There’s no lack of cash in Silicon Valley, but there is a shortage of developers with the skills and knowledge required to create artificial intelligence solutions.
Why should this matter to CIOs and other tech executives? Here’s the reason: As more highly-skilled coders are drawn into AI software development projects, there will be a shortage of developers available to write code for mainstream tech vendors and other companies providing services to the IT community.
That could easily translate into fewer innovative products and services designed to meet the day-to-day needs of corporate IT departments. That kind of scenario would undoubtedly create new headaches for all of us down the road.
But the looming shortage of developers is only one part of the problem. Increasingly, large companies will need trained data scientists to run the next generation of incredibly sophisticated AI products and solutions.
As many companies have already discovered, AI solutions are not autonomous. You need people to run them and manage them. In other words, most of the new AI solutions are very similar to existing IT solutions that require trained staff to keep them up and running.
From my perspective, the deeper and more pervasive problem is the lack of training and education. The 21st-century global economy runs on software, and our schools just aren’t producing enough software engineers.
To put it simply, we need more people who can code. We need more people with basic software development skills. Does every kid today need to learn Python, Java, Perl and Ruby? Maybe not - but it certainly would be helpful if every young person learned at least one kind of programming language.
Last week, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced
the company would launch a $1 billion fund to invest in advanced manufacturing in the US. Ideally, the investment would result in the creation of thousands of new jobs.
But advanced manufacturing is based on a combination of digital technologies. Those technologies simply cannot operate without software. And that raises another question: Who will write the software that will be foundational to the creation of all those new jobs in advanced manufacturing?
No matter what you see on TV or at the movies, robots are not ready to run the world. We still need humans in the loop, and those humans need sharp technology skills to keep our IT systems running.