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A Look at Today’s IT Skills Gap

Published on Mar 28, 2012 at 9:42 pm in Tech Trends.

A recent article by technology writer Rachel King spelled out the results of a new CompTIA study that claimed that the two biggest factors contributing to today’s IT skills gap are the “fast-changing nature of technology” and the “lack of training resources.”

Let’s take a look at the first factor: new technology. The article described,

“Some of the most common shortcomings include handing emerging trends such as virtualization, process automation, and collaboration. But even core areas such as network security and updating equipment are also falling by the wayside.”

Sure, it’s hard to find staff for emerging technology positions, but this isn’t a new trend. It has always been more difficult to find individuals who truly understand and can anticipate the next big thing, but at least in Middle Tennessee, staffing for core areas remains the primary concern.

The Nashville Technology Council’s Technology Hiring Trends Report for the fourth quarter of 2011 found that there were over 1,000 open technology positions in Middle Tennessee. From the report,

“The most prevalent tech position title advertised in Middle Tennessee during the fourth quarter was Developer; with Analyst positions remaining in high demand. .Net remains at the top of the list in middle Tennessee, with JAVA and SQL requirements seeing significant increases both locally and statewide.”

We’re not talking cloud computing or virtualization technology, but core competencies that have the most weight on the industry and need to be addressed first.

A more telling statistic from the report could be that eight in 10 businesses were found to be negatively impacted because of this perceived IT skills gap. Which brings up the second largest contributing factor according to the study: lack of training.

How many businesses actually significantly invest in training their IT staffs? At Concept Technology, we offer continuing education reimbursement to our employees, but we’ve found our practice to be in the minority.

It’s easy for a company to blame the economy for the lack of training resources, but more likely many within IT feel as this commenter on the ZDNet article feels,

“It isn’t merely due to today’s economy. This was a problem with a lot of companies over a decade ago as well. Almost all of my training was paid for by myself, not my employer.”

To fix the industry trend, companies need to first look to patch holes within their own training policies.