Bridging the IT Skills Gap

Rodrigo Castello, the Vice President for Middle East and Africa at OutSystems, speaks about the company’s software development platform, ways to bridge the IT skills gap in the region, and more

How has the pandemic affected the need for software developers?
Due to the pandemic, most countries were forced to lock down, and businesses and services were obliged to adopt an online model to keep business continuity. As a result, many companies have encouraged their employees to work remotely to ensure continuity in this disruption. Suddenly, everything had to be done digitally. This showcased the shortcomings of companies that had not transferred their customer-facing and internal communication and coordination operations to a digital platform.

To allow companies to adapt to the emerging demand for online services for both their customers and workforce in light of the pandemic, the need for software developers has increased to create the needed applications and software.

Is the MENA region facing a shortage in software development talent?
The Middle East has been adopting and embracing digital transformation; however, this also means that more technology-focused job positions need to be filled. Decision-makers across the region were surveyed and have expressed extreme difficulties in filling these roles. As the demand for software developers increases in the MENA region, specifically within the UAE, the talent pool has thinned out and is insufficient to handle the rising requirements for advanced software that addresses the need of modern organizations.

This is a problem that, if not addressed quickly, can lead to a significant gap between the demand and supply of the required software development human resources. To this end, Dubai has launched an initiative to attract 100,000 coders. OutSystems also invests in this, as all our virtual training programs are free and we work with several universities to increase the local talent pool. Any university can join this program.

How can modern application platforms aid in light of this?
Bridging the IT skills gap is crucial to fulfilling the demands for speed and adaptation in this era of “digital urgency.” However, as our study reveals, most organizations have a long uphill battle to close the IT skills gap, which is made even more difficult by the use of legacy systems. Companies should look beyond traditional talent strategies like recruitment and training.

According to Gartner’s Digital Talent Gap Survey, they should instead adopt work design methodologies that concentrate on role structure, workflow, and system enablement. Today, modern application development platforms such as OutSystems are easy to learn and suit the needs and skills of the developers within companies lagging in their digital transformation efforts and lacking sufficient talent for it.

These options ensure that developers can work across various development projects—web, mobile, and backend services—all using the same skill set. While the platform allows for traditional coding to enhance existing features, the drag and drops nature of the platform makes it easy for team members without software development experience to make changes to the created software or website.

How does OutSystems contribute to the software development education of the regional talent pool?
OutSystems provides training and certification to address the tech talent deficit in the region through a comprehensive library of free online training and OutSystems or partner-led classroom training and certifications. This aims to help the region’s skills pool grow to close the IT skills gap. OutSystems also offers an online forum where users of their platform can submit inquiries and get solutions.

By making it easier to become a professional developer and investing in training programs like Women Who Code, we hope to empower the next generation of developers. Additionally, we host a training partners program that includes businesses that are allowed to deliver OutSystems training programs to customers and partners while also delivering their curriculum.

Adding to our certifications and extended education programs, we provide OutSystems Boot Camps, which are instructor-led training conducted in a classroom, remotely, or in a hybrid setting by a Certified Trainer from our Training Partners, to help IT teams enhance their knowledge and skills. We also work with several universities to increase the pool of talent with our Education Program, available to all universities.

How does your software development platform compare to Low Code/No-Code platforms available on the market?
OutSystems has faced the misconception that it is essentially a low-code platform. Basic no-code or low-code solutions are insufficient for today’s enterprise, which requires a more comprehensive and current strategy that encompasses the entire application lifecycle and enables multi-functional teams. Traditional low-code may be a temporary solution; however, it is not sensible on a long-term basis as it can limit the capabilities of the built application. OutSystems has evolved long past its low-code roots.

The OutSystems platform has grown to support multidisciplinary team collaboration, with advanced AI-powered automation throughout the venue, enterprise-grade security and performance, and the ability to speed the whole application lifecycle. Our usage of artificial intelligence (AI) in our software sets us apart from others. We use artificial intelligence to scan a complete portfolio of apps and compare them to millions of patterns to find potential architecture, performance, and security issues.

The platform may then suggest solutions and, in many circumstances, automate the procedures needed to correct the problem. This is only possible due to the nature and architecture of our platform. OutSystems also provides powerful AI components that can be used using accessible drag-and-drop elements to give apps with AI functions that deliver an incredible customer experience, allowing our customers to harness the potential of AI within the applications they build. It is a serious platform for serious applications, that supports building them fast, right, and for the future.

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Chris Fernando

Chris N. Fernando is an experienced media professional with over two decades of journalistic experience. He is the Editor of Arabian Reseller magazine, the authoritative guide to the regional IT industry. Follow him on Twitter (@chris508) and Instagram (@chris2508).

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