Software and Apps
Scottish Government figures say there are almost 7,000 digital businesses in Scotland, most focused on software and electronic publishing.
In April 2017, research commissioned by the Digital Technologies Skills Group (DTSG) showed that Scotland’s digital technology businesses now employ more than 60,000 people. Another 31,500 are working in digital roles across all business sectors.
The big picture
Most of the companies in Scotland’s digital sector are small, and provide software products, solutions and services. Almost two thirds — 4,640 companies — report zero employees. Around 24% have fewer than four employees. In fact, only 45 companies are classified as ‘large’, or employing more than 250 people.
98% of the companies based in Scotland are also registered in Scotland. Of the remainder, 95 are owned abroad and 70 are registered elsewhere in the UK. Between them, the Glasgow and Edinburgh areas are home to 60% of the companies, with the next largest clusters in Aberdeen and Grampian, Fife and Tayside and the Forth Valley.
Working in digital
According to the DTSG research, the average full-time salary in the digital technologies sector is now £37,400 a 12% increase since 2010. Demand for people with software and app development skills is high – in fact, it’s estimated that the sector currently offers around 12,800 job opportunities every year.
The majority of Scottish technology businesses expect to take on more people in the coming year, and it’s expected that almost three-quarters of the recruits will come from Scotland. For the first time, demand for experienced staff has outstripped demand for graduates.
The most sought after skills are in software and web development, but there’s also high demand for commercial and business support as well as project management skills. Companies are looking for people who can not only deliver the technological skills they need, but also manage business infrastructure and help push growth.
Developing your skills
CodeClan is an initiative backed by the Scottish Government, ScotlandIS and Skills Development Scotland. It offers short, intensive courses covering everything from basic coding to a better understanding of customer experience. It’s the first UK digital skills academy to be approved by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA).
If you’re running a digital business and unsure how to deal with people development, Skills Development Scotland’s Skills for Growth service could help. It’s a free assessment process that identifies your growth goals, then the skills your business needs to achieve them. Then it helps you find the training and funding to make it happen.
Funding and support
In March 2017 the Scottish Government announced increased support for staff development in digital skills like cyber security, data analytics and software engineering. The £36 million fund will provide loans to companies to cover the up-front costs of training.
Innovate UK provides funding support to businesses looking to research and develop a process, product or service, test its innovation ideas and/or collaborate with other organisations.
The Digital Xtra fund is funded by the Digital Scotland Business Excellence Partnership. It’s designed to support businesses giving young people the chance to learn computer science-related skills, and widening the provision of extracurricular computing science activities across Scotland.
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