The only constant in life is change, and perhaps nowhere is that more true than in the technology arena. This makes professional development important not only for IT newbies, but also for IT veterans, according to the 2015 IT Skills & Salary Report.
Think back five years ago. What devices were you supporting? What operating system predominated at your company? How closely did IT work with the business side of the house? What were your security concerns? The kinds of things you were dealing with then are very likely different than the things you are dealing with now. That’s progress, and that’s a good thing, but it can be difficult for IT pros to keep up and stay current. Keep up they must, however, if they want to be able to effectively support their organizations’ strategic use of technology.
To keep up, many IT pros pursue training opportunities, ranging from books and DVDs to formal classroom or online training. Indeed, 77 percent of those who took part in the 2015 IT Skills and Salary Report (excluding decision makers) , took part in some form of professional development in the last 12 months.
The 2015 IT Skills and Salary Survey was conducted online from Sept. 15 to Oct. 24, 2014. More than half a million survey invitations were sent to recipients from the databases of Global Knowledge, Windows IT Pro, and partner companies and organizations. More than 16,300 responses worldwide were returned, with 68 percent coming from the United States and Canada. This year’s survey is the eighth annual for Global Knowledge and the third in partnership with Windows IT Pro. (To download the full report, click here.)
IT pros’ top five perceived benefits of professional development were:
- Stay up to date with technological changes
- Develop skills that will be useful for future positions
- Gain insight to be more effective in current role
- Gain from the knowledge of others
- Develop a sense of personal accomplishment
The study also found that tenure plays a key role in determining which benefits are perceived as more or less important. IT pros at the beginning of their careers see professional development as essential to their growth and future success. Perhaps feeling that they've "been there, done that," respondents with more years under their belts were less likely to regard professional development as critical to advancing career objectives.
Tenure also played a role in the types of training respondents were focusing on. For example, 73% of those with 0-5 years tenure named "IT training" as an area of focus. That percentage declined as the number of years of tenure increased. However, it's interesting that more than half of respondents with 21 years or more of tenure named IT training as a key area of focus. That speaks to the pace and amount of change in the technology arena--just when you think you know it all, along comes [insert emerging new technology here].
What role does professional development play in your career? How has it helped you to date? Does your company provide professional development opportunities? Please let us know in the comments section below.