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SolarWinds Finds 75 Percent of Public Sector Tech Pros in Germany, North America, and the U.K. Need to Develop Skills to Confidently Manage Environments by 2024; 80 Percent Lack Time or Budget to Train

  • SolarWinds IT Trends Report 2019: Skills for Tech Pros of confidence, current and future skillsets, career development, and barriers to career success
  • Tech pros still prioritize hybrid IT and security and look to develop deeper understanding in areas like AI and blockchain.
  • According to more than 80 percent of tech pros, more training, time, and budget is needed to develop skills to manage environments in the next three to five years

AUSTIN, Texas, April 02, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- SolarWinds® (SWI), a leading provider of powerful and affordable IT management software, today released the findings of its IT Trends Report 2019: Skills for Public Sector Tech Pros of Tomorrow: Germany, North America, and the U.K. This year’s annual report studies the state of skills and career development for public sector technology professionals—meaning anyone who manages on-premises or public/private cloud infrastructures, hybrid IT environments, or SaaS-based applications, as well as managed service/managed security service providers (MSP/MSSP)—revealing they have one foot grounded in today’s hybrid IT realities while also setting their sights on emerging technology.

Specifically, public sector tech pros have prioritized systems and infrastructure, network management, and hybrid IT skills development in the past 12 months. When it comes to the next three to five years, they are looking to develop skills in areas like cloud and/or hybrid IT and SIEM and/or threat intelligence, while eyeing career paths such as data science and coding. However, without improvement in time and budget constraints, the majority of tech pros (76 percent) say they will be unable to confidently manage future innovations. This reality ultimately puts government agencies at risk of performance losses, making the prioritization of skills and career development for tech pros paramount.

“Recent history has proven that there is a direct correlation between technology and agency performance,” said Joe Kim, executive vice president and global chief technology officer, SolarWinds. “The results of this year’s IT Trends Report highlight that the public sector needs to focus even more on developing these professionals charged with running and pioneering technologies for their agencies. By removing day-to-day barriers, arming technology pros with the right technology and management tools, and prioritizing skills and career development in the IT budget, public sector tech pros can be better equipped for the future and to help with IT modernization initiatives.”

“The findings are also in line with our view that the most critical problem we need to help tech pros solve today is the reality of the hybrid IT landscape—this applies to all tech pros whether on-premises, managing hybrid infrastructures, SaaS-based, or MSPs,” added Kim. “The way SolarWinds has always addressed and will continue to address these realities is through our deep connection to tech pros across the IT infrastructure. We are committed to understanding the needs of our customers and making their jobs easier as business technology continues to evolve.”

2019 Key Findings

The SolarWinds IT Trends Report 2019: Skills for Public Sector Tech Pros of Tomorrow: Germany, North America, and the U.K. explores confidence, current and future skillsets, career development, and barriers to career success to provide a clear understanding of how tech pros and the agencies they serve can improve to better manage future technology realities. Key findings show that:

The majority of public sector technology professionals are not fully confident they have all the skills needed to manage their environments into the near future, especially when it comes to emerging tech.

  • 75 percent of all public sector tech pros surveyed are not “completely confident” in having all the necessary skills to successfully manage their IT environments over the next three to five years—even though 99 percent of tech pros have worked to develop a skill over the past 12 months.
    • Over the past 12 months, over half of tech pros surveyed have worked to develop their systems and infrastructure management skills in order to better manage their day-to-day IT environment and its needed disciplines (IT Ops, DevOps, SecOps, and/or outsourced services (MSP/MSSPs)), followed by network management skills, hybrid IT (mix of cloud and on-premises) deployment, monitoring and management skills and security management skills (such as SIEM, policies, compliance) (43 percent, 42 percent, and 41 percent, respectively).
  • When it comes to the idea of implementing or managing specific technologies, emerging tech is a pain point (despite how much mind share these buzzworthy technologies get in headlines). The top three technologies public sector tech pros feel unequipped to manage with their current skillsets are:
    • 1. Artificial intelligence (53 percent)
    • 2. Blockchain (52 percent)
    • 3. Quantum computing (49 percent)
    • A larger percentage of tech pros in Germany feel unequipped for quantum computing compared to their counterparts in North America and the United Kingdom.
    • There is a great opportunity for public sector tech pros to increase their knowledge of these technologies and to have productive conversations with agencies on the reality of implementation in the near future.

Tech pros will continue building skills in daily operations with an eye toward areas like data science. 

