What The SA Tech Job Fair Says About San Antonio
Last night, Codeup co-hosted the first San Antonio Tech Job Fair at the Geekdom Event Centre. By the numbers, it was a great success:
- 500 RSVPs for job seekers.
- Biggest event ever at the Geekdom Event Centre.
- Dozens of employers recruiting. Names like Accenture, Codeup, Def-Logix, H-E-B, Labatt Food Service, Rackspace, USAA, and WP Engine.
The great news for San Antonio is that young people are indeed looking to tech careers as a path to build a rewarding future. At the same time, it’s clear that we need to do more to get those young people ready to succeed in the tech workforce.
I personally spoke to over a hundred job seekers, and my booth-mate Dylan did, too.
We talked with dozens of recent computer science grads of local colleges and universities. They wanted entry-level jobs, but when I asked, “What have you built that is real?”, they pointed to toy applications and homework assignments. The students succeeded in their coursework – the curriculum simply didn’t arm them with applied, job-ready skills.
We also spoke to employers and saw which jobs the employers were looking to fill. All of the recruiters were targeting senior and mid-level technical positions. The big company employers were searching for the same.
It’s clear that San Antonio is getting good at producing entry-level talent, but we still have a huge gap in technical ability. The main takeaway after talking to both job seekers and job givers is that the San Antonio workforce isn’t where tech employers want it to be. It’s the responsibility of both the educators and the employers to become much more involved in solving that problem.
Moving forward, there are two challenges for us as a community. First, educational programs (including Codeup) need to continue to evolve and guide talent beyond entry-level skills. Second, companies need to take talent development seriously to grow more senior talent out of these young people.
We’re working on the problem. It’s time other parts of the community stepped up as well.