Make time to develop your own IT skills in today’s landscape

May 15, 20193 minute read

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It’s only wise to consider whether your IT team is prepared for your latest initiative or what’s just around the corner. Technology is evolving quickly, and knowledge is doubling almost every day, according to Digital Journal. As a result, you likely spend a lot of time worrying about their IT skills. But when was the last time you considered your own?

Nearly one-third of U.S. workers will need to find new jobs by 2030 in response to the rapidly advancing pace of technology, according to a recent study by McKinsey. The best way to future-proof your career is to develop your own skill sets constantly. As an IT manager, your role straddles the line between people and technology, and while there are some aspects of your job, like communicating and collaborating, that aren’t going to disappear or become automated, many other elements are going to change quickly.

What IT managers need to know

According to LinkedIn’s recent analysis of job postings for 2019 published through CNBC, the top five most in-demand skills are all relevant to IT managers. These areas include:

  1. Cloud computing
  2. Artificial intelligence
  3. Analytical reasoning
  4. People management
  5. UX design

While cybersecurity didn’t make the cut, it’s certainly up there. There are currently around 350,000 unfilled cybersecurity positions in the United States, per CSO Online, and analysts predict the security skills gap will reach 3.5 million unfilled jobs by 2021.

While smart devices will likely automate the duties of many existing positions, IT managers will still need to develop human security skill sets to manage devices and people effectively. Here are some ways to do just that.

Prioritize skill development

The right approach to leveling up your IT skills with regard to managing probably isn’t heading back to school. You need an approach to education that you can balance with your demanding list of tasks.

If you’ve found an alternate approach to skills development that you believe could help your department—like a certification path or a virtual education course—make a pitch to your boss for the funds. There’s a real ROI to professional development, and studies by the ASTD have determined that companies that invest heavily in training have significantly higher profit margins and price-to-book ratios.

There are benefits to both classroom learning and eLearning. eLearning courses offered by high-quality training institutes can provide instant feedback on coursework progress, create a paper trail of knowledge in case your company is audited, and allow you to “upskill” your career on your own time.

Some eLearning communities even offer a group discount if you can convince your boss to purchase a membership for the department. Not only can eLearning as a group supply motivation and opportunity for healthy competition through gamification, but it can also help you retain and recruit talent. Seventy-six percent of millennials believe professional development is one of the most appealing benefits an employer can offer, according to Access Perks.

Upskill your IT

When you consider the list of technologies that will be obsolete in less than 10 years time, the number is pretty staggering. Unsecured business printers and copiers, for instance, are surely going to disappear and be replaced with secure print solutions. USB drives have lived far longer than they ever should have, and there is a strong chance that smartphone cameras will replace DSLR cameras for the majority of users.

Don’t let your IT skills as a manager become like an inventory of last decade’s technology. Committing to upskilling yourself is critical, especially since you probably have concerns about whether your team has the skills to compete. Fortunately, a well-prepared team that makes use of the right combination of smarts and secure devices is one that is equipped for the future.

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