We are living in a digital age. It’s time to take a stand and invest in ICT skills!

This is guest blog post written by Domingos Folque Guimaraes, Portuguese Digital Champion

João Claro, a 26 year old who barely completed his high school studies, found himself unemployed after having worked in a gas station for a year. Five months later, after attending a Code Bootcamp for unemployed in  Fundão, Portugal, he is working as a Junior applications developer at Logicalis SMC .

Code For All, a social enterprise I founded together with my partners João Magalhães and Rui Ferrão, is dedicated to transforming unemployed like João into junior developers.

It takes 14 weeks and 650 hours of Java and Java script training.

In one year, we converted 100 Code cadets from unemployed talented people, into employed junior developers. They are now working in companies like Accenture, Altran or top startups like Uniplaces, servicing offices all around the world.

The estimated direct economic impact for Portugal of the 100 newly employed junior developers is now over 1 million euros a year, just taking into account the savings on benefit payments and revenues in income taxes on salaries.

The European Commission estimates that there are over 450,000 unfilled vacancies for ICT professionals in Europe and that the number will grow to 750,000 by 2020.

There is a bright future for the ICT sector. Europe needs to lead the way and invest strongly in having the most prepared ICT workforce around the world. We need to promote ICT in schools, investe in more courses in Universities or organize bootcamps.

I’m happy to see that the European Commission is fully aware of this opportunity. The launch of the Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition at the Digital Skills & Jobs Conference in Brussels on the 1st of December is a major step towards a promising future. I look forward to the opportunity to present the Code For All initiative during the session on Coding bootcamps. See you all there!