Mighty Oaks from Little Acorns Grow

Darren Harper
Commercial Adviser

I was recently introduced to an article entitled ‘Inequality is normal: Dominance of the big trees’, which strangely resonated with our business mission.

Big trees provide functions that cannot be duplicated by small or medium-sized trees. They provide unique habitat, and strongly influence the forest around them.

- Jim Lutz, Assistant Professor at Utah State University

Where am I going with this?

I believe the rapid evolution of software utilisation across all aspects of our life has led to demand significantly outstripping supply, with not enough seasoned software engineers (big trees) to go around.

If you indulge me with my analogy, we can see extensive ‘planting’ initiatives to address the issue, with the explosion of coding academies catering for the increasing demand of software developers. This is fantastic news, however coding alone is not enough!

The next two quotes hopefully cement my thinking:

Big trees are special. They take a long time to regrow if they are eliminated from a forest. Making sure that we conserve some big trees in forests can promote and maintain all the benefits that forests provide to us.

- Jim Lutz, Assistant Professor at Utah State University

The software engineering shortage is not a lack of individuals calling themselves “engineers”, the shortage is one of quality - a lack of well-studied, experienced engineers with a formal and deep understanding of software engineering.

- Forrester Predictions Report, 2018

In our humble opinion, being a good engineer is about more than being able to simply code. In order to master the craft of software engineering, understanding requirements, design, computational complexity, security, and testing; to name but a few crucial areas, are essential. Add to this list the vital softer skills in client interaction and team theory, and you start to get an idea of the size of the chasm between recently graduated developers, and the requirements of the businesses employing them.

Nurturing Mighty Oaks - The Next Level Initiative

Our mission is to significantly de-risk software development for our clients, by inserting a ready made team that will develop their software, and developing their future team.

We are recruiting the next generation of developers from our academy, and institutional, partners and baking them directly into our cross-disciplined client delivery teams.

Nurtured in our mature ecosystem, these individuals will:

  • Be actively mentored by our highly experienced engineers (our own mighty oaks) as part of a blended client project delivery team.
  • Receive additional onsite training and tailored workshops from key figures in the industry.
  • Be supported to pursue personal projects - a vital instrument for developer learning - providing the freedom to truly explore a topic.

We believe clients should have the freedom to reward and retain key individuals that have become an integral part of their business growth and success. Therefore, upon graduation from our initiative, and at the agreed point at which the rest of our team transitions out, the client can directly hire our emerging software engineers, with no strings or commissions.

Why should organisations care about this issue?

Technology is changing constantly, and it’s changing fast. Organisations will need to readily, and willingly, invest in their technical talent; to not only maintain competitive advantage, but to ensure they have enough mighty oaks to sustain their rapidly growing and changing environment.

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