According to a new CompTIA report, IT professionals see broader opportunities within their organizations as the pandemic gave them career stability as they addressed immediate concerns and helped their organizations adapt to changing workplace trends.
The report, “IT Industry Outlook 2022,” finds that IT professionals have an overwhelmingly positive outlook for their job prospects, with the vast majority (80%) of survey respondents feeling good about their role as a technologist.
IT budgets increased last year due to the pandemic and the panic that organizations operated with, but the return to strategy rather than simply keeping businesses afloat should help right-size technology budgets, the report says.
This year, 53% of IT pros felt that their technology budget was right-sized for their organization’s challenges, while just 40% said the same in 2020.
Now, 40% of IT pros predict budget increases for 2022, compared to only 18% who were predicting increases at this time last year.
According to the report, innovation and collaboration tool updates are the two areas where IT pros see the need for additional investment, at 30% and 23%, respectively.
More tech staff (16%), endpoint upgrades (16%) and website upgrades (15%) round out the list.
The report breaks out IT skills into four fundamental disciplines: infrastructure, software development, cybersecurity and data.
For infrastructure, CompTIA says organizations should adopt a cloud-first architecture and consider cloud as the first option for new components, in addition to migrating existing systems where feasible.
CompTIA’s report says the user experience is now critical in software development, with artificial intelligence and machine learning taking a step forward as companies look to take advantage of automation.
It wouldn’t be a timely report if it didn’t mention cybersecurity, which has kept IT pros busy over the last two years. Privacy is top of mind, with 53% of respondents putting it at the top of their list of concerns. Risk analysis (46%), analytics (45%), metrics (45), compliance (39%), workforce education (35%) and penetration testing (33%) make up the remainder.
In the field of data, CompTIA survey respondents said database administration (52%) is the top focus area heading into the new year, with data management policies (49%), data visualization (46%), predictive analytics (42%) and blockchain (24%) rounding out the other areas of focus.
However, CompTIA’s report says it is becoming challenging finding IT pros that have that broad range of skills, and companies are increasingly looking for candidates with a deeper expertise and at least three years of experience.
That is especially true in cybersecurity and data, which has historically been subsets of infrastructure and software. Now that they are separate functions, there are difficulties in creating a pipeline for more advanced talent, the report says. That means companies will have to look elsewhere to fill talent gaps while entry-level positions emerge.
In the meantime, companies are focusing on training the existing IT workforce, as just 47% of companies plan to bring on additional IT help in 2022, while 71% plan to pursue training options. Another 46% plan on certifying their workforce, according to the report.
The report identifies technical skills within specializations, teamwork and communication, and building a technical skill in a new area, as the most important aspects of IT career growth in 2022.
“2022 is shaping up to be a year of not just recovery, but of acceleration and innovation,” said Seth Robinson, senior director for technology analysis at CompTIA. “We are seeing signs of this in IT budgets, in the initiatives that companies are planning and in the skills employers are looking to add.”