BOULDER — Software companies in the Boulder area are struggling to find qualified applicants to fill open jobs even though they’re offering some of the highest wages in the country and operating in an area with the U.S.’ fifth-highest concentration of software developers, according to a new report.
According to the report released Friday from ACT, The App Association, about 460 software-development jobs are unfilled in Boulder, with an average salary of $110,000 — about twice the average overall salary in the area.
The report, titled “Six-Figure Tech Salaries: Creating the Next Developer Workforce,” is online.
Software developers contribute more than $600 million in annual income to the Boulder-area economy, the report found.
“Boulder has one of the highest concentrations of software developers in the country, but there aren’t enough to meet demand,” said Jonathan Godfrey, vice president for public affairs at ACT, The App Association. “This means that about $50 million in annual income is left on the table by companies unable to hire developers.
“The problem is that we aren’t teaching students the necessary skills from an early age,” he said. “Barely one in eight high schools teach AP (advanced placement) computer science across the country, which leaves many students unable to pursue it at the college level and qualify for these lucrative jobs.”
Prospects for Boulder students are slightly better than the national average, the report said, with 20 percent of high schools offering AP computer science. That still leaves the vast majority of local students without access to the course.
“To meet the needs of the global, high-tech economy, we must provide all students with access to a top-quality education in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields, no matter their zip code,” said U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo. “In Colorado, high-tech businesses are constantly scouting out skilled workers for good-paying jobs with room for promotion.”
Interactive maps in the online report show where software developer jobs are, how much they pay, and where to find openings. It also reveals which locations teach AP computer science and where computer science education needs are the greatest. Users can zoom in and out to see data by region, state, city, or congressional district.
According to the report, nearly a quarter-million job openings for software developers remain unfilled across the country. It contended that location doesn’t matter because 89 percent of software engineers work outside California’s Silicon Valley and four out of five top-grossing U.S. app companies are from outside that area as well.
Meanwhile, it said, barely one in eight high schools offer AP computer science courses.
The Washington, D.C.-based ACT, The App Association represents more than 5,000 app makers and connected device companies in the mobile economy.