  • In the past 12 months, public sector tech pros have prioritized skills in systems and infrastructure management (53 percent), network management (43 percent), and hybrid IT deployment/management (42 percent).
  • In the next three to five years, the top two skills public sector tech pros plan to develop are security management (52 percent) and hybrid IT deployment monitoring and management (48 percent).
    • This is similar but flipped in order of importance from what public sector tech pros say will be most important to their agency’s transformation over the next three to five years (by weighted rank): cloud and/or hybrid IT (85 percent), and SIEM and/or threat intelligence (63 percent).
  • Security management, hybrid IT deployment/monitoring/management, and systems and infrastructure management round out the top three skillsets tech pros plan to develop in the next three to five years.

Public sector tech pros say hybrid IT, security, and software-defined everything are the key technologies for career development, which will help achieve higher goals like innovation.

  • Tech pros say the most important technologies for their career development are (by weighted rank) aligned with the top three technologies for public sector organizations’ transformation over the next three to five years):
    • 1. Cloud and/or hybrid IT (73 percent)
    • 2. SIEM and/or threat intelligence (60 percent)
    • 3. Software-defined networking, security, data center (47 percent)
    • Numbers four and five on the list are automation and/or orchestration and big data analytics, respectively, suggesting that tech pros are thinking about the impact of emerging tech on their careers.
  • When it comes to career development goals over the next three to five years, public sector tech pros will look to prioritize (by weighted rank):
    • 1. Technology innovation (61 percent)
    • 2. IT security protocol and/or processes (44 percent)
    • 3. Strategic planning (43 percent)
    • Management/leadership skills (people management) and project management round out the top five career development goals for the next three to five years.

Public sector tech pros have an appetite to prioritize career development on a weekly basis but are hindered by factors like time and cost.

  • 80 percent of all public sector tech pros say their day-to-day IT tasks extend into time earmarked for career development, with 27 percent saying this always happens.
  • This is alarming, considering tech pros enjoy technology skills training, with 51 percent finding it informative, 38 percent saying it’s engaging and interactive, and 23 percent reporting it’s not long enough.
    • By country, a larger percentage of public sector tech pros from North America and the United Kingdom indicate that their IT management tasks “always” extend into the time earmarked for career development when compared with tech pros from Germany.
  • Currently, public sector tech pros engage in IT skills training and/or career development programs ranging from a few times a year (29 percent) to monthly (22 percent) and weekly (11 percent); however, if there were no schedule or workload restrictions, over one-third (37 percent) would prefer weekly training.
  • Tech pros cite time and availability (44 percent) and cost (32 percent) as the biggest barriers affecting their current ability to participate in IT skills training and career development programs at the frequency they would like.
  • When it comes to their primary sources for training, tech pros turn to:
    • 1. Vendor training (24 percent)
    • 2. Online communities/forums (18 percent)
    • 3. Industry events (17 percent)
      • By country, German and North American tech pros turn to vendor training sessions and online communities/forums above all other sources, while United Kingdom tech pros opt for industry events/trade shows and vendor training sessions.
  • However, the ideal delivery format for IT skills training according to tech pros is (by weighted rank):
    • 1. In-person workshop/user conference (full-day)
    • 2. Self-guided online course
    • 3. Webinar

To explore and interact with all of the 2019 findings, please visit the SolarWinds IT Trends Index, a dynamic web experience that presents the study’s findings by region and additional insights into the data, as well as charts, graphs, and socially shareable elements.

The findings of this year’s Federal/Public sector roll up of Germany, North America, and United Kingdom report are based on a survey fielded in December 2018, which yielded responses from 208 technology practitioners, managers, and directors from public-sector organizations in Germany, North America, and United Kingdom. All regions studied in 2019, as reported on the SolarWinds IT Trends Index, were Australia, Germany, Hong Kong, North America, Singapore, and the United Kingdom, with 966 respondents across all geographies combined.

Additional Resources

Past SolarWinds IT Trends Reports

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About SolarWinds
SolarWinds (SWI) is a leading provider of powerful and affordable IT infrastructure management software. Our products give organizations worldwide, regardless of type, size or IT infrastructure complexity, the power to monitor and manage the performance of their IT environments, whether on-premises, in the cloud, or in hybrid models. We continuously engage with all types of technology professionals—IT operations professionals, DevOps professionals, and managed service providers (MSPs)—to understand the challenges they face maintaining high-performing and highly available IT infrastructures. The insights we gain from engaging with them, in places like our THWACK online community, allow us to build products that solve well-understood IT management challenges in ways that technology professionals want them solved. This focus on the user and commitment to excellence in end-to-end hybrid IT performance management has established SolarWinds as a worldwide leader in network management software and MSP solutions. Learn more today at www.solarwinds.com.

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