The New IT Driven by Multifaceted Skill Sets

IT has evolved from a support function to a strategic business cornerstone, requiring a mix of deep technical skills and broad soft skills to drive success.

James Stanger, Chief Technology Evangelist, CompTia

May 28, 2024

2 Min Read
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Brain light via Alamy Stock

Information technology has moved far beyond its traditional role as a behind-the-scenes support function to an elevated status as a strategic business imperative, the very sinew and muscle that propels businesses forward.  

This IT transformation is also reshaping the skill sets technology professionals need to navigate the digital age. The landscape of “New IT” requires a confluence of skills, both technical and durable, and a commitment to continuous learning and adaptation. The evolution of IT challenges us to rethink traditional paradigms, embrace innovative technologies, and cultivate a culture of innovation and resilience.  

Technical proficiency is still essential, but technical chops alone are not enough to create the total package that will define the success of IT professionals and, by extension, the businesses they support.  

There is an old concept that’s gaining newfound popularity: “T-shaped skills,” which is a visualization of the combination of depth and breadth of skills that can lead to success in the workplace.  

In this visualization, the vertical bar of the “T” represents the in-depth knowledge of the specialized field, such as artificial intelligence, cloud computing, cybersecurity, technical support, data analytics or other tech disciplines. The horizontal bar of the “T” represents capabilities in a broad range of related skills, such as critical thinking, problem-solving, effective communication, collaboration and similar durable skills.  

Related:Why CIOs Are Under Pressure to Innovate

An employee with T-shaped skills is particularly valuable today when flexibility is so prized. They can draw on their technical knowledge and apply it to areas of expertise and business segments other than their own. This powerful combination can help to future-proof an organization and boost its competitiveness. 

Developing T-shaped employees arguably requires more professional development and continuing education than more traditional skills models do. The good news is more companies are refocusing their training programs to ensure they provide relevant and personalized opportunities that recognize individual achievement and skills acquisition, rather than pursuing a top-down model of training that promotes the organization’s needs.  

This “mix and match” approach to education and training also includes an expansion of self-service formats, such as podcasts, webcasts, video conferences, and e-learning modules. This gives employees more freedom to personalize their learning paths and develop new skills. 

Related:How Today’s CIOs Drive Value

The “New IT” heralds a new era of opportunities and challenges. It underscores the need for a forward-thinking, agile workforce capable of leveraging emerging technologies to drive business success. The cultivation of these critical tech skills will be paramount in shaping the future of IT and its role in the digital economy. 

About the Author(s)

James Stanger

Chief Technology Evangelist, CompTia

Dr. James Stanger is the chief technology evangelist for CompTIA, the world’s leading information technology (IT) certification and training body. Dr. Stanger has consulted with corporate and government leaders worldwide about cybersecurity, emerging technologies, open source, and workforce development for over 25 years. He has worked with organizations in various industry sectors, including technology, government, healthcare, defense, retail, education, finance and others.

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