Presentation I Key Findings 2021 Needs Analysis Report

Europe’s Most Needed Software Roles and Skills report offers you a deep dive into software skills and roles. Here below are the key findings of the extensive research where we studied the literature, job vacancies, labour market reports and databases. And to complete it, we also conducted a questionnaire and expert focus groups.

Findings literature review

  • Most new skills require a foundation in core ‘traditional’ software skills
  • Soft skills: the ability to work in —diverse— team (i.e., agile), customer focus, innovation
  • Profession-related skills: this is a weakness, little on ethics, some on business skills
  • Influence of the changing work context (e.g., safety of critical large embedded systems)
  • Software developers have a responsibility towards society (conflicting obligations)
  • New skills and work contexts should mean new approaches to teaching
  • Subjects (e.g., agile) are often taught but not well: “appearances can be deceiving”
  • Importance of skill or competence frameworks to guide curricula development

Findings job vacancies

  • Within the selected profiles, the most looked for one is Developer (31 %)
  • For most profiles, the required years of experience is not specified (43 %)
  • Job level: mostly on intermediate level (33 %)
  • Most job vacancies are from large companies (40 %)

Findings labour market reports

  • Importance of soft skills is increasing
  • Number of difficulties faced recruiting ICT professionals is increasing
  • Number of “must-have” requirements is increasing (5,5 in 2019 VS. 6,2 in 2020)
  • IT industry is in some countries one of top 3 most attractive industries (salary levels, stability, security), e.g., Romania
  • Some countries are strategically investing in methods to attract ICT professionals from abroad (e.g., Ireland, Estonia)
  • A lot of data about the importance of cybersecurity

Findings expert groups (roles)

  • Important to move from “I“-shaped specialists to “T“-shaped and “Pi“-shaped professionals
  • Life expectancy of roles is questionable, hence the importance of lifelong learning, developing new competencies
  • Interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary teams are crucial
  • The fusion of capabilities is becoming increasingly relevant
  • Demand for a combination of technical and nontechnical roles

Findings expert groups (skills)

1. Hard skills

  • Focus on increasing complexity on safety and security, ethics in the software field, connection to industry
  • Focus on users and customers, and technology

2. Soft skills

  • Cognitive skills, creative and analytical thinking, self-directing, motivation
  • Cooperation, utilising empathy, storytelling
  • Ability to “sell” the solution concept internally (communication, presentation and negotiation)

Findings expert groups (learning)

  • Lifelong learning (at own pace: micro credentials, nanodegrees)
  • More emphasis on upskilling and reskilling (short programmes, short intensive training)
  • Modular programmes (flexibility, custom pathways)
  • Collaboration between universities and organisations (apprenticeships, corporate academies)
  • Providing students with real-life experiences, authentic tasks (developing soft skills, work-based learning)
  • Delivering strategies: experimental learning, gamification, peer-to-peer learning, storytelling
  • Knowledge of other domains, e.g., through elective courses, additional training

Findings questionnaire

  • There is and will be a lot of demand for developers
  • There is and will be little demand for digital media specialists
  • Profession-related skills like security management, project management are important but not as important as soft skills
  • Important are: Problem solving, critical thinking and self-management
  • And interpersonal skills: Teamwork, communication
  • The most important driver for training is new technical developments
  • Backlog in training primarily arises due to a lack of time (personnel and organisation)

Findings supply desk research

  • Programming and working with data structures/algorithms are common in learning programmes
  • Mostly “standard” languages (C, C++, C#, HTML, SQL); and in some cases Python, Ruby, etc.
  • Supply for DevOps skills is very limited at VET level
  • AI/machine learning skills are mostly found at master level
  • Almost no specific courses on documentation, project management and sustainability
  • Information on security management is included in specific courses
  • There is little attention paid to soft skills. They are not in learning programmes or only part of courses
  • At VET level, most of the transversal skills taught are communication and teamwork.
  • At bachelor or master level, an emphasis is put on critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity