According to the 2019 ‘Scotland’s Digital Technologies’ report , the tech sector contributed £4.9bn Gross Value Added (GVA) to the Scottish economy, trailing only the energy and food and drink sectors. The GVA per head figure for the tech sector was 40% higher than the average for the economy.
There has been a lot of investment by the government and Scottish enterprise who have incentivised many businesses to grow their technology presence. To cope with the demand for talent, CodeClan, a digital skills and coding academy was set up in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness to help combat the skills shortages and augment the yearly intake of graduate talent, particularly for web development and software engineering jobs.
So what are the most sought after tech skills in Scotland? “In terms of specific roles, demand is buoyant across the full spectrum of software engineering, so traditional skills such as Java, .NET, SQL and Python are always in demand,” says Atif Hussain, Managing Consultant at Fyte. “As expected we’re seeing a lot of demand for cloud engineers as organisations go server less – AWS knowledge is high on the list of desirables, with GCP hot on its heels. There are however still a lot of businesses using the Microsoft Tech stack, so Azure would be their preference.”
Attracting top tech talent
According to the same Digital Scotland report, the most urgent skill requirement is in big data and data analytics, followed by AI and machine learning, IoT and virtual and augmented reality. One of the most in demand roles is that of the data scientist. “Given the importance of data to assess decision making and future investments, a track record in data science and data analytics is also highly prized,” continues Hussain. “Organisations are mainly considering people from STEM, computer or actuarial science backgrounds.”
But it’s not just subject matter knowledge that is important. Employers are also assessing for soft skills, notably the ability to articulate technical concepts. As Hussain explains, “It’s imperative that candidates can translate technical requirements for a non-technical audience. Hiring managers are looking for an aptitude to learn new tools and technologies, so be prepared to discuss new technologies you may have picked up in your current role or any side or hobby projects you may be working on. Share blogs, join online communities such as GitHub, listen to TED talks – there are a number of things you can do to keep abreast of developments.”
And what about talent attraction and what employers can do to stand out? “It’s important that recruitment processes are agile and fluid, otherwise you’re going to risk losing out on top talent. To get candidate buy-in, it’s also a good idea to meet with the candidate before the formal interview process begins, so hiring managers might want to invite the person for an informal coffee to give them a better understanding of their role and the company culture. It’s the little things that can make a big difference,” notes Hussain.
With over 100,000 people now working in related professions, the tech sector is a shining beacon for the Scottish economy.
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