How Learning Leaders Can Bridge the Tech Skills Gap

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How Learning Leaders Can Bridge the Tech Skills Gap

The rise of e-commerce, the impact of social media, and the increasingly prominent role technology plays in business functions like marketing, finance, HR and learning have companies in every industry claiming they’re tech companies. The demand for tech savvy talent is correspondingly high. It’s also difficult to find.

According to the 2017 Global Information Security Workforce Study, some 1.8 million IT jobs could be open by 2022. That’s a 20 percent bump from the same study data two years earlier. Low supply and high demand have created a significant challenge for learning and development leaders. In the absence of market ready talent, they must help to prepare existing technical talent to fill the roles needed to meet marketplace and consumer needs. It’s a tough challenge, but not an un-surmountable one if they’re willing to collaborate.

Meet Workforce Demands with Training

Developing in house training isn’t always a viable option, as many of the most in demand tech skills focus on emerging technologies. Because this tech is so new, most organizations don’t have the expertise they need in house. Even if there are tech greats on staff, they may not be great teachers or facilitators. Thus, they can’t effectively share what they know.

The next best option to an in-house training solution is an external one. By collaborating with the right technical training vendor, organizations can efficiently upskill their workforce, and be confident they’re dialed into a strong source for the latest technical skill as well as the most effective learning delivery.

However, organizations with a robust learning function aren’t always willing to look externally for training support. Because they have resources and experts in learning design and delivery, it’s only natural to try to create their own technical curriculum. That way they can avoid potential issues around a lack of customization or metrics, but this can be a mistake. Expertise counts – and not just learning expertise.

Upskilling and Collaboration, One Hand Washes the Other

Technology advances so rapidly, most companies find it difficult to pivot and adapt their training curriculum and learning delivery methods fast enough to accommodate industry changes. If they collaborate with the right training partner, however, they can not only avoid delivering dated technical training, they can establish the exact metrics by which to gauge training success. In this way, they can ensure business impact.

But that means finding just the right training partner. The word partner is key. The ideal technical training partner will not only have expertise in technical subject matter, they’ll have skilled facilitators and trainers as well. For example, DevelopIntelligence recruits the top working practitioners in the industry to teach its classes.

These experts in their respective technologies – big data, AI, machine learning, and a mélange of the most in demand programming languages – bring training delivery skill and real world expertise into the learning environment. The learning environment is classroom-based and lab intensive. Learners don’t sit and absorb theory, they enjoy continuous, in-depth practical application exercises alongside their peers.

Filling the Skills Gap

Data around the exact nature of the technical skills gap can be conflicting. Some reports say the gap is sizeable, others say the real problem is not that technical professionals lack skills, they just aren’t building the right ones, specifically the skills their employers need. Either way you look at it, the skills gap is real, and the training industry is prepared to help fill it.

According to a recent data analysis from job posting site Indeed, the tech skill training industry has expanded, and there is a greater emphasis on speed. This is in response to the pace of technology change and marketplace demands, and the fact that more specialized, in demand technical roles are still tough to fill with conventional recruiting methods. “In particular, tech struggles to find software engineers and architects, system engineers, data engineers, specialized developers, and data scientists,” the study read.

The longer the demand for technical talent continues to outpace supply, the more U.S. companies will struggle to keep pace not only with their international counterparts, but with their customers and with their industries demands. By upskilling the current technical workforce, companies can not only prepare their businesses to thrive in a challenging marketplace, they can promote talent retention and engagement, and remove the angst, expense and missed opportunities that come with always being in hiring mode – and still failing to bring in the right talent.

Conclusion

No matter what industry an organization falls into, technology is an undeniably important facet of modern business. To effectively address the technical skills gap, training is a logical and winning strategy. However, it’s not always easy to identify the right technical training partner.

Technical training providers must be willing collaborate closely with organizations to customize offerings and ensure that training curriculums address current and projected technical needs. It’s critical that training be intimately aligned to the business. Without that connection, the potential for poor outcomes increases, and that defeats the purpose of partnering with skilled, well-positioned technical training providers.

There’s no benefit in being plugged into the latest technology and having the classroom skills to share that knowledge with learners if training is happening in a vacuum. A close partnership will ensure that an organization’s technical talent get the training they need to advance business concerns today and prepare for innovation tomorrow.