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Level 14

What Australia’s techies see as key to networking heaven…

Aussies can be an argumentative bunch, but on a good day their IT pro’s agree on a few issues – like what can make evolving networks easier to handle.

They reckon IT graduates need more generalist skill sets and practical experience to cope with accelerating network complexity.  And they caution that this may well create a potential skills gap in the future.

We know this because 118 Aussie-based IT professionals replied to a SolarWinds survey in May. We wanted to understand more about the driving forces behind growing network complexity and to find out what skills the techies need to develop in order to stay competitive.

The IT Pros Survey showed:

  • Only 11 per cent agreed their higher education prepared them sufficiently for their current IT role (OK they don’t agree on everything…)
  • More than one-third (36 per cent) agreed that understanding broader business objectives and priorities is the single most important skillset they need to tackle network complexity.
  • More than two-thirds reckoned that companies need to invest in staff training to prepare them for tackling these issues.

SolarWinds’ sleuthing suggests that increasingly, IT pro’s are going beyond the server room to drive results across their organisations. Many expect to suffer a skills gap unless they receive sufficient training.

Our VP and Market Leader, Sanjay Castelino’s take on all this is: “With IT skills continuing to dominate Australia’s business and technology conversations, we need to recognise that simply boosting graduate numbers or outsourcing technical roles won’t solve the fundamental challenges faced by our industries.

He adds: “Technology leaders and educators need to take a more practical, long-term approach to training and learning if they want to prepare their people for the intricacy and interconnectedness of tomorrow’s IT ecosystem.”

But back to the techies (as the Aussies call them)… When asked how they would acquire the skills needed to combat network complexity, they responded as follows:

  • Almost 60 per cent said they would do additional training, while 45 per cent would prefer to focus on increasing their experience organically or “on the job”.
  • Under 7 per cent said they would return to university to seek another degree. 
  • Only one in two thought their higher education had prepared them enough for their current IT role.

Sanjay’s take on this:  “The IT and higher education sectors need to work together more, to provide the right balance of theoretical and practical knowledge to effectively manage and capitalise on fast-paced technological change.

“It’s impossible to accurately predict what factors will most contribute to network complexity in the future, but a combination of basic skills and ongoing education will put the next generation of IT talent in good stead to handle any challenge.”

In fact, a quarter of the Aussie pro’s considered that skills in cloud and software-as-a-service are the most important for handling network complexity in five years’ time. 

More than 21 per cent identified they key as an understanding of their business. Major IT trends like BYOD and compute virtualisation were called out as prime causes of growing network complexity.

Last words from Sanjay:  “To cope with network complexity’s inevitable upsurgence, businesses and educators need to invest in generalist IT skill sets which can adapt to any new trend or challenge.  Only by fostering these multi-purpose skills, and supplementing them with ongoing training and modular, adaptable tools to match, can Australian businesses position themselves for success in an ever more complex IT world.”

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