Software Skills Strategy Launch: Read the Highlights

The ESSA project proposes a new strategy to answer the increasing demand for software skills and professionals in the EU. Read the highlights of our launch event on February 10.

Europe has a deficit of ICT specialists[1] and the discrepancies between what software skills the market needs and what professionals can offer keep rising. The Software Skills Strategy for Europe will serve as a springboard to answer to the lack of software skills and professionals and develop an adequate training, education, and validation response.

On February 10, ESSA presented in exclusivity the Software Skills Strategy for Europe to more than 125 remote attendees — from the private and public sectors. We presented perspectives and expert recommendations to skill, upskill, and reskill individuals into high-demand professional software roles. It is relevant for any public and private organisation with a need for software skills but also extremely sensible for education and training providers who want to offer adequate learning pathways to boost people’s software skills.

Key takeaways to skill, upskill, and reskill individuals into high demand software roles

Here’s what you can take with you from the lively discussions and insightful presentations from our speakers:

  • The uptake of digital technologies is expected to accelerate alongside a greater need for specialised role profiles, cross-cutting occupations and skills. It is vital to ensure Europeans possess basic digital skills to enable access and participation into the labour market, social life, and society at large. Europe has a clear understanding of the role education and training must play in the acceleration of the digital transformation — especially in key areas such as software.

Sectoral approaches to skills and learning are paramount if we want to move from general principles to strategies and from strategies to concrete actions.” — CEDEFOP’s Head of Department for VET and Skills, Antonio Ranieri.

  • Today’s “software professionals need to possess a set of both profession-related and soft skills — so-called “power skills” said Ines Gergorić, Senior Adviser at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia. The ability to work in a team, interpersonal communication, and proficient use of the English language are among the most sought-after soft skills in the market. On top of that, problem-solving, critical thinking and self-management skills have also become particularly relevant in the context of emerging hybrid work models and ever-increasing teleworking. We are now moving from I-shaped professionals (one professional field) to T- and π-shaped professionals — professionals who have enlarged their knowledge and skills to one or more other professional fields.

ESSA’s Software Skills Strategy focuses on aligning the market needs with the educational offer.


  • Wanda Saabeel (Irish Computer Society) presented the multi-layers bridge between needs and availability of software skills. This drives the work to develop adequate training, education, and validation responses to the current (and future) software skills and professional shortages. It addresses the shared challenges to upskilling and reskilling, such as the lack of time for training, and promotes flexible and widely applicable learning.
  • Educating for professional software roles is about skilling, upskilling, and reskilling people through flexible and cooperation-based learning paths. Two interesting examples coming from the Netherlands (education institution) and Slovenia (company) show us how education can be reinvented, and training made more relevant to provide young professionals with the appropriate skills to thrive in the workplace. Gert van Hardeveld (University of Applied Sciences in Utrecht) has been piloting a new programme, using an agile SCRUM-based methodology, whereby students and young professionals learn by doing and working on real-world projects in line with the expectations and demands of today’s job market. Davorin Kopič (Zemanta) talked about the company’s Data Science Summer School which adopts a hands-on approach that gives students first-hand experience of how to apply data science and machine learning in the industry.

From strategy to concrete actions

  • The strategy is the basis for further work on the design of educational profiles (to be released in April 2022!), VET (Vocational Education and Training) curricula and programmes, and the certification and qualification frameworks. Keep in mind that this is only the beginning of something greater that will bring you guidance and ready-to-use materials to skill, upskill, and reskill people into the most needed software roles.
  • ESSA is also in the position to welcome new partnerships. Any public or private organisation who want to support this initiative by any means including cross-dissemination, visibility, piloting of the curricula and programmes, input on the project results — and more. If you are interested, get in touch at info(at)




  1. European Commission, Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology, 2030 digital compass: the European way for the digital decade, Publications Office, 2021,