Considering the Next Critical Tech Talent Shortage

Running out of COBOL programmers is a problem, explains Mike Loukides in a recent article at O’Reilly Radar

“We always hear about the millions (if not billions) of lines of COBOL code running financial and government institutions, in many cases code that was written in the 1960s or 70s and hasn’t been touched since. That means that COBOL code is infrastructure we rely on, like roads and bridges. If a bridge collapses, or an interstate highway falls into disrepair, that’s a big problem. The same is true of the software running banks,” he says.

But, COBOL expertise is just one example of a potential talent shortage. “Where should we expect to find future crises?” Loukides asks. “What other shortages might occur?” The key to understanding or predicting such shortages, he says, involves looking at critical infrastructure.

For example, “microservices in some form will probably be the dominant architectural style for the foreseeable future (where “foreseeable” means at least 3 years, but probably not 20),” Loukides says. 

“The infrastructure they run on will be managed by Kubernetes,” he notes. “And that’s where I see the potential for a shortage—not now, but 10 or 20 years from now. Kubernetes configuration is complex, a distinct specialty in its own right. If Kubernetes is replaced by something simpler (which I think is inevitable), who will maintain the infrastructure that already relies on it?”

Read the complete article at O’Reilly Radar.

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