There’s a lot of talk about what the IT worker of the future might look like, following on from Deloitte’s release of a report into what’s being called a ‘new breed’. We thought it’d be interesting to take a look at what huge blue chip organisations like Deloitte are predicting, examining the skills the IT worker of the future might need.
Welcome to the IT worker of the future
First, here’s what the Deloitte site says when precising the report.
“The IT worker can be the bedrock of an organization’s ability to compete in this era of exponential technologies. But beyond rhetorical remarks about talent scarcity, few organizations are investing in attracting, retaining, and developing their organizational capabilities. And while companies will secure commoditized skills through the most efficient means, innovation and growth will depend on workers with the skills and the vision needed to reimagine the art of the possible within the bounds of existing constraints such as the realities of existing systems and data and a limited understanding of emerging, cross-discipline technologies. While future technologies may not exist today, the need is clear, the potential is immense, and the time is now to start retooling your IT talent to be the IT workers of the future.”
Now we don’t know about you, but to us this smacks of corporate speak at its worst. We read it through and it doesn’t actually mean much at all. It’s another of those ’empty calorie’ messages big businesses are so fond of. So what does it actually mean? It’s time for some judicious de-coding.
Why do we need a new kind of technical expertise?
* There’s a shortage of technical talent… and it’s a big concern
* Some businesses already have serious skills gaps on several fronts
* Old school talent is retiring and there isn’t a fresh wave available to take their place
* It’s likely that businesses will have to cultivate a new type of IT worker with habits, incentives and skills very different from today’s
What does it actually mean in practical terms?
This could mean several things. If a business needs people with organisation-specific IT skills, they’ll have to train them specially.
In the early days of computers and the internet, it was possible to have just one IT person who could tackle all the IT matters for a business, end to end. It’ll be very difficult indeed in future for one IT bod to have all the skills needed to cover everything that needs doing: from SEO to website development, data storage, security and analysis to processes and procedures, infrastructure, customer-led and business-led marketing systems and so on.
In fact it’s already nigh-on impossible for one person to cover every IT-focused task and discipline.
Forbes 7 principles of the new employee
The Forbes website delivers some practical insight. In their opinion the employee of the future, IT or otherwise, might look something like this, someone who:
- Has a flexible working environment
- Can customise their own work
- Shares information
- Uses uses new ways to communicate and collaborate
- Can become a leader
- Shifts from knowledge worker to learning worker
- Learns and teaches at will
The two seem to dovetail pretty well, with Forbes’ chosen characteristics looking likely to fulfil Deliotte’s brief. Whether or not it can be brought to reality is a different matter.
The internet is constantly changing, as is the tech we access it with. And the web doesn’t operate in a vacuum – it hooks into a plethora of supporting technologies and systems, from databases to company admin and customer contact systems.
We think the IT worker of the future will have to either be a jack of all trades, and do it to a quite spectacular level, or become a niche specialist, even a specialist in a specific business’s systems. What about you?