The most recent job numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics tell the story of a growing economy. The unemployment rate remains below four percent for the first time since the 1960s.
And opportunities await for networking and IT professionals. For example, these opportunities can position professionals to lead digital transformation projects, to automate enterprise networks, and so much more. That’s why the sky’s the limit for those trained and certified in the latest technology.
In the search for what is driving network transformation IoT is the first place to look. The number of connected devices and things is growing at a rapid rate. Analyst firm Gartner said there were more than 8.4 billion things (mainly devices and applications) connected to the internet as of last year. And there’s much more to come on that front.
It’s becoming impossible to configure devices manually due to the rapid proliferation of connected endpoints. So, organizations need to start using automation.
Applications and devices need to be managed and kept secure once they are live. Current network strategies make that impossible. Thus, Networks are evolving to become more automated, intelligent, and programmable.
It’s essential that businesses consider strategy and process before they build new networks. This includes mapping out business goals and deciding what data, people, devices, and applications are needed to achieve them. It also involves bringing together the partners, teams, and technologies to make that happen. It requires new skillsets because setting policy and programming in advanced, automated networks is a complex undertaking.
The Skills Companies Need Now
Responsiveness, security, and reliability are the new hallmarks of networking. Automation, analytics, IoT, policy-based network management, programmability, and virtualization are enabling these changes. The technologies, and the ways they’re being applied, are new. So, IT and networking professionals need new skills to make them work for businesses.
In order to appeal to hiring managers, boost their careers, and bring greater value to employers there are fundamental skills that IT and networking professionals need. At a very fundamental level, it’s critical that IT experts know the basics of LAN and WAN switching and routing. These skills will help network engineers configure, verify, troubleshoot, and secure today’s networks.
In addition, the evolution of the network creates a growing need for IT professionals who can implement and manage software-centric networks. This involves using APIs, controllers, policies, and virtualization. These technologies and tools allow for greater automation, network intelligence, and agility.
Businesses are able to handle the growing number of applications and endpoints with the help of automation and virtualization. Simplified network control through abstraction helps them cope with the complexity of containers, microservices, and virtual machines (VMs). Advanced analytics assist them with the new dynamics of applications in the network and help to predict problems due to congestion, failures, and security breaches.
Advanced networking is just one arena of need. Professionals with skills related to cloud, cybersecurity, and application/network performance are also in high demand. Know-how in these areas keeps businesses and their customers safe. And it ensures that applications and services provide the value organizations and end users expect and require.
Another invaluable skill set lies with those who lead digital transformation projects – and keep them on schedule and within budget. That’s why skills in business intelligence, business architecture, machine learning, and digital transformation are important.
In the Worldwide IT Employment Model Future of IT Survey, IDC noted that the most in-demand IT roles involve:
- Software and application development,
- IT infrastructure,
- Data management and analytics,
- And digital transformation.
In order to accelerate the potential of the network, organizations must have team members with these fundamental and advanced skills. And as the network continues to change, it’s essential that learning is treated as a continuous journey.
Businesses and job roles will keep changing as the network continues to evolve and change. That’s why it’s essential that IT professionals continue to adapt and learn. By getting trained and certified in the latest IT technologies, individuals can build the skills that they need to stay ahead. And by educating employees, businesses can be prepared for change, too.
While it’s not possible to know with absolute certainty what’s ahead, change is inevitable. As the world and technologies continue to evolve, ongoing education is critical. Professionals must level-up their skills to remain competitive and offer value to employers, and employers must find ways to verify that prospective and ensure that current employees have the knowledge and skills necessary to meet business goals.