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THE LATEST EDITION

December 2019
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SolarWinds: Public Sector Tech Pros Need to Develop Skills to Confidently Manage Environments by 2024

Reporter: Selena Darke

SolarWinds Finds 71 Percent of U.K. Public Sector Tech Pros Need to Develop Skills to Confidently Manage Environments by 2024; Nearly 80 Percent Lack Time or Budget to Train.

  • SolarWinds IT Trends Report 2019: Skills for Tech Pros of Tomorrow examines confidence, current and future skillsets, career development, and barriers to career success
  • Tech pros still prioritise hybrid IT and security and look to develop deeper understanding in areas like AI and data science
  • According to nearly 80 percent of tech pros, more training, time, and budget is needed to develop skills to manage environments in the next three to five years

SolarWinds (NYSE:SWI), a leading provider of powerful and affordable IT management software, today released the findings of the SolarWinds®IT Trends Report 2019: Skills for Tech Pros of Tomorrow.This year’s annual report studies the state of skills and career development for technology professionals—meaning anyone who manages on-premises or public/private cloud infrastructures, hybrid IT environments, or SaaS-based applications, as well as managed service/managed security service providers (MSP/MSSP)—revealing they have one foot grounded in today’s hybrid IT realities while also setting their sights on emerging technology.

Specifically, U.K. public sector tech pros have prioritised systems and infrastructure, security management, and hybrid IT skills development in the past 12 months. When it comes to the next three to five years, they are looking to develop skills in areas like security management and data science and analytics, while understanding that keeping up with technology innovation and garnering management, leadership and strategic planning skills will be key to their career path. However, without improvement in time and budget constraints, the majority of tech pros (71 percent) say they will be unable to confidently manage future innovations. This reality ultimately puts public sector organisations performance and ability to serve constituents at risk, making the prioritisation of skills and career development for tech pros paramount.

“Recent history has proven that there is a direct correlation between technology and how the public sector serves and protects its constituents,” said Joe Kim, executive vice president and global chief technology officer, SolarWinds. “The results of this year’s IT Trends Report highlight that organisations need to focus even more on developing these professionals charged with running and pioneering technologies. By removing day-to-day barriers, arming technology pros with the right technology and management tools, and prioritising skills and career development in the IT budget, tech pros can be better equipped for the future and help ensure the stability of the institutions we depend on.”

“The findings are also in line with our view that the most critical problem we need to help tech pros solve today is the reality of the hybrid IT landscape—this applies to all tech pros whether on-premises, managing hybrid infrastructures, SaaS-based, or MSPs,” added Kim. “The way SolarWinds has always addressed and will continue to address these realities is through our deep connection to tech pros across the IT infrastructure. We are committed to understanding the needs of our customers and making their jobs easier as technology continues to evolve.”

2019 Key Findings 

The SolarWinds IT Trends Report 2019: Skills for Tech Pros of Tomorrow explores confidence, current and future skillsets, career development, and barriers to career success to provide a clear understanding of how public sector tech pros and the organisations they serve can improve to better manage future technology realities. Key findings show that:

The majority of technology professionals are not fully confident they have all the skills needed to manage their environments into the near future, especially when it comes to emerging tech.

  • 71 percent of all tech pros surveyed are not “completely confident” in having all the necessary skills to successfully manage their IT environments over the next three to five years—even though 95 percent of tech pros have worked to develop a skill over the past 12 months.
  • When it comes to the idea of implementing or managing specific technologies, emerging tech is a pain point (despite how much mind share these buzzworthy technologies get in headlines). The top three technologies tech pros feel unequipped to manage with their current skillsets are:
    • 1. Blockchain (56 percent)
    • 2. AI (51 percent)
    • 3. Quantum computing (49 percent)
      • According to the Gartner® list of strategic technology trends that have the potential to disrupt and are on the verge of becoming more widely used in the next five years, AI, blockchain and quantum computing rank in the top 10.
    • There is a great opportunity for tech pros to increase their knowledge of these technologies and to have productive conversations with organisations on the reality of implementation in the near future.

