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Cloud Foundry Aims to Solve Healthcare Developer Shortage

Cloud Foundry Foundation encourages cloud-native development by offering flexible and accessible education for developers.

Source: Thinkstock

By Elizabeth O'Dowd

- Cloud Foundry Foundation announced its plan to solve the impending shortage of developers by launching its cloud-naïve developer certification initiative, called the Cloud Foundry Certified Developer program.

The program will be delivered in partnership with the Linux Foundation and will train and certify developers on open source software.

Organizations across all major verticals, including healthcare, are currently facing a developer shortage. As the demand for custom, mobile applications, entities are faced with long development times and deployment delays, stemming from a lack of qualified developers.

Organizations either can’t find developers skilled enough who are available to be part of their IT staff, or entities cannot afford to hire the number of developers needed to build custom apps.

The Cloud Foundry Developer Certification helps developers hone more skills, enabling them to build better cloud-native applications. The program will be available online and includes:

  • A free introductory course offered via the edX platform.
  • A self-paced eLearning Cloud Foundry Developer course.
  • A training partner program which includes licensed materials for in-person Cloud Foundry developer classes, offered by member companies including DellEMC, EngineerBetter, IBM, Pivotal, Resilient Scale, SAP, Stark and Wayne and Swisscom.
  • Cloud Foundry Certified Developer Certification, awarded to individuals who pass a performance-based exam.

The Cloud Foundry Developer Certification initiative will offer training by more than a dozen technology, education, and systems integration organizations. The Linux Foundation will offer the online eLearning infrastructure for the Cloud Foundry Developer Certification initiative.

"The Cloud Foundry Certified Developer program will be a huge value to the community," Express Scripts Director of Cloud Strategy and Engineering Brian Gregory said in a statement. "In our shift to Cloud Foundry, we've seen a massive uptick in productivity and business results. So much so, that the business continues to demand more from us, in the effort to make prescriptions safer and more affordable for our 3,000 clients and 85 million members.

“We can't hire developers fast enough -- we currently have a goal of hiring 1,000+ developers. Knowing a developer is Cloud Foundry Certified could streamline our hiring process and help ensure we're bringing on qualified candidates."

Healthcare organizations are in need of skilled developers to build custom native apps that are not only secure and HIPAA-compliant, but also user friendly and efficient for clinicians and patients. Healthcare organizations have better odds of finding qualified developers by training more developers with an easily accessible program.

A survey conducted by Red Hat late last year outlined the prominence of app development in healthcare. Despite limited budgets, healthcare app development is expected to grow significantly over the next several years, the report explained.

The survey found that 82 percent of healthcare organizations have implemented a mobile strategy, with 78 percent receiving a positive ROI from mobile applications. The generally positive financial outcome of healthcare mobile applications indicates a spike in future healthcare app development, with 36 percent of respondents intending to develop additional apps over the next year.

While Red Hat’s survey found that mobile apps are currently provided primarily for doctor’s (59 percent) and second for patients (55 percent), respondents indicated that patient demand will drive patient app development to surpass internal efficiencies over the next 12 months.

Technical challenges presented by the survey include back-end integration to healthcare systems (cited by 29 percent of respondents) and securing access to data (cited by 27 percent of those surveyed). More than half – 53 percent – of all respondents said they use an on-premise or partial on-premise deployment model for their mobile apps.

In the US, 23 percent deploy in a private cloud and 11 percent in a public cloud. On-premise and partial on-premise deployment models are not uncommon in the healthcare industry because of regulations regarding PHI.

The technical app development and deployment challenges healthcare organizations face cannot be solved if an organization cannot employ enough skilled developers to handle back-end development and management of the apps.

Red Hat analysts suggested that until the developer shortage balances out, organizations should look into new app development and delivery strategies such as low-code application development platforms or rapid mobile app development. These platforms allow developers to have a more hands-off approach to front-end development, allowing other IT staff or users to develop apps in the platform based on a pre-determined framework.