Skills shortage could bring online shopping to its knees

angry 1UK consumers may already battling with fuel shortages, sky-high gas prices, an HGV driver crisis and empty shelves but online shopping could be the next industry hit with claims that there is a looming ecommerce meltdown due to a dearth of tech engineers to keep systems going.

That is the stark warning from one tech expert who claims the spike in online traffic expected to hit ecommerce sites in the run-up to the festive period could cause large scale outages, with disastrous consequences not just for retail and ecommerce, but also business, industry and manufacturing who all need software systems tested.

The tech industry is already facing a skills crisis, amid a surge in vacancies. A recent Experian report claimed that the UK must do more to dispel the myths about the qualifications and skills required for a career in the data and tech industry, claiming that misconceptions are hindering students from joining the sector.

Now a severe lack of software engineers means systems remain untested and potentially unable to deal with the upcoming spike in traffic.

ROQ Software Testing Solutions’ founder and chief executive Stephen Johnson, who admittedly does have a vested interest, said: “The Facebook/Instagram/What’s App outage has also perfectly demonstrated the vulnerability of systems if they are not regularly tested.

“No company is too big to fall and the impact on any business can be devastating both financially and in losing customer trust and goodwill.”

Johnson went on to highlight numerous examples of high profile retail site failures, including Debenhams crash last December and Fastly’s error which took down huge portions of the internet including Amazon, PayPal and Ebay costing them tens of millions in lost sales.

“It is absolutely vital that any high street or online retailer with an ecommerce presence ensures that their software testing is put front and centre of their operations. There simply aren’t enough quality engineers to keep up with the demand by British companies and very soon this will reach breaking point.”

In a bid to tackle this crisis, ROQ and Credersi have teamed up to create a British software testing curriculum designed to “fast track” new software engineers, similar to the schemes being launched to fast-track lorry drivers.

Earlier this year, specialist recruitment agency Beringer Tame said it had witnessed a 100% increase in organisations looking to fill digital roles, compared to last year. The firm said the number of digital and ecommerce jobs being advertised has soared, while there has also been an increase in client enquiries, as organisations seek to strengthen their digital teams in order to keep up with consumer demand and competition.

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