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The Best Way to Prepare for Emerging Technologies

Level 13

Omar Rafik, SolarWinds Senior Manager, Federal Sales Engineering

Here’s an interesting article by my colleague Brandon Shopp about emerging technology adoption in fed. It’s easy to get caught up with the hype, but our IT Trends survey results seem more grounded.

Exciting new technologies like artificial intelligence, blockchain, and the Internet of Things are dominating news cycles, but are they dominating federal IT environments? Maybe not.

According to the latest SolarWinds® IT Trends Report, emerging technology may be more of a pain than a benefit. Public sector IT managers in North America, the U.K., and Germany said they believe they’re currently ill-equipped to manage AI and blockchain with their current skillsets. Meanwhile, these same managers believe they need more training on the cloud and hybrid IT, established technologies we all seem to take for granted.

What’s going on here?

For many agencies, AI and blockchain are not yet considered essential. Agencies aren’t heavily investing in AI training, and managers don’t have the time or inclination to teach themselves about the tools.

On the other hand, survey respondents said they expected cloud and hybrid IT to be the most important technologies to learn about over the next three to five years. They also noted developing skills to manage hybrid IT environments has been one of their top priorities over the past 12 months. This indicates the importance of the cloud and hybrid IT for their organizations.

Managers want to learn, but it’s hard to do when they’re also trying to migrate legacy applications to the cloud. The migration process takes time and juggling new projects while also trying to “keep the lights on” will always be a challenge.

Still, respondents listed “technology innovation” as their top career development goal over the next three to five years. How can they achieve this goal with so many obstacles seemingly in their way?

Leverage Third-Party Contractors With Specific Expertise

Third-party contractors aren’t just for implementing technology roadmaps; they’re also excellent sources of knowledge. What better way for an agency’s IT team to learn than from a skilled contractor working on-site? A contractor can show the team how it’s done and equip agency staff with the necessary knowledge.

Encourage Participation in User Groups and Online Forums

There are several free government-centric user groups where IT managers can find answers to questions and hone their skills. They’re great resources for problem-solving and learning about new technologies.

There are also online forums and communities professionals can leverage. From technology-specific communities to internal government message boards, there’s a strong argument for interacting with like-minded individuals willing to help each other out.

Attend Trade Shows and Industry Events

Trade shows and industry events can be exceptional resources for learning about what’s next. Everyone from less experienced employees to more seasoned professionals can benefit from sitting in on workshops, listening to presentations, or simply wandering the show floor. Here’s a great one coming up this year… Blockchain Expo North America.

Regardless of how it’s done, agencies and managers must invest in learning about emerging and evolving technologies because AI, blockchain, and the cloud will affect the careers of public sector IT professionals for the next several years.

Find the full article on Government Computer News.

The SolarWinds trademarks, service marks, and logos are the exclusive property of SolarWinds Worldwide, LLC or its affiliates. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

Level 14

Thanks for the article.


Thanks for the article.

Level 12

Excellent advice. If only more employers and decision makers understood that attending trade shows provided value to the company. I've had employers say that if I want to go it's entirely at my expense and I have to use PTO. Great way to encourage continuing education!


Cheers for the information, more reading for me.


I really appreciate the comments on these 2: Encourage Participation in User Groups and Online Forums and Attend Trade Shows and Industry Events

Some of my best ideas have come from these areas. Most companies see those activities as "non-productive" and even perks for their employees. I'm a bit of a creative type and those events actually get me thinking in more creative ways and I come up with my best solutions when involved. Just wish employers understood that better and would see it as investing in their people rather than giving them a "break from work."

Level 12

that's great, we should always be on top of the wave.

Level 13

Thanks for the article