There Is No IT Skills Crisis – We Just Need To Train Our Existing Staff

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I regularly hear CIOs and other tech leaders complain of the IT skills crisis – that it is hard to recruit new people, they are too expensive, and that they are hard to retain. But at the same time, Australia Bureau of Statistics data points to the fact that, while the number of people studying IT-related courses is dropping, graduates are finding it hard to get a job – and for every job advertised in IT there are 29 candidates per open role. Despite all of this, I would argue that we don’t have an IT skills crisis – we have a training gap. A big one.

Just in the Sydney market I was recently told by various industry leaders that over the next few years there will be a shortage of AWS skills in the market – by up to 2,000 people. The same can probably said for Azure skills, security, DevOps, data scientists, and Google Cloud Platform. However, assuming 30 in a training group, and a week-long course, the AWS gap could be closed in 15 months by a single training provider – in less time with it spread out across many providers. Yes – some might need more training (weeks or months), but others could need less.

In the battle to keep up with market demands, I regularly see CIOs, Applications, and Infrastructure leaders bring in expensive contractors and consultants to make up for their skills gap. You KNOW what skills you will need. You WILL have some of your applications and infrastructure in the public cloud. You WILL need AI expertise. You WILL need more security professionals. You also know what skills will disappear or have less demand – and if you don’t, get on a call or catch up with a peer in the industry who has made the move to a modern, cloud-based development environment.

The costs of training should be in your budgets today. You should be having conversations with your infrastructure professionals about what skills they will need in the public cloud world – some might make the leap to DevOps pros, others Automation Engineers. You should be upskilling your developers to become BizDevOps pros. Put them through Design Thinking and Customer Journey Mapping training. Have them spend more time with the product, service, or CX leads. Retrain some of your QA professionals to become quality AND monitoring professionals – get them involved in live systems, as it will enhance their testing skills. Work with your DBAs to understand the skills they will need to transition to, and manage public cloud databases.

Most of the people you need already work for you – they just need the skills that will take them and your business forward.

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