Having a career in IT is an ongoing commitment. Technicians, systems administrators and others have to regularly refresh and expand their skill sets since the technologies they work with can change rapidly in only a few years. Consider the example of public cloud computing.
Someone working in IT in 2006 would have almost no experience with what we now routinely refer to as "the cloud." Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and other such services were still in their earliest days. At that time, Microsoft Office was similarly a program that was purchased every couple of years as a license - i.e., you would get Word 2007 to replace Word 2003, and so on - and was years away from becoming the subscription-based Office 365.
This is why training is so important. So let's explore five signs that your IT skills could use an update:
1. Your company is newly committed to data analytics
A survey by Dice.com in early 2016 found that Apache Spark was the fastest growing in-demand IT skill on its site. Spark helps with the processing of large data sets, a task that many organizations now must regularly address. According to Vouchercloud, enough data is created every day to ank">fill 10 million Blu-ray Discs; the vast majority of the world's data has been produced in just the last few years. With that in mind, learning big data skills is more important than ever.
2. Chat has become more central to how your organization works
Chat clients such as Slack, Atlassian HipChat and the recently unveiled Microsoft Teams have become a big part of intraorganizational communications in the last few years. These applications have the appeal of being highly similar to widely used consumer services such as SMS, Apple iMessage and Facebook Messenger. Getting a handle on them is much easier if you are familiar with platforms such as Office 365, which now includes Microsoft Teams as a free extra.
3. Mobile apps are a major priority for your team
Ever since the late 2000s, much of the energy in software development has shifted from desktop apps to mobile ones. This shift makes sense considering that the number of mobile devices in use has skyrocketed this decade, to the point that there are now more mobile internet users than desktop users. Supporting mobile development requires solid infrastructure, which can be supplied from a public cloud such as Azure. Companies with high security and control requirements can also use parts of Azure as a private or hybrid cloud.
"Much of the energy in software development has shifted from desktop to mobile."
4. Your finance department is finally moving on from spreadsheets
Many accountants and finance teams still exclusively use Excel and manual processes to handle their books. There has been a shift, though, toward greater use of enterprise resource planning and customer relationship management software to replace these legacy solutions. Brushing up on skills in Microsoft Dynamics and/or Salesforce is increasingly vital for IT workers so that they can help with the transition to modern financial technologies.
5. You haven't acquired any certifications in a while
IT certifications in technologies such as Azure and Office 365 offer demonstrable proof that you have appropriate experience in high-demand skills. If it has been a while since you refreshed your skills, you can visit a New Horizons Computer Center to complete specific training and prepare yourself for the changing state of IT.