The lack of a unified and clear voice, and a growing shortage of high-level skills are among the threats facing the future prosperity of the UK's software industry, according to an initial report by a working party that included the BCS.
The aim of the working party is to help maintain the UK software industry so that it does not follow in the footsteps of manufacturing and go into decline. The Develop the Future report estimated that, if it remained healthy, the software industry's contribution to the UK economy in 10 years' time would be approximately 1.5% of GDP, or £18bn.
The report said global demand for software was likely to grow significantly over the coming decades, fueled by factors such as the growing role of software in social infrastructure, organisational integration initiatives, mobile devices and smart appliances.
The working party's report analysed the current state of the UK software sector and identified actions needed to capitalise on these opportunities for growth:
● Technical innovators must develop better business skills to attract venture capital.
● Academia and employers must communicate more effectively.
● The software sector must establish itself as an attractive area in which to build a career.
● The UK software industry must develop a clear and unified voice.
● The UK is a world leader in the creation and use of advanced tools and techniques for software development. It should take advantage of its creative environment to set the UK software industry apart on the world stage.
The report drew on a wide selection of data sources, including HM Treasury, the Office of National Statistics, the Department of Trade and Industry and the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service. It combined this data with comment from researchers, industry analysts and senior academics.
It said collaborate technologies and methods were creating fresh opportunities and challenges for building software, exchanging traditional models of software construction for processes that take advantage of a globalised industry.
The report concluded that everyone involved in the UK software industry needed to work together to create the necessary skills, investment and policies to allow businesses to exploit these new opportunities.
The report argued that enlightened decision making and fresh thinking would enable the UK to become the pre-eminent, innovative global software provider of the 21st century.
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