How to avoid becoming obsolete due to digital disruption and changing IT roles

By Fronde

The evolution of the technology driving digital disruption has the potential to make many IT professionals obsolete if they fail to keep up with emerging trends, and the skills needed to manage them, according to cloud solutions and IT services company Fronde. 

“People who work in the IT industry should take time out to validate their anticipated career path,” said Fronde chief technology officer (CTO) James Valentine. “The types of skills in demand today are different compared with those needed just three years ago, and the pace of change is unlikely to slow down.” 

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Many of these rapid industry changes can be attributed to the increased uptake of technology such as mobility, cloud, analytics, social media, and Internet of Things (IoT), which can often provide organisations with a stronger value propositions to offer customers. Existing business models may no longer be relevant and boards are looking to avoid long-term strategies that will lock them into a certain technology footprint. 

As a result, many businesses are looking to fill new digital roles with significantly different skill-sets and work patterns than those in traditional roles. Positions such as project managers, business analysts, systems administrators, and architects were plentiful not long ago. Today, recruitment agencies are looking for ‘agile coaches’, cloud integration specialists, DevOps experts, and automation specialists. 

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“Companies are looking to accelerate their time to market, so they are running leaner, more nimble organisations,” said Valentine. “This means middle management roles are disappearing in favour of self-organising teams with flatter structures. 

“The need to defend existing and attack new markets has seen an increase in demand for research and development skills, while core business processes are being automated. IT teams are under enormous pressure to allocate resources to innovation, rather than business-as-usual. 

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“IT professionals must review and update their skills. Current systems administrators should embrace DevOps, for example, and start learning scripting and development skills. Project managers need to become proficient in agile software development. Technical staff need to obtain cloud integration certification, automation skills, and DevOps practices. 

“Regardless of their current roles, IT specialists should assess the currency of their skills and develop a plan to upskill in relevant areas, or risk becoming obsolete.” 

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