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Tech Transformation Comes From Within

This article was published in the Winter 2019 issue

by Fili Ledezma, President, Bottega
We are living in a technological renaissance! Software engineering is changing our civilization in ways we are only beginning to understand.

Utah is at the center of this transformational storm, which is impacting all walks of life. In Utah, hundreds of current technological projects are driving a growing demand for software engineers. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, Utah universities confer about 2,600 computer science degrees every year — about 3.6% of the 71,500 CS degrees granted each year by US-based universities. More than our fair share based on our population size.

If Utah produces 3 times per capita more software engineers than the rest of the nation, one might think there will be enough tech talent to fully satisfy the needs of Utah’s employers. The truth is we are more likely to lose most of these graduates to other states. All these BYU, UofU, UVU, USU, and other CS graduates will not be able to stem this technological revolution! The chicken farms in rural Utah that need automation and big data transformation will have difficulty recruiting that CS grad, with 20 companies out of state competing for their skill set.

TechRepublic estimates that in 2020 a million computer programming jobs will go unfilled. The nationwide demand will further stress Utah’s tech industry. The era of automation is here — whoever can speak to Alexa, Google, Siri, and Watson on the front end is a modern consumer. The person that can teach AI how a particular business works and how to run its processes has become an agent of change in the tech renaissance with a highly sought after skill set.

So where will this skill set transformation come from? Much of our civilization’s knowledge resides in the business enterprise. The mass technological transformation is going to continue to happen by “domain” experts! It takes time to teach the 20-something, CS graduate what makes the “chicken farm” work, or where it drives its profits from, not to mention its unique logistics, functions, and how to automate each of its processes.

The manufacturer, the banker, the farmer, the doctor, even the shaved-ice entrepreneur, when they learn modern computer science principles they begin to understand how their world can best embrace modern technologies to begin rapid transformation. At Bottega we have found that it is faster to teach the banker computer science than it is to teach how a bank runs efficiently and profitably to a recent computer science graduate.

This domain-first approach will generate bridges between university graduates strong on theory and structures with a myriad of domain experts with dev skills that know how their companies generate value in the marketplace.

Every company is discovering that they too are a tech company. The shaved iced stand is learning that beyond social media they can use microservices, web applications, big data, and the cloud to reduce new customer acquisition cost and increase customer retention. The farmer is using real time knowledge databases to link weather information with crop cycle data to determine best course of action. Big data, automation, and AI are available to all businesses willing to use them.

Companies need to start transforming. Meaningful and enduring tech transformation happens when software engineering is embraced from within. Rural Utah tech needs will be solved by rural Utah companies that take a chance on developing ingrown tech talent that understands each company’s ins and outs.

A common question I am asked when people learn about Bottega is: Why that name for a company that is dedicated to preparing Software Engineers? The answer is directly related to Bottega’s purpose and market fit. In the renaissance, the italian Bottega was the place were engineers, mathematicians, craftsmen, artists, artisans, merchants, bankers, and doctors got together as a community to put their knowledge together to solve specific needs. Renaissance men like DaVinci, Botticelli, Michelangelo, and many others used the Bottega to turn ideas into projects that affected art, navigation, trade, metallurgy, warfare, etc.

Today we are living in a technological renaissance and software engineering is changing our civilization in ways we are only beginning to understand. At Bottega HQ in Lehi, Utah, we have a mural that represents this Tech Renaissance and the spirit of Bottega; the images of Margaret Hamilton, Nikola Tesla, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk and Alan Touring, symbolize all multidisciplinary people that are using technology to impact the world around them.

Read the rest of the articles in the Winter 2019 issue of Silicon Slopes Magazine

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