Network Complexity Redefines the IT Pro
July 02, 2013

Sanjay Castelino
SolarWinds

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Network complexity has defined a new competitive skillset for IT professionals, according to a new SolarWinds survey.

Driven by new technology combined with the evolving needs of IT Operations and Business Operations, the job of the IT pro is more complex than ever before.

These results are part of a wide-ranging survey of 225 US and Canada-based IT professionals, which was conducted last month in an effort to further understand the driving forces behind growing network complexity and to determine the skills IT professionals need to develop in order to stay competitive.

Over 92 percent of IT professionals said network complexity has either somewhat affected or greatly affected their role/responsibilities within the last three to five years.

Respondents indicated that the top contributing network complexity drivers across Technology, IT Operations and Business Operations were:

- Technology – smarter/more complex equipment, compute virtualization and SDN

- IT Operations – BYOD and mobility

- Business Operations – security

Network complexity is driven by many factors, both real and perceived. Two great examples are SDN, which promises to change the way networking is done in the future but is still a nascent technology, and security, a far more present and tangible problem for IT pros today. However, like other factors, IT pros know that change is a matter of life in this industry, and they are focused on trying to manage these drivers to help their businesses thrive.”

While most IT professionals generally agree that higher education sufficiently prepared them for their current role, over 70 percent said their company needs to train IT staff to be as prepared as possible for growing network complexity.

Network Complexity skillsets needed today: Over one-quarter of IT professionals surveyed said understanding of the business is the single most important skillset needed to combat the challenges of network complexity, followed closely by network engineering and information security.

Network Complexity skillsets needed in five years: When IT pros look five years into the future to determine what will be the single most important skillset needed to combat the future challenges of network complexity, information security surpasses understanding of the business – cloud, or SaaS also moved up on the radar of those surveyed.

Just as networks become more dynamic, so does the role of the IT professional. Wide-ranging network complexity drivers like BYOD, mobility and security are making a real impact on how IT pros manage their environments, suggesting that the IT pro with the broadest, most comprehensive set of skills will be better equipped than an IT specialist to tackle growing network complexity.

The survey was conducted from May 23-28, 2013, resulting in 225 survey responses from IT practitioners, managers and directors in the US and Canada from public- and private-sector small, mid-size and enterprise companies. SolarWinds will be releasing additional survey data in the coming weeks on IT professionals in the UK, Australia, Germany and Brazil.

Sanjay Castelino is Vice President of Product Marketing at SolarWinds.

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