Anyone who’s ever worked in IT will tell you that technology careers are all about staying relevant. If we’ve learned anything over the past 40 years, it’s that technology constantly changes, with new types of devices being developed, new programming languages being created and new types of hardware being installed to run everything from corporate data networks to digital media products.
New technologies create opportunities and challenges, and IT professionals must constantly educate themselves to keep pace and stay competitive. As the next generation of IT managers takes its place, what are the must-have skills necessary for their success? Let’s take a look at five of them.
Cloud Communications Technology
Cloud technology is already dominating the IT world. As more businesses move their communications systems to the cloud, IT managers must have a firm understanding not only of how cloud communications technologies work, but how their company can get the most from them.
Big Data Analytics
Companies continue to gather an enormous volume of data. But without the right tools and skills to properly analyze it, big data is useless. Businesses need IT professionals with a deep understanding of how to extract value from both structured and unstructured data. By extracting a more nuanced picture of customers, products and services, IT teams can help other functions like marketing and sales put analytics to work and drive stronger results.
One area of IT management is experiencing notable growth: salaries for chief security officers have increased nearly 6.5 percent, which demonstrates the increasing importance of IT security, according to ComputerWorld’s 2017 IT Salary Survey. In addition, new roles—like cloud security architect and cybersecurity specialist—are emerging, requiring IT professionals to learn how to manage greater complexity.
The unemployment rate for the technology industry is low, coming in around 2% according to reports by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. This makes it more difficult for managers to find and retain top talent. High starting salaries and bonuses will help, but only to a point. More creative incentives such as mentoring, continuing education offerings and even company-provided meals are new strategies for keeping the best tech talent on your company’s team.
The new workforce is mobile, placing the burdens on managers to create more collaborative environments, virtually. Providing access to all business systems on personal and mobile devices and leveraging tools such as screen sharing, messaging and video chat are just some of the ways they can put advances in communications technology to work for their teams.
The best managers will continue to evolve their IT and management skillsets. While deep knowledge of cloud technology, big data and secure environments are critical, IT managers should also focus on developing soft skills such as team-building and innovation. Why? Because those can help them motivate and retain their best talent.