Software development, Non-Business Skills sought in 2022

Traditional skills are still crucial, but communication and collaboration will enable employees to become more integral to the company, according to the CompTIA’s Tech Outlook for 2022 report.

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While IT skills have been strongly focused on infrastructure in recent decades, according to the CompTIA report for the industry for 2022, companies will now place much more emphasis on software development as companies mature in their technology use.
In addition to software development, companies are looking for expertise in the other three areas in the IT framework of CompTIA: infrastructure, cyber security, and data.

“In many cases, companies hope to find candidates with some work experience,” the report said, “so there is less willingness to take an entry-level generalist and send them to specialization.

Traditional skills still carry weight

Although the data in the Outlook report is consistent with earlier CompTIA research, “it may be a surprise to some to see more traditional skills leading the way before companies are interested in new skills,” said Seth Robinson, senior technology analysis director at CompTIA.

The reason is that many companies need to focus on upgrading their existing infrastructure and expertise before moving to new fields, “so topics such as cloud computing, networking and storage are, in a sense, conditions of the Internet of Things,” said Robinson.

But he added that a surprising finding was that only 28% of companies expect to focus on penetration testing in the coming year. “More companies need to be proactive in their security testing, so penetration testing can be a little underestimated right now,” he said.
Robinson said traditional skills – such as networking, storage, database management, or quality assurance – have always been critical. “The most important change in this area is the demand for technical depth and cooperation with other technical areas or business units to create complex systems.”

Struggling with recruiting technical professionals continues

According to the report, collaboration is one of the so-called soft skills that become of the utmost importance. “In addition to technical skills, companies are also looking for technology professionals who can speak the language of the company and collaborate with other departments to achieve technological results,” the report said. “Employability skills such as communication and teamwork are no longer reserved for those employees on a management trajectory, but now apply at every level.”

By focusing on skills such as communication and business activities, Robinson could go beyond a technological silo and become more integrated into the strategic direction of their business.

However, while we acknowledge the shortage of skills in the technological job market, the report pointed out that “there are no easy answers for how companies will meet these needs.” It emphasized that “there are huge opportunities for technologists in every area.”
Since most companies are looking for expertise in three to ten years, Robinson said they need to change their traditional recruitment/training tactics.

“The range of technical skills is much less than demand, so companies will not be able to meet their exact needs in the open market precisely,” he said. “There must be a willingness to go beyond the normal sources of technical skill, and there must be a willingness to invest in training to bring employees up to speed once they get home.”

He said that the trend is toward specialization, “but this is certainly a financial challenge” because most companies cannot afford to build large teams of specialists. So depending on the company’s strategy, they can lean more on generalists or mix other studies from internal/external talent. “Even for technicians who specialize, knowledge of the different IT areas is necessary for efficient operation of complex systems,” Robinson said.

The primary approach that most tech workers take for career growth is to deepen their skills in their field, he said. But they also need knowledge in other areas, Robinson emphasized, especially when technicians switch from a junior to an architect level.

Other Technical Predictions

The company expects the global IT industry signs to point upward and onward as we head into 2022, with a level of cautious optimism creeping back into the technology industry. The attitude lift is happening at both the IT professional level and among those in the business of technology – channel firms, vendors, distributors, and the like.

Other trends that CompTIA predicts for next year include:

  1. The Workplace Can No Longer Be Easily Defined
  2. Changes in Business Travel Drive Innovation
  3. The Impact of Regulation Goes Beyond New Laws
  4. Technology Budgets Experience Stealth Growth
  5. Proactive Cybersecurity Takes a Big Step Forward
  6. Channel Cybersecurity Has a Ways to Go
  7. Consulting: Today’s Channel Opportunity
  8. Chip Supply Chain Woes Provide Wake-up Call
  9. Software Development Gets More Granular
  10. Foundational Data Management Drives an Analytics Revolution

Factors that could derail these predictions in 2022? The report cites labor costs and the ability to hire employees with skills consistent with today’s complex technological requirements, including emerging technical insight, as the greatest concerns of the channel.