The IT talent Gap

With the growing use of complex technologies such as AI and the increasing concern over cybersecurity, companies need more qualified tech specialists of all kinds to help manipulate and integrate new tools.

But “qualified” will likely take on a new meaning in the near future. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be roughly 1.3 million occupational openings for IT professionals by 2026. Compare that with the number of computer science graduates being produced every year (close to 60,000 according to the National Center for Educational Statistics) and we are facing a skills gap.

On top of that, IT is becoming more and more integrated with everyday business processes. IT employees with knowledge of both business and IT best practices will be essential to organizations that want to stay competitive. CIO’s recent article does a great job of exploring the steps your organization can take to gain a deep understanding of what its future work will consist of and what to do to facilitate that evolution.

One thing we’ve found to be critical in addressing the imbalance of supply and demand is for IT leaders to take the initiative and work with other departments as well as organizational learning and development (L&D) resources to create a roadmap for continued learning among employees.

Everyone has different levels of experience, educational backgrounds, and ways of acquiring, retaining, and implementing knowledge that he or she has learned. Some like to read and learn new skills by reading books, articles, and blogs; others like to learn through video tutorials and webinars; yet others prefer traditional in-person classroom training sessions. Your L&D plan therefore needs to support multi-modal knowledge transfer, including both IT and business training for employees to go back and reference training material, virtual classrooms which allow instructor interaction, and peer-to-peer learning platforms.

While the skills gap is a significant one, if each organization takes a proactive approach to learning and development, we can create a new generation of IT professionals who are ready to meet the increasing demands of business and technology.