Tech pros will continue building skills in daily operations with an eye toward areas like data science.

  • In the past 12 months, tech pros have prioritised skills in systems and infrastructure management (51 percent), security management (SIEM, policies, compliance, 48 percent), and hybrid IT deployment/management (46 percent).
  • In the next three to five years, the top two skills tech pros plan to develop are security management (57 percent) and data science and analytics (39 percent).
    • This is in line with what tech pros say will be most important to their organisations’ transformation over the next three to five years (by weighted rank): SIEM and threat intelligence.
    • Tech pros’ instincts are correct when it comes to their top skillset areas as they are expected to see continued growth, according to Gartner:
      • Gartner research analysts estimate that global revenue for the information security market will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.8 percent between 2017 and 2022, reaching US $143 billion in constant currency terms.
  • Hybrid IT deployment monitoring and management rounds out the top three skillsets tech pros plan to develop in the next three to five years.

Tech pros say cloud and/or hybrid IT, automation and/or orchestration, and AI are the key technologies for career development, which will help achieve higher goals like innovation.

  • Tech pros say the most important technologies for their career development are (by weighted rank) aligned with the top three technologies for organisations’ transformation over the next three to five years):
    • 1. Cloud and/or hybrid IT (66 percent)
    • 2. SIEM and/or threat intelligence (56 percent)
    • 3. Automation and/or orchestration (52 percent)
  • When it comes to career development goals over the next three to five years, tech pros will look to prioritise (by weighted rank):
    • 1. Technology innovation (59 percent)
    • 2. Management/leadership skills (people management) (43 percent)
    • 3. Strategic planning (39 percent)
    • IT security protocol and/or processes and improving end-user experience round out the top five career development goals for the next three to five years.

Tech pros have an appetite to prioritise career development on a weekly basis but are hindered by factors like time and cost.

  • Nearly eight in 10 tech pros (77 percent) say their day-to-day IT tasks extend into time earmarked for career development, with 31 percent saying this always happens.
  • This is alarming, considering tech pros enjoy technology skills training, with 49 percent finding it informative, 44 percent saying it’s engaging and interactive, and 20 percent reporting it’s not long enough.
  • Currently, tech pros engage in IT skills training and/or career development programs ranging from a few times a year (29 percent) to monthly (29 percent) and quarterly (13 percent); however, if there were no schedule or workload restrictions, most (35 percent) would prefer weekly training.
  • Tech pros cite time and availability (45 percent) and cost (29 percent) as the biggest barriers affecting their current ability to participate in IT skills training and career development programs at the frequency they would like.
  • When it comes to their primary sources for training, tech pros turn to:
    • 1. Industry events/tradeshows (21 percent)
    • 2. Vendor training sessions (20 percent)
    • 3. My organisation and/or coworkers (13 percent); industry publications (13 percent); online communities/forums (13 percent)
  • However, the ideal delivery format for IT skills training according to tech pros is (by weighted rank):
    • 1. Self-guided online course
    • 2. In-person workshop/user conference (full-day)
    • 3. Webinar

To explore and interact with all of the 2019 findings, please visit the SolarWinds IT Trends Index, a dynamic web experience that presents the study’s findings by region and additional insights into the data, as well as charts, graphs, and socially shareable elements.

The findings of this year’s report are based on a survey fielded in December 2018, which yielded responses from 61 technology practitioners, managers, and directors in the United Kingdom from public sector small, mid-size, and enterprise organisations. All regions studied in 2019, as reported on the SolarWinds IT Trends Index, were North America, Australia, Germany, Hong Kong, Singapore, and the United Kingdom, with 966 respondents across all geographies combined.

Additional Resources

Past SolarWinds IT Trends Reports

Connect with SolarWinds

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