There are more than 223,000 vacant software developer jobs in the United States, and 91.25 percent are located outside of Silicon Valley. Those eye-popping statistics are the headline takeaways from a new interactive map designed to illustrate the huge and growing gap between the tech industry's need for talent and the supply of educated coders.
These jobs, which on average pay more than $104,000 in annual salary, are scattered throughout all corners of the United States and often sit unfilled for months as companies struggle to find and recruit individuals skilled in writing code, according to ACT | The App Association, which on Monday released the new tool and a corresponding report. The hope for this map is that it will highlight the need for increased computer science education throughout the country, said Jonathan Godfrey, vice president for public affairs at ACT.
"Demand for developers is happening in every corner of this country, every region, every small town in this country," said Godfrey, who hopes the map will make it easier for lawmakers outside of the Bay Area to understand how important the tech sector has become in their own districts.
The map shows how many filled and unfilled jobs there are in every American city, the average salary per market and the number of tech jobs per Congressional district.
"We have been working hard to get top technical talent, but there's just not enough out there for the demand that's seen in the country," said Alec Whitters, CEO of Higher Learning Technologies, a maker of education apps based in Iowa City, Iowa.
Last year, Whitters and HLT spent more than six months trying to fill a single software developer position. As a result of that struggle, HLT launched a summer internship program to train individuals how to become software developers. "We kind of realize that we're going to have to 'build' some of our own engineers," Whitters said.
Aside from jobs, the map highlights the lack of computer science education in the U.S. Only one in eight high schools teaches computer science, according to ACT report, which is titled "Six-Figure Tech Salaries: Creating the Next Developer Workforce." You can see which schools teach computer science and which don't using the ACT map.
"I'm not saying everybody needs to grow up to be a software developer, but having those skills is going to continue to be more important as software eats the world," said Ben Reubenstein, CEO of Possible Mobile, one of the more than 5,000 members of ACT.
The tech industry itself has stepped up efforts to increase computer science education. Over the past couple of years, the venture capital market has pumped millions into coding education by funding so-called coding bootcamps, which aim to teach individuals the skills needed for coding careers in as little as three months. It's a market that has grown from a handful of schools in the U.S. a few years ago to more than 60 full-time, in-person programs in 2015, according to Course Report.
Individual companies have also done their part to help with coding education. Facebook, for example, last year introduced TechPrep, a website that helps young students and their parents understand the benefits of learning to code. Apple, meanwhile, has created Swift Playgrounds, an iPad app launching this fall that will teach children the basics of coding.
Silicon Valley wants the U.S. government to do more to hold up its end. Earlier this year, Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and dozens of other tech companies banded together to form the Computer Science Education Coalition. The group's purpose is to lobby Congress to stump up $250 million in funding "for a crucially needed investment in K-12 computer science education," according to a release.
"The simple truth is that we just don't produce enough software developers in this country," Godfrey of ACT said. "And it starts with education. We must start preparing students for these careers in primary and secondary schools."