Much needs to be done to prepare workers for relevance in the digital economy’s DNA, says this programming evangelist.

Both multinational corporations (MNCs) and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Southeast Asia are turning to new technologies to improve business processes and offerings, driving new business propositions and user experience. This is apparent as over 80 percent of SMEs plan to prioritize their resources on transformative technologies across various sectors in the years leading up to 2022.

Software-driven innovation will become more and more critical in driving business growth and enabling organizations to compete in a global economy.

Software powers everything around us

Software is pervasive; every modern-day technology that we interact with is created and powered by software that is put together by lines of code. It has become a key driver of innovation, and a necessity for organizations to survive and thrive in the modern world. As a result, businesses of every size in Asia Pacific are beginning to tap into the open source community to build software faster and access the wide range of skills.

Open source enhances collaboration among teams and departments, fostering a smarter way of working and driving innovation, through the implementation of open source best practices within the organization’s firewall. Called inner sourcing, this practice leads businesses to become more efficient by breaking down barriers and silos, so teams can share skills and better collaborate across the entire organization.

Accessibility is crucial

As companies invest more on automation, robotics and data-powered solutions, we are starting to see an increasing demand for technology- and code-literate employees. The responsibility lies in our hands to help equip our future generation with the essential skills, through education program and the introduction of coding into the school curriculum.

In Singapore, the government is taking a step in the right direction by introducing coding to classrooms, with the implementation of a 10-hour programme for upper primary students in 2020. GitHub’s Octoverse 2019 report also showed that 1.7 million students across the globe have learned to code on GitHub, 55% more than the previous year.

This is encouraging but we are only scratching the surface—taking into consideration that there are approximately 200 million college students across the world. Additionally, while we are seeing great progress in the education space, it will still be a decade before today’s students are introduced to the workforce. 

There is still a big gap to close and it is every organization’s responsibility to narrow that down in the years to come. A good start would be the implementation of coding and open source literacy training as part of corporate professional development program.

The change starts from within

Coding has become a core part of an organizations’ DNA. It is the powerhouse behind every digital project, continuously evolving as every part of the business deepens its digital journey. Coding literacy needs to become top of mind across the board, from the marketing, sales and operations teams, up to the C-suite. By gaining coding skills, each individual will become an active contributor to delivering successful innovations, and be empowered to break down silos, create efficiencies, as well as foster a more collaborative and open business mindset.

Open source platforms provide a fantastic avenue to make coding accessible to anyone, whether you are experienced or have no understanding of software development. The open source community offers access to a unique pool of public global resources, with millions of qualified developers who are happy to help upskill more individuals.

It is now up to businesses and government leaders in Asia Pacific to work together to ensure that coding literacy is weaved into education and professional training programs, so we can prepare the workforce of tomorrow and equip organizations to succeed in a fast paced, digital world. This is how our region can become an exporter of innovation.