There’s a major IT skills gap in the country and it’s only expected to widen. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, there will be 1 million more computing jobs than applicants by 2020.
And while this poses a problem for organizations without a plan to address it (two-thirds don’t, according to a recent CompTIA report), the skills gap can also be viewed as an opportunity. For IT pros and for businesses, there’s a chance to get ahead of your competition by matching supply and demand.
If you’re up for the challenge, read on to find out which areas are trending — in education, soft skills, networking, and hot technologies among others — and which are cooling down.
Hot: IT pros taking leadership roles
As budgets across all industries tighten, IT workers, like other enterprise groups, are increasingly expected to multitask.
“Organizations are putting IT staff in front of customers to share product insights and gather information,” says Kyle Gingrich, vice president of IT and certifications at Skillsoft. “They’re being asked to run Scrum teams. They need to present to peers or managers and may also be learning how to work with virtual teams. Whatever the new hat is that’s being added to their skills stack, it requires training in soft skills to be effective and it’s not typically the place that IT professionals are comfortable with.”
Technology now shapes leadership trends, says Donna Kimmel, senior vice president and chief people officer at Citrix. And so it’s crucial for IT staff to learn leadership skills as well.
“Technology becomes more meaningful when it’s put to work to address human needs, solve problems and help achieve goals,” Kimmel says. “Maintaining this human element in the enterprise will be much easier if the IT teams deploying big data, machine learning and IoT solutions have strong leadership and people skills, in addition to technical ones.”
Cold: Dev and ops in silos
In part because of workload migrations to the cloud, it’s less likely to see traditional user support and networking services separated from the dev team.
“The days of infrastructure and application development teams operating separately are dwindling as businesses look to operate in a more lean, agile way,” says Tim Leylek, branch manager of the IT direct hire practice at Addison Group.
Todd Vernon, CEO and co-founder of incident management services provider VictorOps, says proactive operations staffers are developing skills in software reliability engineering (SRE), with the idea of embedding in software development teams and focusing on speed, security and customer service — and avoiding a potentially dead-end career.
“If your career is in purely system administration and software operations, your technical job will be the first casualty of the high-velocity digital age,” Vernon says.