What the AI Adoption Surge Means for IT Skill Development

The latest IBM Global AI Adoption Index suggests that acquiring AI-related skills will make IT pros more marketable.

ITPro Today Staff

January 10, 2024

3 Min Read
hand turning a skill knob to the maximum position

As AI becomes increasingly vital in business operations, IT professionals should focus on developing the necessary skills to tackle the demands and challenges.  

The recently released “IBM Global AI Adoption Index 2023” sheds light on the significant traction AI technologies have gained in the corporate world. The research, which polled more than 8,500 IT professionals globally, found that 44% of large organizations currently use AI in their operations and a further 40% are exploring AI adoption.

The research also revealed that 59% of enterprises that already use AI have plans to ramp up their investments, suggesting a growing commitment to and confidence in the technology.

For IT professionals, this translates into a rising demand for skills and expertise in areas such as machine learning, natural language processing, data science, and AI strategy. According to the IBM report, one-third of respondents (33%) identified a shortage of AI proficiency as a top barrier to broader adoption, signaling an opportunity for those who acquire and improve their capabilities in developing, implementing, and maintaining AI tools. Additionally, new AI-related roles, such as AI project managers, have begun to emerge, reflecting organizations’ efforts to maximize the business value of their AI investments.

Related:Why You Shouldn't Specialize in AI/ML Development

The increasing prevalence of AI technologies also brings potential interoperability challenges, particularly in the integration of AI with existing systems and workflows. In anticipation of this, some IT pros may want to prepare for opportunities to bridge the gap between AI technologies and their organization’s existing IT infrastructure.

Based on IBM’s findings, IT professionals may also benefit from shoring up their expertise in these specific areas:

  • IT security: With the integration of AI models and systems, expertise in risk management and security are important for managing vulnerabilities.

  • Responsible AI: AI inherently comes with questions about ethical use, data privacy, and governance frameworks, all of which IT pros can help address. In terms of generative AI adoption, IT pros at organizations that haven’t yet implemented or explored AI cited concerns about data privacy (57%) and trust and transparency (43%) as top inhibitors, IBM said.

  • AI infrastructure management: Organizations will need to ensure they have the right infrastructure in place to support their AI systems.

  • AI training: IBM found that 39% of organizations are investing in reskilling and workforce development around AI. This suggests a need for IT pros skilled in designing and delivering AI training programs and platforms.

  • Industry-specific specialization: Domain expertise in industries like healthcare or financial services is valuable for customizing AI technologies to meet vertical-specific requirements. About half of IT professionals in the financial services industry reported that their companies are using AI, with 37% in telecommunications also deploying AI, IBM said.

  • Cost reduction and process automation: The top drivers for AI adoption include cost reduction and process automation, cited by 42% of respondents. As such, IT pros should consider acquiring skills in process and workflow automation and conducting cost-benefit analyses for AI implementations.

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