The big question: Will the UK still have a software industry in 10 years?

The Big Question is a new initiative between Computer Weekly and recruitment consultancy PSD. Each week we will put the Big Question to top IT professionals to get their take on a current talking point.

    • 78% Yes
    • 22% No

From a survey of 100 IT director-level professionals conducted by PSD for Computer Weekly, 78% believe that the UK software development industry will survive, despite the growing trend to offshore programming roles. But it is likely to be smaller, and more specialist than the industry today.

“There will be an industry but it will be considerably reduced in scale. Niche development teams focusing on bespoke products for specific industry sectors will prevail. However, the bulk of general development will end up outsourced,” said Dylan Davies, a senior business analyst.

“Coding will definitely move offshore, as it is cheaper to do and you get a better qualified person doing the job for less money,” said Julian Griffiths, director of retail information at Polo Ralph Lauren.

 Others said that the costs of offshore outsourcing will rise, ensuring that at least some software development continues in the UK.

“India is not producing enough graduates to keep up with demand, and rising salaries for programmers are narrowing the cost benefit compared to the UK. China might be an alternative, but they do not speak English as well as the Indian graduates,” said one IT professional.

Another Big Question respondent said, “The public sector is reticent about offshore outsourcing in general, and unless the rules change in relation to where the data can be held there will still be a call for development in the UK.”

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