Survey : Cornwall: A place to develop software - Software Cornwall

Cornwall: A place to develop software

In October 2014 Software Cornwall[1] undertook a piece of research to capture information about the size, breadth, ambitions, issues and needs of the local software sector.

Through an online survey and series of interviews the research found that there is a well-established and rapidly growing software cluster in Cornwall. A number of businesses and individuals are working hard to progress the sector and there is a sense that this is now close to a critical mass or tipping point situation.

A number of local businesses have experienced high growth in recent years and are anticipating this to continue, in some cases significantly. Recent growth has been achieved despite the restrictive condition of a limited supply of skilled recruits. Future growth requires increased numbers of highly skilled and talented individuals to enter and progress within the workforce. Initiatives under the Local Response Fund have begun to address this locally but these activities need to be sustained beyond the project timescale, and extended to cover a more substantial suite of training provision.

Employers reported a shortage of people with the technical skills e.g. with programming languages such as Javascript, PHP, C#, C++, SQL, C and Python (amongst others), as well as in specific techniques e.g. Agile development methods, and more generic skills including; awareness of commercial software development, general understanding of the Linux operating system, and mathematics. Many young people are developing an interest in programming as hobbyists through games and apps but one common response from employers was that many don’t quite have enough experience or at least appreciation of commercial software development.

A recent report published by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills highlighted software development professionals as one of the top careers for the future. IT is a huge part of our everyday life, and those helping to build and maintain it are in demand. As the world becomes more technological, and growing fields such as the Internet of Things (the interconnection of devices), Big Data, Cloud Computing and Data Security increase, demand for software is undeniably going to increase.

Cornwall has a number of assets which provide a competitive advantage for a growing digital economy including the most extensive commercial and residential deployment of superfast broadband in a rural setting in the UK. Cornwall & Isles of Scilly LEP aim to capitalise on this and have named ‘Digital Economy’ as one of their Smart Specialisation areas going forward.

This research captures a slice of the Software Development sector in Cornwall and it’s a slice that has experienced growth, anticipates it continuing, and in some cases is currently turning away work. If the supply of potential recruits begins to increase to meet the demand then this highly productive sector can have a substantial impact for Cornwall.


[1] Software Cornwall is a collaborative group of Software Development enterprises, education providers and business support organisations based in Cornwall, UK.

Download the report here

Cornwall – A Place to Develop Software (FINAL)