How to prepare for the coming IT skills revolution

The revolution may not be televised, but it probably will be emailed to you. This article by Julia King and Tracy Mayor feels the ground and smells the air – and can tell that a revolution is coming. The first indication is the skills gap that exists between what IT professionals are knowledgeable of and what business wants them to know. Headlines point out how business wants “hot area” expertise such as mobile app development and cloud computing, but according to the article, the skills and needs of business and IT are much more specific: both employers and IT employees share responsibility for the growing skills gap. A gap which is constantly growing: Most portentous, though, is that the gap, whatever its true nature, is rapidly becoming a yawning chasm — one that IT employees will have to cross sooner rather than later. Many hiring experts, IT managers and CIOs believe that the tech employment landscape will be radically different five years from now as more and more companies outsource IT operations to service providers, perhaps offshore, or move traditional IT jobs to other business units. Part of that radical difference will come simply because there are too many desired skills and not enough individuals that have them. Companies will look at brass tax: why hire someone who is only good at a few things when you can outsource to get exactly what you want for less? This might sound like doom for IT workers as a whole, but to be more accurate it’s more of a change ““ and those that succeed will be those that recognize how they need to fit into the new IT. The article explains that outsourcing and various “as-a-service” solutions will reduce the headcount of in-house IT. This gives a good opportunity for IT professionals to become consultants and for-hire resources. IT also means that those who want to stay in the building should spend more time focusing their business and soft skills. But business has some responsibility here as well : it’s hard enough to be an IT worker and do the day-to-day. Tack on to that the need to keep current skills relevant and learn new skills, and you’ve reached a point of complete breakdown. While business may not be able to give IT enough time during the workday to learn in a traditional way, it can help IT professionals with different skillsets to work together, learning from each other and enhancing the abilities of the team as a whole.

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