Why IT workers need to keep their skills updated

  • career advice
  • August 26, 2016

Not too many years ago, the IT department was only expected to provide the technical infrastructure and services that enabled the remainder of the business. The CIO was expected to manage their firm’s technology requirements with little to no input into overall business strategy. That has changed. The IT organization today is expected to help drive the overall business strategy and be the center of innovation within the firm. Some organizations are creating the role of CDO, Chief Digital Officer, to lead their organization’s digital initiatives.

Innovation is key

Many firms look for innovation to propel the development of new products and services and to create better customer experiences, thereby, fueling revenue growth. Their expectation is that technology will facilitate innovation – and the heart of technology within the organization is IT. As one might expect, many companies are looking to develop innovative tools and processes around mobility, IoT, analytics, security, the cloud and social. 

Innovation doesn’t necessarily mean a discontinuous innovation that causes an entire paradigm shift like the iPhone – but can be subtle improvements to existing products or services that are meaningful to the buyer/user. Innovation is a marriage of technological savvy, with astute insight into the consumer and market. 

The need for skilled talent

From our own experience validated by numerous industry surveys, we know that many companies are finding it difficult to locate and hire enough of the talent they need in these emerging technologies to attain their business goals. Ultimately, if unable to successfully circumvent this talent shortage, their revenues will be affected. Finding and retaining the skilled individuals with the talents the firm needs to execute their vision fills just part of their needs – albeit an important part. They also need people who can help foster and support innovation.

The more an IT professional works to stay up to date with emerging technologies like those mentioned above, and knowledge of a specific vertical industries’ consumer, the more valuable they will be to potential employers.

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