SolarWinds (NYSE:SWI) released the findings of the SolarWinds® IT Trends Report 2019: Skills for Tech Pros of Tomorrow.
This year’s annual report studies the state of skills and career development for technology professionals—meaning anyone who manages on-premises or public/private cloud infrastructures, hybrid IT environments, or SaaS-based applications, as well as managed service/managed security service providers (MSP/MSSP)—revealing they have one foot grounded in today’s hybrid IT realities while also setting their sights on emerging technology.
“Recent history has proven that there is a direct correlation between technology and business performance,” said Joe Kim, executive vice president and global chief technology officer, SolarWinds. “The results of this year’s IT Trends Report highlight that businesses need to focus even more on developing these professionals charged with running and pioneering technologies for the businesses. By removing day-to-day barriers, arming technology pros with the right technology and management tools, and prioritizing skills and career development in the IT budget, tech pros can be better equipped for the future and help with business growth.” 
2019 Key Findings 
The majority of technology professionals are not fully confident they have all the skills needed to manage their environments into the near future, especially when it comes to emerging tech. 
• 75 percent of all tech pros surveyed are not “completely confident” in having all the necessary skills to successfully manage their IT environments over the next three to five years—even though 99 percent of tech pros have worked to develop a skill over the past 12 months.
• As business size increases, so does confidence: half (49 percent) of small business tech pros are somewhat to completely unconfident in their ability to manage environments into the near future with current skill sets, compared to 31 percent of medium-size tech pros and 27 percent of enterprise tech pros who share this sentiment. 
• When it comes to the idea of implementing or managing specific technologies, emerging tech is a pain point. The top three technologies tech pros feel unequipped to manage with their current skill sets are: artificial intelligence (53 percent), quantum computing (43 percent) and machine and/or deep learning (43 percent). 
Tech pros will continue building skills in daily operations with an eye toward areas like data science.  
• In the past 12 months, tech pros have prioritized skills in systems and infrastructure management (47 percent), security management (SIEM, policies, compliance, 41 percent) and hybrid IT deployment/management (41 percent). 
• In the next three to five years, the top two skills tech pros plan to develop skills are hybrid IT deployment monitoring and management (47 percent) and security management (46 percent).
Tech pros say hybrid IT, security, and software-defined everything are the key technologies for career development, which will help achieve higher goals like innovation. 
• Tech pros say the most important technologies for their career development are: cloud and/or hybrid IT (72 percent),  SIEM and/or threat intelligence (54 percent) and software defined networking, security, data center (46 percent). 
• When it comes to career development goals over the next three to five years, tech pros will look to prioritize (by weighted rank): technology innovation (57 percent), IT security protocol and/or processes (44 percent) and strategic planning (31 percent). 
Tech pros have an appetite to prioritize career development on a weekly basis but are hindered by factors like time and cost. 
• Tech pros cite time and availability (48 percent) and cost (29 percent) as the biggest barriers affecting their current ability to participate in IT skills training and career development programs at the frequency they would like. 
• When it comes to their primary sources for training, tech pros turn to: vendor training (20 percent), online communities/forums (18 percent) and industry events (18 percent).
• However, the ideal delivery format for IT skills training according to tech pros is: in-person workshop/user conference (full-day), self-guided online course, and webinars. 
To explore and interact with all of the 2019 findings, please visit the SolarWinds IT Trends Index