The January 2016 Dice Report on employment trends notes that while tech job hiring is up, software developers are still the most difficult talent to recruit. In fact, it’s projected by Code.org that by 2020, there will be a shortage of 1M developers.
Efforts are being made across the spectrum to conquer this skills gap. In fact, disruptive models of education are leading the charge—from free, self-help resources such as CodeAcademy and Udacity to coding bootcamps like Tech Elevator, Dev Bootcamp, Software Guild and Hack Reactor. These DIY modes have quickly moved into the mainstream and are seen as viable pathways to employment, between recent endorsements from the White House to a recent Stack Overflow study of 56,000 software developers, which found that that 69 percent of this class if employees are at least somewhat self-taught.
In a welcome twist, these bootcamps have also begun to erode the white male dominance of the coding world. Software developers now have a variety of backgrounds and are far more diverse than they used to be. In fact, the 2015 Course Report about coding bootcamp alumni found “the typical attendee is 31 years old, has 7.6 years of work experience, has at least a Bachelor’s degree, and has never worked as a programmer.” Moreover, 36 percent of students who attend bootcamps are female.
And even more important, those who successfully complete a bootcamp get well-paying jobs: On average, grads see a 38% salary increase, a figure equal to $18,0000. Perhaps surprisingly, the alums who saw the biggest salary increase after attending a bootcamp were students who majored in music as undergrads. As it turns out, musicality seems to be a powerful predictor of coding success. “The greatest scientists are artists as well,” the genius Albert Einstein once said, but why are musicians uniquely suited to be software developers?
First, thanks to their performance background, attention to detail, and innate need to perfect their parts, musicians tend to be analytical, logical and methodical—skills that the best coders also possess. “There seems to be a high correlation between musical ability and reasoning skills,” Terry Skwarek, the director of SharePoint administration at DePaul University, once told CNN. “It has to do with recognizing and manipulating patterns. That happens in music and in programming.”