Why does the Topcoder show no points
It was not until April of this year that employers sounded the alarm: the shortage of skilled workers has never been so great, and German companies are particularly lacking in experts from technical professions. According to calculations by the Institut der Deutschen Wirtschaft (IW), 314,800 workers in MINT professions, i.e. from the fields of mathematics, computer science, natural sciences and technology, were missing in April. Especially specialists for big data, cloud computing, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) are desperately sought after, according to the industry association Bitkom 55,000 IT specialists are currently lacking. In addition: The variety of skills that are required today in highly complex modernization projects can hardly be covered in internal IT departments. One solution to counteract the shortage of skilled workers and thus further advance digitization and economic growth could be crowdsourcing. With crowdsourcing, project orders from companies are outsourced to a group of experts (crowd) who come together on a corresponding platform.
Largest personnel marketplace in the world
One example of such a platform is Topcoder. With over a million experts, Topcoder is the world's largest personnel marketplace for designers, developers, programmers, data scientists and AI experts. This is where professionals and freelancers come together to solve complex problems together. The platform sells community services to companies and pays community members for their work on the projects. Companies post their IT problems on the platform and developers who are located anywhere in the world can send in suggested solutions and earn money with them. The customer then selects the solution that best suits him and only has to pay for it. The developer usually only solves partial tasks and does not find out which project his specific task relates to. Once a project has been finalized, however, all the solutions can be viewed by all participants.
For companies, this type of expert recruitment has the advantage that it allows them to find data scientists and developers who have been trained in the required areas and have the necessary skills and certifications. In addition, the personnel marketplace offers companies on-demand access to the people and qualifications they need at the moment in order to be able to continue to compete. App designers, developers and data scientists from all over the world are now competing on the platform with creative codes, algorithms and solutions for the best jobs - and are ready to start implementing them immediately.
The best of both worlds: the hybrid crowd
Due to the increased demand from companies, Topcoder has gone one step further and, with its subsidiary platform “Hybrid Crowd”, has created a unique marketplace that combines the expertise of the members of the global Topcoder community with the networks of technical talents that exist in every company . While freelancers and employees were previously viewed as separate units, Hybrid Crowd combines the advantages of both warehouses to further increase productivity and speed. The hybrid crowd platform was created by integrating Topcoder with Wipro's internal crowdsourcing platform, TopGear, which enables Wipro project managers to include Wipro employees outside of their project teams in their work. More than 30,000 Wipro employees have joined TopGear, which is now housed as a private community on the Topcoder hybrid crowd platform. Topcoder and Hybrid Crowd are the cornerstones of a continuous digital transformation that counteracts the shortage of skilled workers and can also stimulate the German economy.
With the “Hybrid Crowd”, Topcoader has created a marketplace for the expertise of its employees.
With the hybrid crowd, customer teams can offer an even wider range of digital services and meet “just-in-time” requirements. Experts can also learn new skills and gain recognition by participating in crowdsourcing competitions. Customers benefit from access to a broad pool of highly certified experts with experience in AI and cognitive computing. It is also financially worthwhile for the participating companies; compared to conventional software development, the costs are often up to 33 percent lower.
International companies are pioneers
In the past few years, IT service companies have mainly relied on traditional models such as the use of software engineers for project work. These models are increasingly facing challenges due to price pressure in the IT service business and protectionism in global growth markets. For this reason, for example, IBM has teamed up with Topcoder to design and build the Ul for their Mood Marbles app, which captures and visualizes the mood of a team during a project. Crowdsourcing delivered finished code to the IBM development team in less than eight weeks.
Another example: BMC turned to Topcoder to develop an app that would serve as a “mobile concierge” for visitors to their Executive Briefing Center (EBC). The MyEBC app for Apple and Android devices was available for download in just five months.
And the Harvard Medical School, with the help of the Topcoder community, solved a highly complex problem in the area of DNA sequencing, specifically the calculation of the distance between DNA strings. With a single Topcoder algorithm, the calculation time was reduced from 260.4 minutes to 16 seconds.
Driving the economic future
Large international companies have already recognized the advantages of crowdsourcing and are increasingly outsourcing projects or complex challenges to external freelance scientists all over the world via Internet platforms, who often work together to find a solution. With the help of crowdsourcing, solutions for the data science problems of researchers, companies and agencies in the fields of advanced robotics, organic agriculture, DNA sequencing, environmental protection, pharmaceutical testing, precision medicine and many other areas have been found in the past few years . This enables leading IT and high-tech companies to promote projects in the field of new technologies and find suitable talent. In the case of complex challenges in particular, they no longer have to rely on a suitable employee on site and with qualifications that are hardly available on the job market.
However, this concept has yet to establish itself, especially in small and medium-sized companies - SMEs in particular could benefit enormously from platforms such as TopCoder, as they no longer have to fight an almost hopeless battle for the rare skilled workers with the sizes of their industry. In any case, projects for digital transformation no longer have to fail in the future due to the lack of qualified employees.
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This is a guest post by Matt Needham, General Manager Europe Topcoder
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