As we move towards greater digitalization, information technology (IT) engineers, in India, will need to arm themselves with new skill sets to stay relevant in this fast changing technological world. In an era defined by cloud computing, social media and mobile strategies, new IT jobs are being created every day, even as existing ones evolve or get obsolete. The following are a few of the new set skills required by IT professionals in the spheres of Infrastructure, Development, Security and Data.
Skills in Infrastructure
Technical/help & service desk: This is no longer confined to "break fix" support. An Information Technology Service Manager -- a fast-growing job role, more vital to companies than ever before -- today needs skills of network troubleshooting, mobile phone device support, login and authentication support, and sophisticated troubleshooting.
Cloud technology: Today, there is a chronic shortage of cloud-technology skill. Surveys show that a large number of companies wish to move to the cloud, but are hindered by the lack of skilled, knowledgeable workers. Automation, or chestration and more sophisticated uses of virtual machines lead the way for cloud-based implementations. New requirements in this field include more knowledge about security, containerization, how to use cloud technologies to control costs and conduct migrations.
Cloud Virtualization: A systems engineer also needs Cloud virtualization skills and to create and manage virtualized platforms. A Linux administrator would not only need to know Linux, but also knowhow to use these systems to virtualize various solutions (including Windows severs) on Linux.
To acquire skill sets based on one's areas of interest, short-term courses and certifications are great options.
Skills in Development
Data Programming: Today, IT programmers need to work more and more with data. Instead of just creating sequential programs, they need to analyze data, consider business problems, and then interpret data and turn it into information.
Automation Development: This is a skill automation engineers need to equip themselves with. It would involve ability to automate various repetitive skills in the workplace. The job role of automation engineer is becoming increasingly important today.
Artificial Intelligence: This is a much sought after skill. Programmers who can help create the AI of tomorrow, or leverage AI services for business purposes. It would include Deep Learning, Python, C++, Java, Prolog, and LISP.
Cloud Development: This involves using existing cloud technologies (e.g., Amazon Web Services, Azure, Software's a Service) and creating new solutions.
Skills in Security
Vulnerability Assessment: The foremost skill in the security sphere is to protect the system from hackers. It includes ability to assess vulnerability. Assessors help to penetrate systems, and do threat modeling. They test incursions into systems to see where defenses have failed.
Disaster Recovery: This skill is vital in helping companies plan against man-made or natural disasters. It involves creating recovery plans from cyber-attacks like ransomware and all sorts of major business interruption.
Skills in Data
Analytics: Dealing with the Internet of Things (IoT) needs a tremendous amount of data. Companies are moving fast to learn invaluable lessons from this data.
Big Data: Big details data that is seemingly random, variable, and comes in at a tremendous volume. Such data is not pre-organized. Big data skill would include the ability to sift through thousands of Web requests or e-mails to find patterns. This is a skill which Data Engineers, Developers and Data Architects increasing require today.
Small Data: Small data skill means ability to deal with organized, repetitive, and useful data. Such data need to be compiled and interpreted. The IT sector needs engineers who can use technology to process focused feedback to draw critical conclusions. They also need to have database administration skill.
The Road Ahead
There are certain inherent challenges that today's IT workforce faces with regard to skill enhancement. With age and experience, people's learn ability quotient goes down. This is particularly true in an Indian context. A few years into their job, structured learning for working professionals ends. They just get used to the day to day expectations of their job roles and there is little eagerness to learn. Add to this, the routine mundaneness of the work itself and we see that re-skilling is the last of their priorities. The other challenge is a lack of 'how to' guidance that organizations should provide their employees for professional growth. Most organizations do not help professionals identify their areas of interest and existing skills sets -- the first steps towards re-skilling.
To acquire skill sets based on one's areas of interest, short-term courses and certifications are great options. They help establish competency. To climb the career ladder, certification from a global certification body is a big help in establishing that the professional has the right skill set required for the job. As an organization, which understands skills and the job market, we recommend that IT engineers invest in certification-driven training on emerging technologies, especially in the spheres of Information Security and Cloud Technology. In addition, professionals and organizations should always look for certification study material and training delivery vendors who are authorized by the certification body.
He is Regional Director, CompTIA, a leading global provider of technology certifications. CompTIA is dedicated to advancing industry growth and workforce skill development through its professional certifications, educational programs, public policy and advocacy.