Hong Kong tech pros have prioritised hybrid IT deployment monitoring and management, coding and scripting, and systems and infrastructure management skills development in the past 12 months, according to the findings of the SolarWinds IT Trends Report 2019: Skills for Tech Pros of Tomorrow.
When it comes to the next three to five years, they are looking to develop skills in areas like hybrid IT deployment monitoring and management, and data science and analytics, while eyeing career paths such as data science and coding. However, without improvement in time and budget constraints, the majority of tech pros (67 percent) say they will be unable to confidently manage future innovations. This reality ultimately puts businesses at risk of performance and competitive advantage losses, making the prioritisation of skills and career development for tech pros paramount.
“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 prioritising skills and career development in the IT budget, tech pros can be better equipped for the future and help with business growth.”
“The findings are also in line with our view that the most critical problem we need to help tech pros solve today is the reality of the hybrid IT landscape—this applies to all tech pros whether on-premises, managing hybrid infrastructures, SaaS-based, or MSPs,” added Kim. “The way SolarWinds has always addressed and will continue to address these realities is through our deep connection to tech pros across the IT infrastructure. We are committed to understanding the needs of our customers and making their jobs easier as business technology continues to evolve.”
2019 Key Findings
The SolarWinds IT Trends Report 2019: Skills for Tech Pros of Tomorrow explores confidence, current and future skillsets, career development, and barriers to career success to provide a clear understanding of how tech pros and the businesses they serve can improve to better manage future technology realities. Key findings show that:
The majority of technology professionals in Hong Kong 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.
- 67 percent of tech pros surveyed in Hong Kong 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.
- A lack of confidence in skillsets is consistent across business size:
- 38 percent of small business tech pros are somewhat to completely unconfident in their ability to manage environments into the near future with current skillsets, compared to 33 percent of medium-size tech pros and 40 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 (despite how much mind share these buzzworthy technologies get in headlines). The top three technologies tech pros in Hong Kong feel unequipped to manage with their current skillsets are:
- 1. Machine and/or deep learning (56 percent)
- 2. AI (52 percent)
- 3. Blockchain (49 percent)
- According to the Gartner® list of strategic technology trends that have the potential to disrupt and are on the verge of becoming more widely used in the next five years, AI, and blockchain both rank in the top 10.
- There is a great opportunity for tech pros to increase their knowledge of these technologies and to have productive conversations with businesses on the reality of implementation in the near future.
Tech pros in Hong Kong will continue building skills in daily operations with an eye toward areas like data science.
- In the past 12 months, tech pros have prioritised skills in systems and infrastructure management (39 percent), coding and scripting (39 percent), and systems and infrastructure management (37 percent).
- In the next three to five years, the top two skills tech pros plan to develop are hybrid IT deployment monitoring and management (51 percent) and data science and analytics (49 percent).
- This is in line with what tech pros say will be the most important aspect of organisations’ transformation over the next three to five years (by weighted rank): cloud and/or hybrid IT, and big data and analytics.
- It’s also in line with findings from the SolarWinds IT Trends Report 2018: The Intersection of Hype and Performance. Last year, 81 percent of surveyed tech pros worldwide said cloud and hybrid IT are among the top five most important technologies that will drive their organisations’ digital transformation over the next three to five years.
- Tech pros’ instincts are correct when it comes to their top two skillset areas as they are expected to see continued growth, according to Gartner:
- The firm predicts that the Worldwide Public Cloud Services market will grow by 17.33 percent in 2019, going from US $175.8 billion in 2018 to US $206.2 billion this year.
- Security management rounds out the top three skillsets tech pros plan to develop in the next three to five years.
- Gartner research analysts also estimate that global revenue for the information security market will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.8 percent between 2017 and 2022, reaching US $143 billion in constant currency terms.
Tech pros in Hong Kong say cloud and/or hybrid IT, big data analytics, and AI 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 (by weighted rank) aligned with the top three technologies for organisations’ transformation over the next three to five years):
- 1. Cloud and/or hybrid IT (57 percent)
- 2. Big data analytics (63 percent)
- 3. AI (59 percent)
- Numbers four and five on the list are blockchain and machine and/or deep learning, respectively, suggesting that tech pros are thinking about the impact of emerging tech on their careers.
- When it comes to career development goals over the next three to five years, tech pros will look to prioritise (by weighted rank):
- 1. Technology innovation (55 percent)
- 2. Strategic planning (47 percent)
- 3. Management/leadership skills (people management) (41 percent)
- Data analytics and/or data science and interpersonal skills (writing, communications, presenting) round out the top five career development goals for the next three to five years.
Tech pros in Hong Kong have an appetite to prioritise career development on a weekly basis but are hindered by factors like time and cost.
- Nearly seven in 10 tech pros (68 percent) say their day-to-day IT tasks extend into time earmarked for career development, with 13 percent saying this always happens.
- This is alarming, considering tech pros enjoy technology skills training, with 67 percent finding it informative, 20 percent saying it’s engaging and interactive, and 16 percent reporting it’s not long enough.
- Currently, tech pros engage in IT skills training and/or career development programs ranging from a few times a year (22 percent) to weekly (21 percent), annually (14 percent), quarterly (14 percent), and monthly (14 percent); however, if there were no schedule or workload restrictions, most (26 percent) would prefer weekly or monthly training.
- Tech pros cite time and availability (36 percent) and cost (23 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:
- 1. Online communities/forums (31 percent)
- 2. Vendor training (29 percent)
- 3. Industry events/tradeshows (11 percent)
- However, the ideal delivery format for IT skills training according to tech pros is (by weighted rank):
- 1. Self-guided online course
- 2. In-person workshop/user conference (full-day)
- 3. In-person workshop/user conference (half-day)