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Keeping your Technology skills up to date

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Working in such a fast changing industry, how does a Technology Professional keep their skills up-to-date?

This is a real challenge and one that every Technology Professional has to face, whether it’s to maintain your current position or for career progression.  As one of the fastest evolving industries in the world, Technology is a great place for new opportunities and career development.

According to one leading research organisation, there are now as many as 1.7 million IT related Professionals across Australia with the majority, circa 24%, living in Sydney and 21% based in Melbourne. With 67% of these identified as male, 52% have a high disposable income and 21% earning over $100K per year.  These are pretty impressive statistics which confirms that it is a massive local industry and one that is well paid, particularly buoyant, fast expanding and with a great outlook.  After all, which business these days is not impacted by Technology, particularly the digital revolution which is sweeping through Commerce, Government, Health and Education. Digital technologies such as Mobile, Social, Big Data and Cloud are all growing rapidly and disrupting businesses everywhere by revolutionizing the role Technology plays in our everyday lives.

Technology is also the key to future economic productivity, an essential ingredient in maintaining Australia and New Zealand’s prosperity, and is reliant on having an adequate workforce equipped with the necessary ICT skills.

So there’s the challenge, lots of needs and lots of opportunity, providing you have the right skills.

How do I keep my skills current?

Keeping your skills up-to-date is a vital requirement in many different industries, and some methods are more appropriate than others depending upon your speciality.

It will come as no surprise that online learning is the most commonly used method by Technology Professionals who are often familiar with researching a topic online. This form of study can include participation in web seminars, studying online tutorials or courses, and reading white papers.  By necessity, this requires a high level of self-motivation and discipline to focus and maintain momentum. 

Attending traditional learning courses to refresh or upgrade skills at Colleges or through private learning providers are also still widely used, but can be expensive when undertaken during normal business hours, and where employer sponsorship is greatly beneficial to pay or help subsidise the costs involved.

Are there particular skills you should focus on?

Within Technology there is a huge choice of disciplines and areas to specialise in, which can make your up-skilling choice a difficult one.  Moving with the times is important to ensure relevance, so researching into emerging skills that will be in high demand in the future is a very good place to start. This would include areas such as Virtualisation or Cloud, Security, Automation, Robotics and Blockchain Technology. 

In 2015, Cloud and Distributed Computing Skills took top spot on the LinkedIn worldwide hottest skills in demand list. However, in Australia it was “statistical analysis and data mining” in first place. Australia was also actively hiring large numbers of experts in data storage, retrieval and analysis. So evidently there are local nuances to consider.

Notwithstanding, skills that are most often developed include the services and products of the large global software providers such as Microsoft, SAP and Oracle, often resulting in a positive impact on salary and position.

Being proactive in refreshing your skills or learning a new discipline in this constantly evolving industry can offer many benefits, including assistance with your career progression and development. A specialist recruiter such as Finite, will help you match your existing skills with a vacancy, and can advise on salaries, rates and market demand for specific skills and experience across ANZ. 

Please contact your Finite Consultant for further information.

6 April 16

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