Skills for Tech Pros of Tomorrow - Part 2
April 10, 2019
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Without improvement in time and budget constraints, the majority of tech pros (75 percent) say they will be unable to confidently manage future innovations, according to IT Trends Report 2019: Skills for Tech Pros of Tomorrow, a new report from SolarWinds. This reality ultimately puts businesses at risk of performance and competitive advantage losses, making the prioritization of skills and career development for tech pros paramount.

Start with Skills for Tech Pros of Tomorrow - Part 1

Tech pros say hybrid IT, security, and software-defined everything are the key technologies for career development, which will help achieve higher goals like innovation

Tech pros say the most important technologies for their career development are (by weighted rank) aligned with the top three technologies for organizations' transformation over the next three to five years):

1. Cloud and/or hybrid IT (72 percent)

2. SIEM and/or threat intelligence (54 percent)

3. Software defined networking, security, data center (46 percent)

4. AI

5. Big data analytics

Numbers four and five on the list are AI and big data analytics, suggesting that tech pros are thinking about the impact of emerging tech on their careers.

When it comes to career development goals over the next three to five years, tech pros will look to prioritize (by weighted rank):

1. Technology innovation (57 percent)

2. IT security protocol and/or processes (44 percent)

3. Strategic planning (31 percent)

Data analytics and/or data and programming, coding, and/or scripting round out the top five career development goals for the next three to five years.

Small businesses rank IT security protocol and/or processes as number one, and technology innovation as number two, while the third career development goal is management/leadership skills (people management).

Tech pros have an appetite to prioritize career development on a weekly basis but are hindered by factors like time and cost

More than eight in 10 tech pros (83 percent) say their day-to-day IT tasks extend into time earmarked for career development, with 28 percent saying this always happens. As business size increases, the percentage of tech pros who said "always" decreases, suggesting small business tech pros are even more strapped for time than their enterprise counterparts.

This is alarming, considering tech pros enjoy technology skills training, with 49 percent finding it informative, 31 percent saying it's engaging and interactive, and 26 percent reporting it's not long enough.

However, training should be customized according to business size, as 34 percent of small business tech pros report training programs often assume knowledge they don't have. This is potentially due to the amount of vendor-led training SMBs engage in to get past adoption hurdles. To solve this, vendors should consider customizing learnings according to business size. 

Currently, tech pros engage in IT skills training and/or career development programs ranging from a few times a year (28 percent) to monthly (22 percent) and weekly (20 percent); however, if there were no schedule or workload restrictions, most (42 percent) would prefer weekly training.

Tech pros cite time and availability (48 percent) and cost (29 percent) as the biggest barriers affecting their current ability to participate in IT skills training and career development programs at the frequency they would like.

When it comes to their primary sources for training, tech pros turn to:

1. Vendor training (20 percent)

2. Online communities/forums (18 percent)

3. Industry events (18 percent)

Small businesses turn to online communities/forums (36 percent) and industry publications (21 percent).

Mid-size businesses turn to vendor training (26 percent) and industry pubs (22 percent).

Enterprise businesses turn to vendor training (20 percent), events (20 percent), and organization and coworkers (18 percent).

However, the ideal delivery format for IT skills training according to tech pros is (by weighted rank):

1. In-person workshop/user conference (full-day)

2. Self-guided online course

3. Webinar

"Recent history has proven that there is a direct correlation between technology and business performance," said Joe Kim, EVP and Global CTO, SolarWinds. "The results of this year's IT Trends Report highlight that businesses need to focus even more on developing these professionals charged with running and pioneering technologies for the businesses. By removing day-to-day barriers, arming technology pros with the right technology and management tools, and prioritizing skills and career development in the IT budget, tech pros can be better equipped for the future and help with business growth."

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