What is the IT Skills Gap and How to Fix It?
Companies are feeling the burn of a post-pandemic labor shortage across the country. While this is good news for workers, it’s not so great for employers looking to bolster their staff. Specifically, it’s not great for companies seeking qualified IT talent. We already know there’s an IT talent shortage, but now the question is: how can we bridge the IT skills gap to foster a sound and productive IT workforce in our post-pandemic society?
IT PROFESSIONALS NEEDED — CYBERSECURITY SPECIALISTS DESPERATELY NEEDED
According to Training Industry, a skills gap is defined as “a gap between the skills an employee has and the skills he or she actually needs to perform a job well.” And right now, our country is facing a lack of knowledgeable IT workers. IT has been called the backbone of business in the 21st century. As more companies realize they can save time and money as well as provide a more streamlined and positive customer experience by ramping up automation efforts, IT jobs will continue to rise.
While the fast-paced nature of IT keeps companies on their technological toes, it also inherently creates a problem for employers; there simply isn’t enough IT talent to fill the roles of the quickly developing tech world. While the pandemic spelled disaster for certain industries, it also highlighted the need for IT professionals. With the rise of telehealth, ecommerce, and remote/hybrid working in the past year, the workforce needs more IT support than they have available. And while IT professionals are needed at large, one sector of the IT industry is especially feeling the effects of a widening skills gap: cybersecurity.
Companies need cybersecurity specialists – and fast. According to a report by IT certification association CompTIA, organizations are most concerned about cybersecurity and data vulnerability. When polled, the three biggest IT concerns listed by participating organizations were all related to cybersecurity: data security, firewalls and antivirus safeguards, and cloud security. These jobs require training and a specialized skillset, making it harder for companies to fill these roles with qualified talent.
Data security (or lack thereof) is a huge concern for companies. Without more IT talent that can actively solve a company’s security issues, the skills gap will keep widening.
WORKERS RECONSIDERING SKILLSETS AND CAREER PATHS
Skillsets and the skills gap are not only concerns for employers; they’re also concerns for workers. According to a study by Prudential, 1 in 4 workers are considering leaving their jobs after the pandemic ends. 80% of those workers cite concern over career advancement as the reason why, while 72% said the pandemic caused them to rethink their skills.
Workers are re-evaluating their career paths and looking into careers with more growth potential and flexibility. Remote work availability is becoming less of a bonus and more of a requirement, with more workers saying they won’t hesitate to jump to a new company that provides long-term remote work options if their company does not. Workplace expectations are changing; workers want to feel like they have more opportunity to grow with the company as well as work-from-home as needed. With a shifting mindset toward work and the workplace environment, what used to be considered job perks for employees are now pre-requisites.
The pandemic ripped the sheet off long-established workplace traditions; workers are ready and willing to leave their jobs for better opportunities. But how can they effectively (and swiftly) make the jump from a job with less security into a career path with better opportunities and more flexibility?
NEW SKILLING IN THE POST-PANDEMIC WORKFORCE
New skilling has been defined as “all types of continuous learning to help build high-demand skills, whether an individual is trying to upskill current capabilities or they need complete reskilling to build entirely new capabilities.” Reskilling workers is the easiest and quickest way to close the IT skills gap. This is the process of learning new skills to get workers into new jobs. If we fill available IT roles with qualified workers, we can lessen the IT skills gap and ensure a fully functioning economy. Now the question is, how do we reskill workers?
If you are an employee looking to advance in your company or transition into an entirely new career, new skilling is a great way to get there. Specifically for IT, new skilling is the key to bridging the IT skills gap.
Employers want to hire candidates who have both technical skills and soft skills. They’re looking for employees who can not only satisfy the technical aspects of the job but also comfortably fit into a professional environment. This can be difficult for some workers who do not have experience in the professional workforce. Luckily, there are technical training options available to teach potential IT employees the technical skills to do the job and the soft skills to thrive in the workplace.
TECHNICAL TRAINING FOR IT HOPEFULS
Most employers do not require a four-year degree when hiring for IT positions. However, formal technical training of some sort is typically necessary. Training programs and online certifications are the perfect way to show that you are qualified for a job in IT — and they can typically be completed in less than a year (not to mention they cost much less than a traditional college or university).
Centriq Training is a four-month, hands-on IT career training program designed to get you into your first IT career — no college degree required. The Systems and Security Administration track was created with beginners in mind. It focuses on network support and security — a huge necessity for employers in our ever-expanding world of IT. Centriq’s career training program also prepares you for the workforce so you can hit the ground running. With resume strengthening and interview coaching workshops, not to mention access to our extensive Employer Network, Centriq works hard to help land your dream job after you’ve completed our program.
Ready to talk to an Admissions Advisor about your new career path? Fill out our online form or give us a call at 913-322-7000 to schedule an appointment today.