Analyst Watch: Foster development-related education

by Joseph K. Clark

As digital transformation initiatives accelerate, so does the intensity with which employees attempt to acquire coding and digital literacy skills. For example, IDC data forecasts that the population of part-time developers, defined as professional resources who perform development-related work even though they do not have the job title of the developer, will increase with a CAGR that significantly exceeds that of their full-time counterparts. Examples of part-time developers include storage engineers, database developers, data scientists, and business analysts.

An important subset of part-time developers is the set of LOB developers, defined as LOB professionals who perform development-related work and practices to improve the quality of their professional careers. According to IDC developer research, the growth of LOB developers will outpace part-time developers because of the rapid maturation of low-code and no-code development platforms. In addition, the growth of the LOB developer population will be driven by the urgency of business needs to introduce more digitization, analytics, and automation to the business processes and workstreams managed by LOB professionals.

This increase in development-related skills by LOB developers is also attributable to the rapid maturation of an educational ecosystem that democratizes access to development-related education. Now, more than ever, anyone interested in learning to code can do so from their laptop using online courses.


While the ecosystem of online courses, video content, and tutorials provide LOB developers with a rich set of options for acquiring development-related skills, the broader question about development-related education is whether current needs for development skills require a more radical transformation of our educational infrastructure and curricula. Put differently, does the current demand for technology and development-related skills require the infusion of coding-related education more deeply into teaching high school and college students? The need for LOB developers to acquire development skills illustrates a labor force that failed to develop coding and application-building capabilities during their formative educational

years. Today, the pace of digital transformation is such that even business professionals must obtain development skills to understand how processes are digitized and to what degree. As such, U.S. high schools and universities would do well to rethink how best to educate an aspiring workforce requiring a heightened degree of digital literacy and skills for all graduates, not just those who plan to become professional developers, engineers, scientists,s and mathematicians.

One way for U.S. high schools and universities to empower graduates to design and build digital solutions is to foreground educational platforms that offer students the ability to develop and refine capabilities to design and build digital solutions. This may involve platforms other than the famous Microsoft Office Suite of applications or Google Apps,it’ss analog. In other words, students would do well to have the opportunity to build digital solutions that simulate classical physics, cellular biology,y or inorganic and organic chemistry. Similarly, literature students can use digital platforms to perform analytics on textual objects, either by sentiment analysis or custom correlative analytics that empower students to understand how a literary trope or character remains intact, changes, changes,s or performs something in between.

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