Empowering Tech Pros to Tackle the Challenges of Tomorrow

As technology continues to leave a significant impact across various industries, scores of technology professionals (tech pros) have risen to the occasion with open arms, embracing new skills to stay ahead of the sharp digital curve.

In Singapore’s pursuit of becoming a Smart Nation, the pace of technological adoption and advancements may even be amplified. The recent Singapore Budget further outlined the government’s relentless push to transform the workforce. They are looking to build deeper enterprise capabilities through upskilling and reskilling.

While governments like Singapore’s are steadfast in deepening industry and workforce skillsets, is that enough?

Against this landscape, tech pros of today are at an inflection point in their careers. With a keen understanding of today’s trends, upskilling and training is no longer just necessary in successfully managing their IT environments, but also vital in ensuring their own career progression and development. As more and newer tech trends continue to gain momentum across organizations everywhere, tech pros increasingly find themselves caught between today’s technological realities, while having to keep their eye on upcoming trends.

Echoing this was SolarWinds’ latest IT Trends Report (link to PPT slides), that looks into the upskilling needs of Tech Pros today. The survey found that the majority of tech pros (71%) lacked confidence in having all the necessary skills required to manage their IT environments over the next 3-5 years successfully.

This raises the question: Is the fear of the unknown holding tech pros back from effectively upskilling for the future? And if so, how can tech pros prepare themselves effectively?

Let’s first take a step back to look at the bigger picture, the lack of confidence is not entirely inconceivable. Given how tech pros often deal with the urgency of day-to-day tasks, it leaves little wiggle room for valuable training sessions, including courses, self-guided training, or webinars. In fact, 3 in 10 of those polled (34%) say the lack of time is a significant barrier to upskilling, closely followed by the high costs involved (33%). 

How can we expect our tech pros to stay abreast of the trends, upskilling, and finally implement these new trends – all while juggling their current responsibilities? Beyond what businesses and government are already doing to help deepen the knowledge through training and relevant subsidies, here are some ways tech pros can ensure they stay ahead of the curve.

Current Gaps

The rapid adoption of new technologies has no doubt created a plethora of different opportunities for enterprises to capitalize on. However, it has also cultivated environments that are not at all optimized for peak performance.

Nearly half (44%) of all IT professionals surveyed felt that their existing IT environments and infrastructure were not operating at optimal levels at all, while 72% of tech pros surveyed spend less than half of their time proactively optimizing their systems for prime performance. Furthermore, according to a survey by Black Hat last year, nearly 70% of respondents expect an attack impacting critical infrastructure across multiple Asian countries within the next two years – this worrying sentiment highlights the current knowledge gaps, and it is clear more needs to be done to ensure IT professionals are better equipped to handle potential crises.

These not only have the potential to create a fresh set of challenges for an organization but further, perpetuate a lack of confidence amongst tech pros – all of which leads to a bleaker outlook on the state of tech in Asia. It is then even more critical for tech pros to be able first to identify the gaps and figure out how they can optimize them.

What Really Matters

With so many buzzwords being thrown around the industry, it is easy for tech pros to get lost amidst trends that matter.

Unsurprisingly, technological advancements in recent history are still key priorities for tech pros, and more than half of those surveyed are rightfully focused on working on developing their hybrid IT (mix of cloud and on-premises) deployment, monitoring and management skills to manage their day-to-day IT environment and its needed disciplines better.

While it is essential to focus on the current trends, tech pros should not lose sight of the horizon for emerging trends to hone over the next 3-5 years. The survey revealed technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and big data analytics fell well within the top five technologies or skillsets tech pros have identified as critical areas to develop and grow, in preparation for the challenges of tomorrow.

Fifty-seven percent of Tech Pros also indicated that developing their data science & analytics skills to better manage their day-to-day IT environment and its needed disciplines were most vital, followed by hybrid IT deployment, monitoring & management skills (53%) and security management skills (51%).

Narrowing the vast number of trends out there to target the critical factors for future success helps tech pros play a role in priming themselves for a more structured and strategic training program. Beyond just that, it is essential to note that tech pros who can learn the language of business will be able to influence technology decisions successfully and up-level their resumes. Tech pros also need to note that better understanding of a business’ concerns—typically growing revenue, reducing cost, and removing risk—and how technology can positively affect those three performance indicators, enables them to develop holistically, integrating the use of technology into driving key business goals.

Technology moves at a rapid pace, and advancements wait for no man. However, that should only mean that more needs to be done to ensure tech pros are well-equipped with the necessary capabilities to deal with the challenges of tomorrow. The SolarWinds 2019 survey results shed light on the need to empower skillset and career development with its primary goal being to allow both tech pros and leadership to transform ineffective technology today, while also preparing for a future business opportunity. This can only be accomplished if business managers and leaders are on board, making it increasingly crucial for tech pros to learn the language of business, as well as collaborate across departments, prioritize training in emerging tech, cultivate high-level skills in data science and analytics, and create a blueprint for their career development.

Developments in the space of technology are lifelong endeavors and learning, development, and training should be handled no differently.

This article was authored by Patrick Hubbard, head geek, SolarWinds.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of HR&DigitalTrends.