Celebrating Superheroes on IT Professionals Day 2019

eWEEK DATA POINTS RESOURCE PAGE: National IT Professionals Day is observed on Tuesday, Sept. 17. Corporate managers, take notice and let your IT staff know how much they are appreciated!

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Technology professionals are the superheroes of today’s organizations. They play a critical role in operating successful, modern businesses and providing end users with the exceptional customer experience they’ve come to expect. Next week we can celebrate National IT Pro Day by not only giving tech pros the recognition they deserve but also by supporting them in their professional growth.

National IT Professionals Day is observed on Tuesday, Sept. 17. It has been observed the third Tuesday in September since 2015. Corporate managers, take notice and let your IT staff know how much they are appreciated!

While tech pros play a heroic role in the organizations they support, the SolarWinds IT Trends Report 2019: Skills for Tech Pros of Tomorrow revealed they’re actually lacking confidence in their skills and in their potential for career development. Rapidly emerging tech, cost barriers and time constraints all feed into skills gap concerns. 

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In honor of IT Pro Day, SolarWinds polled technology professionals around the world to understand their needs and how organizations are addressing these needs. Key findings from the survey, “Building Confidence for Tech Pros of Tomorrow,” reveal how business leaders and tech pros can work together to bolster confidence and encourage skills development.

Here’s what SolarWinds shared with eWEEK readers for this Data Points article:

Data Point No. 1: Skill Development is Still on the Back Burner

More than half of tech pros surveyed said they are not “completely confident” they’ll have all the necessary skills to successfully manage their IT environments over the next three to five years. However, nearly 60% of survey respondents have not actively pursued a new skill or completed a certification in the last six months. While some attempted to develop a new skill—for example by starting a certification process such as Microsoft, Cisco Systems, AWS or VMware—over half didn’t complete the course. Lack of time to commit to completing the course was cited as a main barrier.

Data Point No. 2: Organizations are Responding to Labor Shortages

Organizations are working to resolve data center labor shortages in ways that resonate with tech pros. More than one third (35%) of respondents selected in-company trainings as the best tactic for addressing the labor shortage. The majority of survey respondents (54%) cited full-day in-person workshops as providing the most value for the time spent when it comes to IT skills training materials.

Organizations using automation to address this gap (31%) point to business investment in new ways to help their staff develop skills.

Data Point No. 3: Tech Pros Increasingly Need APM Skills

The tech pros surveyed identified the main skills necessary to learn to help close the gap. Across all disciplines, application performance management (APM) skills were ranked most important for tech pros to possess. Respondents also named application support, troubleshooting, and monitoring as responsibilities they’re tasked with outside their core job description. The majority of respondents cited experience monitoring of applications as an additional required skill to develop to confidently manage their environment. This indicates tech pros are continuing to prioritize an exceptional end-user experience. 

Data Point No. 4: Soft Skill Development is Not an Option

Soft skills training is a confirmed area tech pros want—and need—to develop. Nearly half of survey respondents (46%) cited interpersonal communications skills as most critical for their continued career growth. Other top skills included project management (56%) and public speaking/presentations (52%).

Data Point No. 5: Business Leaders Must Listen to Their IT Team

Most tech pros feel comfortable communicating with business leadership about requests for technology purchases and investing time/budget into team trainings: 44% are very comfortable and nearly 50% are somewhat comfortable. However, they aren’t always equipped with the support and tools necessary to do their job effectively. 

Tech pros want to close the skills gap and better support their organizations. However, this requires reciprocal support from their organizations. To increase confidence in managing current and future environments, tech pros said they need an increased budget/additional resources (64%) and more support from IT or business leadership (48%).

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Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 15 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...