Posted February 09, 2018 11:31:49 A Filipino software developer who studied at the University of Southern California (USC) in the early 1990s says he made it as a freelancer by working as a software engineer for a local software company.
“I didn’t know how to code,” said the 29-year-old, who lives in the southern Philippines.
He said he quit his job as a computer engineer to pursue his dream of working as an independent developer.
“You have to do everything yourself, to make sure you know what you’re doing,” said Mr. Reyes.
“And that’s when you learn the basics.”
While the Philippines has become a hub for software development in recent years, many Filipinos still do not have the skills needed to make the transition, said the father of three, who is now an independent contractor.
“They don’t have the basic knowledge of how to develop software, the basic skill sets of how it works, the basics of how a software system works,” said Luis Reyes.
He is among a group of developers who is advocating for the creation of a Filipino equivalent of the US federal government’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
“It’s time for us to start having a national institute of standards and standards development to make Filipinos learn coding and to provide them with technical training,” said NIST Director Joseph Piazza.
He noted that the Philippines is home to more than one million programmers, which has helped the country develop its IT infrastructure and boost the economy.
“The Filipinos have developed the skills,” said Piazzo.
“In the Philippines, if you are a programmer, you can be a top programmer.
You can make a lot of money.”
Piazzi noted that while the Philippines was home to several international tech companies like Google, Facebook and LinkedIn, its IT services industry is the fastest-growing in the region, with the number of software developers doubling each year.
The country has also emerged as a hotbed for innovation in the field of digital rights, with many companies, including Apple, Amazon and Netflix, making use of Filipino IT talent.
But while the country is still home to some of the world’s best software engineers, Filipinos are far from being in a position to develop the kind of technology that would be used by the world-class tech companies, said Piacenza, the author of the forthcoming book Code for America: The Philippines, the Philippines and the Quest to Create a Better World.
“There is a lack of experience, there is a shortage of talent,” he said.
Piazzas recent research shows that Filipino software developers have a low rate of education, and many lack the skills to enter into the top software jobs.
The Philippines is also one of the countries with the lowest number of foreign-born people in the world, according to the United Nations Population Fund.
It has a small number of Filipino programmers, and Filipinos tend to be more mobile than the national average, said Luis Piaz, who co-authored the book with Jose Miguel Aranda, an associate professor at the Universidad Catolica de Manila.
“But the Philippines still has a lot to offer,” Piaza said.
“It has a very high percentage of young people who are mobile, who can learn and work remotely.”
But for now, Filipinas need to be vigilant about their software development skills.
The Philippine government has promised to develop a national software development training program that would train more than 300,000 people by 2019.
In the meantime, many local software developers say they are staying away from the country to avoid being discriminated against or being denied entry to the top IT jobs.
“A lot of people here in the country are just not qualified,” said Rodrigo Lopez, a 27-year old software developer.
Lopez is one of several Filipino software engineers who work at a local technology company.
His company, Web Developer Philippines, has more than 40 employees in the area, and he said that many of his employees have no experience with programming.
“If I’m in a new country and I come to a new place, I don’t really know what I’m doing.
There’s no way for me to get started,” he explained.
“We just want to stay in the business, just because we want to.”