Targeting New Skills IT Professionals Need in 2020
According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), about 35 percent of the skills seen as essential in today’s workplace will remain relevant in the next 10 years. The skillsets required across every industry are continuing to evolve at an exponential rate, and in no sector is this more the case than IT. This is largely because technology shapes the IT skillset and changes in technology require adaptability in the workforce.
The WEF points to 2020 as a landmark year as it ushers in what it identifies as the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The First Industrial Revolution mechanized production with water and steam power, the Second powered mass production with electricity and the Third automated productivity with electronics and IT. Building on the advances of the Third, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is characterized by a fusion of technologies — artificial intelligence, robotics, the Internet of Things, autonomous vehicles, 3-D printing, nanotechnology, biotechnology, materials science, energy storage, and quantum computing — that blur the lines between the physical, digital and biological spheres.
These rapid changes affect enterprises of all sizes across every sector. Organizations with any kind of IT presence need to be agile to keep up, particularly when looking to augment their IT staffs. The core competencies needed in today’s IT departments are shaped by evolving demands brought about by this seismic shift. Attracting top talent has never been easy, but every industry today faces a shortage of individuals with the right skills to take on the unique and shifting challenges faced in the modern IT environment. Here are the core skills every organization will need to look for when assembling an IT team.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Demand for artificial intelligence architects has grown with the integration of AI across a wide range of business sectors, even making its way into the lives of everyday consumers. Companies looking to meet new demand for AI products and services should be looking to add skilled AI experts to their IT teams. Specializations like AI integration, AI application programming and change management experience are in high demand. AI architects need to blend an understanding of key technical concepts with the ability to communicate effectively to bring an organization’s leadership on board with complex programs and ideas. Core AI-related skills and experience to shop for include machine learning, strategic thinking, knowledge of AI application programming and change management experience.
Business Intelligence (BI)
The role of the BI analyst has become increasingly important as more enterprises shift from merely harvesting data to interpreting it. BI analysts require knowledge and experience with database technology, analytics and reporting tools. Businesses are usually looking for prospects with B.S. degrees in computer science, information systems or engineering. The ideal candidate should be able to understand your organization’s unique data needs and then communicate those to stakeholders. Skills and experience to look for include experience with database queries, stored procedure writing, online analytical processing (OLAP), data cube technology and strong written and verbal skills.
Help Desk and Desktop Support Professionals
A competent help desk is a critical component of any efficient customer-facing business. The initial point of contact for customer service and problem solving, help desk workers require a balance of both technical and soft skills. IT experts suggest a tiered approach to assigning help desk tasks. Likewise, employees handling these tasks need varying experience and skill sets, though specific requirements can vary significantly based on the business. Skills and experience can be broken down by help desk tiers as follows:
• Tier 1: These are entry-level positions requiring less than two years of experience and/or an associate degree or coursework at a technical school.
• Tier 2: Look for candidates with two to four years of experience, a two-year or bachelor’s degree and relevant work experience.
• Tier 3: This tier represents the cream of the help desk crop, having more years of experience in a help desk setting, a bachelor’s degree in a related field and professional certifications.
Security is one of the most important IT categories today, which makes hiring a competent cybersecurity professional even more challenging. As the modern security landscape becomes more complex and businesses increasingly rely data for everyday operations, employers are scrambling to find cybersecurity professionals with experience in data, information, systems, networks and the cloud. Cybersecurity professionals ensure that enterprise IT initiatives remain safe from potential threats originating from both inside and outside the organization. They must also stay on top of industry compliance regulations and future security trends while ensuring the business’s hardware, software and networks remain secure. Skills and experience to look for include the ability to communicate and implement security policies and procedures; manage security audits, threats and vulnerabilities; leverage experience with security systems and document failures and other incidents; and demonstrate knowledge of compliance laws and regulations across the industry.
No newcomer to the IT landscape, a good system administrator should demonstrate strong problem solving, communication and analytical skills. A strong technical understanding of a company’s specific hardware and software is also critical. A company’s sys admin needs may vary depending on the services, hardware and software it relies on. Skills and experience to look for include the following:
• Servers, backup and recovery
• Installing, patching and upgrading software
• Troubleshooting and resolving hardware, software and networking problems
• B.S. in computer science, associate degree or technical training certificate
• Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator (MCSA), Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) or Sun Certified System Administrator (SCSA) certifications
Cloud computing has become and integral part of doing business in this Fourth Industrial Revolution. It offers businesses of all sizes added flexibility, data recovery, little to no maintenance, ease of access and a higher level of security. Cloud administrators are responsible for cloud initiatives and the networking services and applications that support cloud initiatives throughout an organization. Cloud admins generally spend considerable time troubleshooting and typically need to be on call in the event of an emergency or failure. What to look for in a cloud admin will depend on how extensive your network and data needs are. Certain skills and certifications that can help you identify the most qualified workers include troubleshooting and communication skills, analytic and diagnostic skills, the ability to be on call after hours and professional certifications.
Assembling a skilled IT team to tackle all the challenges you face in this latest Industrial Revolution can be daunting for any enterprise, but particularly for those limited by size, geography or resources. The alternative to assembling an in-house team of IT experts is to outsource these tasks to a managed services provider (MSP) with the knowledge and experience to customize an IT plan that will grow with your organization and adapt to evolving technological demands. Valeo Networks fields a ready-made team of highly skilled IT experts well versed in the latest technologies. We have the skills and experience to equip your organization for success. Contact us for more information about our services.