According to research by Tech Pro conducted to report on the future of IT jobs, there is a need for IT professionals to diversify in order to stay in their current job roles. The report found that 59% of those surveyed felt worried that their current skill set would become obsolete.
Ordinarily, there are IT generalists and IT specialists, and this research suggests that today’s IT departments require their professionals to be more of a generalist, but with a broader, more diverse skill set. It seems that these professionals are already beginning to address these concerns as 57% of those surveyed are planning to obtain additional training and certifications to put them in better stead for the future.
Within SMEs it could be said that generalists already rule. In smaller businesses it is uncommon to have a number of specialists, but rather a couple of generalists who perhaps lean towards different specialisms internally, but cover all areas of IT to some degree. It is likely that the report’s findings will apply to these individuals the most, as smaller businesses grow and technologies become more advanced and in depth.
There are now such a huge amount of tools and frameworks available and some blame the ‘IT explosion’ of recent years, for changes within IT departments. However Tech Pro’s report “refutes the recent media reports on the possibility that IT jobs may disappear due to new technical advances. In fact, it’s quite the contrary with the increased complexity breeding new opportunities and furthering demand for skilled IT professionals.”
Paul Venezir uses the example of scripting and programming languages when discussing the growing need for specialists and whether the ‘do everything’ IT admin is becoming a rare breed. There are many languages and layers of frameworks within those languages, that would prove challenging for a generalist to deal with. He explains that it’s much harder now for one single IT professional to deal with so many disparate tasks and technologies than it once was.
However, there remains a demand for one or two people within an organisation that understand the whole technical landscape, internal systems and how they all work together. This role is vital, as there may be specialists working in their niche areas but without someone directing and understanding the whole process, things won’t run smoothly. After all, hiring specialist contractors is often the best option for SMEs who need specialist knowledge for a short period of time, such as new software installation or training on a new system.
There are definitely strong cases for both specialist and generalists within IT departments, but developing technologies and a competitive market build a strong argument for the need of generalists to continually develop and diversify their skills. Tech Pro conclude that “as things stand, the future of IT looks bright for both existing workers and newcomers.”
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