Business ResourcesHow to Stand Out from the IT Crowd by Overcoming the Evolving DevOps Skills Gap

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Nahla Davies

Nahla Davies
writes on September 2, 2020

The standard set of DevOps skills changes year over year.

If you spent all of 2019 and early 2020 looking for employees with particular skills, only to find that you need a new set for your company to survive and thrive during the COVID-19 pandemic, you’re experiencing the DevOps skills gap.

DevOps skills are those in high demand by IT corporations for their new and current employees.

In 2019, IT companies were more likely to focus on DevOps skills like automation processes, cloud analytics, and soft skills. (These are still important to a large extent, particularly for SaaS companies, which typically do not build their own IT infrastructure.)

It’s no secret that 2020 has seen a big shift so far, as companies have started looking for GRC skills: short for governance, risk, and compliance. They’ve also begun seeking employees with more raw knowledge skills.

The “skills gap” is an abstract way to define why some tech companies succeed and others don’t. It’s also a way for future tech employees to assess themselves against their competition – the larger the skill gap, the harder a company or employee will find it to succeed in the competitive IT industry.

Which IT Skills Are Most In-Demand Now?

The coronavirus has significantly impacted just about every industry you can imagine, including the IT industry. Because practically everybody works from home, and in increasingly distributed IT environments, companies are looking for workers who excel at integration and collaboration.

Teams who are new to working remotely are especially in need of more employees who are exceptional at adapting and communicating. But since these skills have risen to the forefront of the industry so rapidly, it’s taking a while for companies’ hiring focus to shift. Hence, a skills gap.

You can close this DevOps skills gap faster than you may think.

Closing the gap simply means training your employees (or yourself) on the skills the industry currently demands.

For instance, if social skills and collaboration have taken a back burner for you in the past, in favor of raw knowledge and cloud analytics skills, take a few classes or seminars to sharpen your abilities as a team player.

Businesses, too, can close the DevOps skills gap by investing in tools that make the learning process quicker.

A great example: using multiple cloud providers for larger companies. Multi-cloud strategies allow different projects to run on different clouds offered by other providers. Storing data online, also known as “in the cloud,” has become the de-facto way to save everything from documents to photos to music in the last couple of years, making the best cloud storage providers affordable not just for businesses, but for individuals as well.

Thus, the example company needs fewer people to be experts with cloud tools, meaning the rest of the employee base can focus on modern or newer skills.

The Benefits of Closing the Skill Gap

Closing the skill gap in either your own resume or in your company provides several benefits, particularly in today’s competitive business environment. All types of businesses should get on board—SaaS, machine learning, B2B—everyone!

Enhance Efficiency

First and foremost, closing the skill gap will increase your business’ (or your) efficiency. Taking 2020 as an example: team coordination and integration are more necessary than ever, since every employee needs to work well with everyone else to get projects done – no one goes it alone in the coronavirus era.

If you can train your employees on collaboration skills and give them the tools they need, you’ll tackle your company’s workload much more rapidly and shoot far past other organizations in terms of productivity and efficiency.

Instill a Culture of Constant Learning

Although it’s tough to train employees at the moment, since there are no in-person seminars or mentorship opportunities, companies still need to keep promoting a culture of learning throughout the coming months and years. Company cultures that emphasize learning often produce agile workforces and more robust employees who tackle challenges with gusto, instead of panic.

Furthermore, it’s important for you and your team to understand that life is about constantly learning. There isn’t an arbitrary point where you suddenly learn all the skills you’ll ever need to succeed. This is even more important for companies where creativity is key, like in digital marketing and UX design.

Keep learning as a cornerstone of your personal journey or your organization’s, and you’ll have an easier time adapting as new DevOps skills become more important and other ones fade away.

Make You or Your Company Stand Out

You or your IT company will be much more noticeable and acquire a reputation for agility and results if you can consistently close the skills gap. Nowhere is this more apparent than with COVID-19.

Already in 2020 many companies have filed for bankruptcy—or closed for good—because they haven’t been able to close the skills gap or adapt to changing market needs.

If you or your employees can learn to become better team players and master integration, you’ll make a name for yourself as an adaptable and worthwhile business partner in the long run, not just for the current skills zeitgeist.

Does Automation Have a Place?

Managers should take one last thing away from this piece, and that’s automation’s role in your company going forward if you want to maximize agility and flexibility.

A good example involves the GDPR and other privacy laws that are impacting the IT industry as a whole. Using tools that can automate certain repetitive processes, particularly those that can automate tasks related to compliance, risk, governance, and even security filters and spam protection, will free up a lot of time for your employees. Then they can focus more on their main responsibilities and learn many of the new skills described above.

Ultimately, because no DevOps skills stay critical forever, automation will be necessary if you want to keep an agile workforce that can meet any challenge and stay resilient through any economic hurdles.

Conclusion

The evolving DevOps skills gap is here to stay. But the industry’s in-demand skills will always change forms, never requiring the same focuses from IT professionals for too long. Thus, learning how to leap over this gap and stay relevant, modern, and agile is crucial for anyone looking to succeed in this environment and stand out from the crowd. Good luck!

Nahla Davies is a software developer and tech writer. Before devoting her work full time to technical writing, she managed—among other intriguing things—to serve as a lead programmer at an Inc. 5,000 experiential branding organization whose clients include Samsung, Time Warner, Netflix, and Sony.

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