The pandemic has given tech pros new found confidence. What’s next?

The past year hasn’t been all doom and gloom for IT pros.

IT teams moved mountains to ensure smooth transitions to remote work for the larger organization and their success has caused many to realize their worth to the business.

Confidence is at an all-time high, according to this year’s SolarWinds® IT Pro Day survey, with 48% of IT pros wearing their vocation like a badge of honor. 41% realized they were capable of greater things, while 62% have a newfound motivation to excel in their roles.

IT pros should use this confidence as an opportunity to improve skills to face new challenges.

81% of IT professionals believe opportunities abound to develop their careers but they require equal amounts of humility and hard work to learn, upskill and face future challenges.

Below are several key considerations IT pros should incorporate into their plans into 2022.

Improve shortcomings, but remember the fundamentals

Remote work has been a masterclass for IT teams, particularly with soft skills.

Close collaboration and clear objectives are natural requirements for a remote workforce separated by distance, and any IT pro who doesn’t pick up on them quickly will face greater levels of frustration from their more sociable peers.

Indeed, based on the survey, 66% of IT pros cited the need to improve teamwork and listening skills, while 46% are focused on sharpening their public speaking skills.

Anyone familiar with IT stereotypes would admit this is a tectonic shift in the right direction. They shouldn’t overlook technical skills that help their day jobs and future advancement.

Technical skills like documentation, project management and Agile development methodologies should be prioritized. These aren’t just great additions to any IT pro’s toolset.

They also allow them to flex their social muscles due to a higher level of interaction.

Project management, requires negotiation of priorities and expectations with stakeholders, while documentation requires clear and concise communication.

IT pros should choose the technical and supplementary soft skills they want to nurture.

Snowball the hard-won momentum

Most businesses accelerated digitization at the start of the pandemic, driven by a necessity to pivot revenue models and kick start remote work.

IT pros found themselves in a world where technologies, like cyber security tools or network management solutions, were a necessity rather than a “nice-to-have.”

This has pushed these areas of IT in the business as over 57% are focused on improving security, 51% on troubleshooting, and 49% on better network management capabilities.

My challenge to business and IT leaders is to support this push and snowball existing momentum for further digitization. Encourage and support team members looking to upskill in these areas or obtain previously mentioned soft skills to advance their careers.

Provide resources, remove obstacles and give greater responsibility to those who are ready!

In short, IT leaders need to build more leaders under them—individuals who understand the overarching goals of the business and have the know-how to help get there.

Build upon the newfound confidence of your IT team.

Give them the exposure and tools they need to support the business, and your organization will be in a good place to recover and succeed, in the post-pandemic world.

What does future success look like for IT pros?

Due to their increased involvement in decision-making and interdepartmental collaboration, success in the future will look very different for today’s IT pros.

Of course, technical competency will still be critical for career advancement, but so will non-technical metrics like co-worker feedback or CSAT scores.

These non-technical metrics are critical for a seamless hybrid work environment, IT professionals—and IT leaders—would be wise to consider them when evaluating performance.

It’s been a fruitful year of self-discovery and confidence-building for IT pros, and what they do with their newfound worth within the business will set the stage for years to come.

Above all else, IT pros must remember why they chose this vocation in the first place.

The need to problem-solve and tinker with technology, both sources of satisfaction for the average IT pro, aren’t going away—in fact, they will likely increase in the coming months as businesses acclimatize and adapt to post-pandemic hybrid working.

The only difference at the moment is that IT pros have more influence and clout to get the resources that they need so as to do what they love to do, more than ever before.

 

Chrystal Taylor, Head Geek and Senior Technical Product Marketing Manager at SolarWinds. He is a dedicated technologist with over a decade of experience spanning capacity planning, server architecture, and troubleshooting.