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Tampa tech experts say there is a $1 trillion deficit in coding talent nationwide

Posted at 2:59 PM, Aug 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-18 14:59:53-04

TAMPA, Fla. - Many employers require some kind of computer skill background.  Now, job analysts say learning how to code could land you a six figure job.

Code writers write the instructions that tell computers how to operate.

A recent study analyzing 26 million U.S.  online jobs postings by job market analytics firm Burning Glass and Oracle Academy, roughly half of the jobs in the top income quartile, meaning those paying $57,000 or more per year, require the applicant to have at least some coding knowledge or skill.

Getting the skill does not require you to be good at math or even pay money to go back to school.

Free classes are offered online or you can read books and self-teach like 35-year-old Justin Davis of Tampa.

Davis graduated college with a degree in audio engineering and wound up processing insurance claims.  His salary: roughly $25,000 a year.

In 2005, he started looking for a new career and realized technology might be something to try, specifically, code writing.

"I learned all of this just by myself," explained Davis.   "At night, I went to the library, and I got a couple books on coding, programming language and databases and I really did not know much about it all.  I came home from work every day and sat down in my living room and just went page-by-page in the book until I learned it."

Acquiring these skills now is even easier.  There are free coding academies online.

There is an intimidation factor with code.  People think that it is about math and if I am not good at math I am I am not going to be good at code.  The fact of the matter is I don't do a lot of math day-to-day and I write a lot of code," Davis said.

According to Davis, if you can logically think through a problem, you can be a code writer.

It took eight months of studying, and Davis says finding his first job was easy.

"I have been self-employed now for the past six, seven years.  Finding employment in this is not the hard part. There is a lot of demand for this talent out there and there is just not enough people writing code, there are not enough people writing good code," Davis said.

Davis says there is a lot of need not being met, adding employers are calling him for referrals and he cannot give any names because all the coders he knows are employed.

According to Davis, coding comes with a lot of perks, including the ability to work from home.

"The hours tend to be flexible, it offers a lot of lifestyle perks in addition to the salary perks," Davis said.

TECH INDUSTRY EXPERT:  CODE WRITING EMPLOYMENT HAS BRIGHT FUTURE

According to the Council of Chief Information Office, it is estimated there is a $1 trillion talent gap in the coding industry.

"Everything is becoming highly technical, even what was considered once a non-technical job requires some knowledge of computers," explained Tampa tech expert Mitch Neff.

"Even if you are in marketing today, you need to have some knowledge of code."

Neff told ABC Action News this type of work comes with a great deal of job security.

"There is a talent shortfall, so obviously they are in high demand," Neff said.

Neff recommended those interested in code writing get their feet wet for free online at places like Codeacademy and Treehouse.

"They are self-paced and they very much get the job done," Neff explained.

According to Neff, there is high demand in the Bay area for code writers.

"You will see that all around Tampa Bay, everyone who is a coder is pretty much fully employed, probably more employed than they want to be right now," Neff said.