July 2013

The Importance of Keeping Your Skills Up to Date

The Importance of Keeping Your Skills Up to Date

By Marie-Claude Veillette, PowerSourceonline.com

The IT market is constantly transforming and is often perceived as a young person’s field. With cutbacks in training initiatives in recent years, senior tech workers struggle to keep their skills up to date. Demand for cross-functional professionals also raises concerns. Many IT professionals are worried about losing out on opportunities to younger applicants, who tend to be versatile and well trained in up-and-coming technologies like cloud computing, virtualization, and social networking.

Businesses are running leaner, and IT departments are no exception. Cutbacks in many companies in ongoing job training and education have had a direct impact on IT professionals who, though they may have
great hands-on experience, lack the opportunities to evolve their skills and knowledge in new and emerging technologies. Nowadays, most IT professionals interested in developing their careers have to take training on their own time and at their own expense. And most simply don’t do it. Consequently, there is a growing gap between what employers is looking for – experience and knowledge of newer technologies – and what skill set is actually available on the market.

These days, employers are looking for people with expertise in areas such as Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing, social networking, business analytics or Big Data analysis. Unfortunately, these fields of interest are only somewhat or not at all familiar for many more mature tech employees.

Organizations have job openings. That is not the problem. The problem is the gap between what they are looking for and the expertise that exists on the market. Hiring managers are desperate to find employees with skills related to emerging technologies and soft skills like business comprehension and communication abilities to manage the demands of an evolving market. On top of that, companies are scrambling to find IT professionals with sufficient skills in two or three areas rather than specializing in just one.

Computerworld’s annual forecast of IT hiring managers reveals that over 33 percent plan to hire new personnel in 2013. According to CompTIA’s IT Industry Outlook 2013, jobs are expected to grow by 22 percent through 2020.

To seize these opportunities, IT professionals definitely have to prepare for more and increasing challenges and invest in their careers by keeping up their training and education.

To keep current, employment experts and IT managers reiterate the importance of finding the time to get further training through coursework or certifications, even if this means at the employee’s own expense if necessary. As companies are more numerous at outsourcing IT operations to service providers, tech workers need to acquire abilities in solving business issues and developing good networking and communication skills to be able to shift from a technical point of view to a strategic one.

Opportunities in IT field are promise to grow over the years especially in security, cloud computing, virtualization and Big Data analysis. As the most in-demand IT skills focus mainly on development, deployment and management of new technologies, make sure you remain competitive. |PSO|