experienced programmers and experience first-hand the challenges and thrills of completing a program from scratch.

The sort of exposure developers gain from open source projects will help them stand out from other applicants and become valuable assets in organizations.

Hence, the next generation of developers may be found in open source projects. But, like IBM is doing, businesses should look at ways to help these communities thrive, and encourage ways of working that allow them to continue to pursue their interests in open source while contributing their organic talent to organizations.