PARENTS are encouraged to inspire their children to become computer programmers to ensure the continued growth and longevity of the local information technology (IT) industry.
Joey Gurango, founder of Coders Guild, said he wants the Philippines to build a nation of programmers, as programming is the cornerstone for a technology-enabled and technology-dependent economy.
“Cebu is already doing a lot in the IT space, and you are right on track. But we need our children to take care of this industry,” said Gurango, adding that in this era, it is not only about how well the children speak good English but how literate they are about technology.
“If we want to be a global leader in this industry, then we need to prepare our workforce early on,” he said.
Gurango, who is also the former president of the Philippine Software Industry Association, was one of the speakers during the 2019 Transformation Summit held on Monday, May 6.
Coders Guild conducts skills-based assessments that identify the most talented entry-level programmers in the Philippines, so they can be matched with the best employers of programmers in the world.
Citing a study by paysa.com, software engineering is the most sought-after IT job, followed by data analyst and data scientist.
However, in the Philippines, there are not enough qualified talents to sustain the industry.
Gurango observed that the Philippines has a declining pool of programmers.
He pointed out that enrollment in computer science and IT programs has been declining since 2005.
In fact, there is a 90 percent reduction in computer science and IT graduates for 2019 to 2020, said Gurango.
As of 2018, there were only 640 schools in the country offering these courses from 1,014 schools in 2011.
Based on the study, Gurango found out that of the 1,000 college graduates who took these courses, only four percent were qualified and employable for an entry-level job as a coder while 33 percent were trainable for programming. Sixty-three percent of the college graduates, however, could not code.
“What are they learning?” he asked.
Coding is the computer language used to develop applications, websites and software.
Gurango believes offering these courses in the senior high school level is one of the solutions that could help the country boost its talent pool.
“Our senior high school students must learn computer science so they will be exposed and be inspired to pursue this career,” he said. “It should not be taken as an elective but as a required study.”
Gurango said they are willing to partner with local government units to roll out the Coders Guild’s Computer Science Education Program, where computer science will be taught to Grade 11 and 12 students for about eight to 10 hours per week.
They will also render free teachers’ training, even if they don’t have a computer science background.
“All you need to have is a computer laboratory and reliable internet,” he said.
At present, Cebu City is the first city in the country that has adopted this program.
Five public senior high schools in the city with 200 Grade 11 students will learn coding for this school year.
Coders Guild already trained 30 senior high school teachers in Cebu in October 2018.
Cebu IT BPM.Organization (Cib.O) managing director Wilfredo Sa-a Jr. said they plan to conduct more training, following the positive reception they got from the teachers and schools.
“We believe that we have to teach our future talents more coding skills because eventually more and more jobs will require this skill so they’ll become more employable,” Sa-a said.