The UK is facing a major digital skills deficit. Prior to the pandemic, it was estimated that 22% of the country’s workforce (11.9M people) did not have the essential digital skills to engage in everyday life. Over half of UK employees lacked the digital skills necessary for work and firms were finding it difficult to fill specialist digital roles such as software engineering.

Estimates suggested this critical skills gap was costing the UK £10B a year in lost productivity.

Since then, the COVID-19 crisis has led to huge numbers of industries moving online, at a pace that could never have been anticipated. From education to leisure, organisations across the country have adjusted their models and behaviours with unprecedented speed.

Over the last 10 years, coding bootcamps have emerged in the UK to help address the digital skills challenge. Industry-led programmes have enabled people to retrain as software developers in a matter of months.

Many of these bootcamps initially delivered classroom-based learning, but due to the pandemic this swiftly moved online. The result: an even easier way to become a software developer. Increased flexibility has permitted access to individuals across geographies.

During this difficult time, when many people are furloughed at home, out of work or simply thinking about how to future proof their careers, these bootcamps present an opportunity to retrain in software engineering from the comfort of one's own home.

Although many jobs across the UK are under threat at the moment, software engineering is proving relatively resilient. In the past, salaries have been higher than most positions for newly qualified university graduates. Data collected about Makers alumni over the past six years reveals that the average annual remuneration for men is £32,000, and for women junior coders £34,000.

This may prove to be an exceptional moment to focus real time and energy on learning to code. Not only are we now required to spend large amounts of time inside, but tech is poised to remain resilient as a sector despite hiring volatility in other industries.

Learning to code has become even more relevant as the world has shifted online; it is the bricks and mortar of our day-to-day lives now. It provides a foundation for understanding the technology around us; it is central to the economy and world that we live in, and is thus a skill that will last a lifetime.

For more information about Makers Remote, click here.

Makers is training a new generation of tech talent who are skilled and ready for the changing world of work. It is inspired by the idea of discovering and unlocking potential in people for the benefit of 21st century business and society. It believes in alternative techniques for learning to code, emphasising the ways in which people can be 'ready for work' and of value to an organisation. At its core, Makers combines tech education with employment possibilities that transform lives.

Makers is the premier coding provider based in London. In 12 weeks, the organisation trains students to become fully qualified software engineers. Makers retains a successful track record for spotting and developing the talent of students from different backgrounds. Over 35% of its engineers have been women (two times higher than the industry average). In the past it has also developed its own fund to attract students from difficult and underprivileged backgrounds. To date, Makers has turned over 1,700 people into junior software engineers and placed them with leading global brands such as Deloitte Digital, Tesco, Vodafone and Capgemini.