Constant Upskilling and Role Convergence the Future for IT Professionals

Constant Upskilling and Role Convergence the Future for IT Professionals

September 14, 2020

SolarWinds announces its latest findings from its IT Pro Day 2020 survey ‘You Were Built for This’ ahead of IT Professionals Day on September 15th.

This year’s findings claims nearly two-thirds (64%) of surveyed IT pros were instilled with a new sense of confidence, despite contending with challenges such as reduced budgets, greater decision-making responsibilities, and longer hours caused by their organizations’ response to the pandemic. Likewise, just under half (46%) feel empowered to bring more ideas to the table while 58% say they now feel more prepared to succeed in similar unexpected situations.

According to SolarWinds CIO Rani Johnson, the success of organizations during this unique time is due in large part to IT pros’ preparedness and inherent ability to adapt and manage through substantial change

“2020—and the unexpected COVID-19 pandemic—is proof positive IT professionals are built for moments like these. What’s particularly encouraging is IT pros’ perception and expectation IT will be included in more business-level decision-making moving forward. The dedication of IT pros around the world to ensuring business resiliency and continuity over the past several months serves to elevate and empower the IT community to work alongside business leaders to meet bigger organizational goals,” says Johnson.

According to Johnson, this newfound self-confidence, combined with IT professionals achievements during this time, will completely transform how IT is viewed by the business in the future. The survey indicates IT may earn a more prominent voice in the C-suite, as 40% of surveyed IT pros say they believe they will be involved in more business-level meetings.

Likewise, IT’s role will be up-leveled due to the vast upskilling more than a quarter (26%) of IT professionals underwent during this experience. With 31% admitting there’s a need to rethink internal processes to better accommodate the rapid change of pace required post-COVID, Johnson says it’s highly likely a focus on IT pros’ upskilling will continue into the future.

“As always, with new responsibilities comes the need for new skills. While almost half of survey respondents felt they received the training required to adapt to changing IT requirements, nearly one-third experienced the opposite, and are at risk of being left behind as IT teams continue to grapple with how best to support the new normal. We understand that for IT pros to reach their potential requires sufficient tools, resources, training, and budget. We hope this new normal, one that sees IT departments align more closely with the C-suite, will bring with it even more support for IT pros—and make their jobs easier as they continue on their journey to supporting business continuity,” says Johnson.

Key Takeaways

Respondents claim they’ve gained an increased sense of confidence in their expanded roles, responsibilities, and ability to adapt to unexpected change in the future, despite contending with more challenging working conditions over the course of the pandemic.

Respondents say they work longer hours due to stretched teams (29%), more responsibility (28%) and decision-making requirements (28%), and a general increase in job-related stress (22%) were the leading ways in which day-to-day roles evolved in response to the impact of COVID-19.

Almost two-thirds (64%) agreed this experience—including changes to their day-to-day tasks—has given them a new sense of confidence in managing unprecedented change.

46% say the work they accomplished has empowered them to bring new ideas to the table.

58% say they now feel more prepared to succeed in any similar unprecedented situations in the future, while another 29% report feeling prepared to manage change but require additional resources, training, and support.

40% of respondents say they believe IT will be included in more business-level meetings and decision-making moving forward.

Over a quarter (26%) says it was necessary to learn new skills to support their organizations’ transitions to a remote workforce.

The top skills IT pros reported as the most important for development: Systems management (55%), Network management (50%), Security policy and compliance (43%) and Hybrid IT monitoring/management tools and metrics (28%).

47% say they received the training they needed to learn these new skills; however, a quarter (25%) are still waiting for those training resources to be made available.

The breadth of skills respondents needed during this time indicates silos may be disappearing, as roles start to converge.

Over two-thirds of respondents (71%) felt supporting a remote workforce struck a balance in which certain aspects of day-to-day management were better, while others were more challenging.

31% agree there’s a need to rethink internal processes to better accommodate the more rapid pace of change required post-COVID.

While 18% of respondents reported their toolsets and technologies fell short in addressing the unique challenges of remote workforces, nearly one-third (28%) of respondents flagged a need to consolidate existing solution suites (and their vendors) to simplify management, maintenance, and cost of upkeep.

Although the majority of IT organizations successfully managed the transition to remote work and played a critical role in ensuring business continuity, respondents expect several trends to shape the future of their respective IT organizations:

  • Greater cross-team collaboration (53%)
  • More responsibility (46%)
  • IT inclusion in more business-level meetings and decision-making (41%)
  • Tighter budgets (even post-economic recovery) (26%); and
  • More opportunity to upskill/attend trainings (25%)

(Ed. SolarWinds claims the findings are based on a survey fielded in July 2020, yielding responses from 122 IT practitioners, managers, and directors from public- and private-sector small, mid-size, and enterprise companies who participate in the SolarWinds THWACK user community. For more information on IT Professionals Day, click here. Featured image provided courtesy of Photographer Andrea Piacquadio,


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