29 Jan 2015

Skilling up in 2015; what IT professionals should be focusing on

IT never goes away, but the nature of technology certainly changes. In this ever-changing industry the job skills demands of those that work in it are forever in a state of flux, and 2015 is going to be no different in this regard.

Below are five key technical and management skills that IT professionals should be looking at developing or enhancing through the year.

Refresh your knowledge of desktop support

IT professionals have always had to be able to provide desktop support. However, while most IT professionals are skilled in the area, whether their skills are up to date is a different question entirely.

The computing environment is more complex and connected than ever before, with more technologies and tools coming into the environment by the month. For IT professionals the challenge will be in having the skills to not only troubleshoot, but also getting users comfortable with the technology and articulate to them how to use it to improve their work life.

Staying on top of security

When even the biggest corporations and the US military itself is revealed to be vulnerable to security breaches, it is clear that IT professionals need to be doing everything they can to properly understand the threats out there and how to proactively manage against them in their own businesses.

This means the IT professional will need to spend a lot of time reading and researching what is going on in the world of security, and then finding ways to present that to management in such a way that they can get the whole organisation supporting a unified security strategy.

Understanding marketing

One of the big developments in technology over the past couple of years is the reliance on technology in marketing. Gartner’s famous quote that the Chief Marketing Officer will have a larger IT budget than the CIO might not be panning out entirely as predicted, but the reality remains that the CMO will have greater demands on IT than ever before in 2015.

Key to successfully working with the organisation’s marketing team will be to be speaking the same language as them, and so IT professionals will find it important to come up to speed with the needs of marketing in order to help them talk to the CMO and execute on their vision.

Application development

Developers have found it easier to find work in recent years, and that will apply in 2015 as well. Because development is so in demand it can be hard for businesses to find adequate skills, and so IT professionals currently lacking development skills should see this as an opportunity to acquire new skills.

Mobile applications and device management

With wearable technology looming on the horizon and the trends for both mobile and BYOD showing no signs of abating, IT professionals that are able to effectively manage the proliferation of technology in the workplace will be very much in demand.

Being able to set up, support and secure everything from watches to laptops and tablets will occupy a lot of time in the IT team through 2015, so being able to manage devices efficiently will also be a core requirement of IT professionals through the year.