The time has come. Experienced professional developers of yesteryears are hanging up their hats and opting to retire. While these seasoned programmers gear up for the sun and sands, the companies that depend on them are bracing for a technical and IT skills shortage.
Every year of every decade that has passed, legacy systems have been updated. The majority of these complex applications do not have documentation and there are a very small number of developers left who have an understanding of the business rules. There is heavy dependence on core mainframe programmers and IT leaders are concerned. Keeping in line with industry views, there is an urgent need for the IT workforce to develop their competencies to use emerging technology and support digital initiatives.
As technology becomes outdated so does the skill set of professionals who use it. Finding professionals with specialized skill sets to maintain legacy systems is another challenge that companies are facing. The tech talent shortage goes beyond a particular role. There is an overall shortfall of knowledgeable professionals who know how to code, be it developing back-end mobile applications to cloud-computing platforms. Paying top dollar to outsource support for legacy IT systems is no longer a viable option.
In a time of Digital Darwinism, technology is changing at a pace faster than users can grasp. In the Future of Jobs Report by the World Economic Forum, by 2022 more than half of the employees (54%) will require reskilling or the skill gap to adopt digital technologies will only grow beyond a point resolution. Given that the speed of change in technology adoption is inevitable, IT professionals have no choice but to shape up or ship out.
Is the tech talent shortage driving application modernization?
Given that modernization has become imperative in the IT-powered business world, there is an increasing pressure to adopt emerging technology and modernize legacy systems. Several industry reports mention how the access to better development tools, technologies and services, make developers more productive. By modernizing existing legacy systems engineering teams can become more efficient and the time-to-market can be improved.
There are many reasons why companies choose to modernize, from reducing the cost of maintaining legacy systems to responding to pressure that the competition presents. An interesting factor driving application modernization is the shortage of tech talent. With the lack of specialized resources, emerging technology such as low-code platforms are helping enterprises deliver more with less, here’s how:
- Enables upskilling of existing teams – Rapid application development platforms provide exposure to professional development teams. By encouraging them to work on different types of technologies, frameworks, tools, and languages, programmers can upskill to become full-stack developers using low-code platforms.
- Reduces dependencies on specialist roles – An application development which normally requires at least ten different types of developers can now be done by using just four developers. Traditional software and application development requires developers with specific skills such as UI designers and developers, UX experts, backend, database, and mobile developers, DevOps and quality analysts. In contrast, low-code application development does not depend on specialist roles. Working towards building smaller and agile teams, low-code development requires fewer resources such as a UI expert, a full-stack developer, DevOps and quality analyst.
- Provides a self-service solution for more innovation – The 2019 Harvey Nash / KPMG CIO Survey speaks of how technical professionals above everything else (job security and salary), prefer learning new skills and the challenge of innovative projects. Low-code development platforms give application development and IT teams more control and ownership over development projects. As the platform does all the heavy lifting by managing time-consuming tasks, developers can get the bandwidth to focus on innovation.
The hard fact of the matter is that regardless of the problem the solution seems to include technology. By democratizing technology, low-code platforms are nurturing agile teams and transforming the IT workforce from “doers to enablers”. Given the paucity of tech talent, low-code platforms help to close the gap between the increasing demand for enterprise applications and the technical resources to develop them.
With digital transformation becoming mainstream, application modernization is gaining speed. Whether the objective of application development and modernization is to make money (line-of-business users), or it is to save money (C-level executives), or whether the shortage of tech talent is driving modernization, it has become a critical necessity, and low-code platforms have become an integral solution.