A Look Ahead: Skill Building in 2005 and Beyond
The market need for IT training and certification sustains generous growth due to advancements in software technology and the continual adoption of new and evolving technologies in enterprises today. Heading into 2005, new technologies like Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), the vital need for more effective information security and existing programs like Linux and Java will lead to an unrivaled demand for IT training. As technologies are always advancing, so are the methods IT training companies use to teach the subject matter.
According to analysts, the number of those seeking certification is steadily increasing. An International Data Corp. (IDC) study estimates that the IT education market will grow at a 4.3 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2004 and 2008, due in part to an 8 percent annual growth in the IT labor market size.
Emerging technological needs continue to pave the way for sustained growth:
- Information Security: This is one of the hottest issues today in IT. IDC states that 40 percent of approximately 1,000 IT managers surveyed in a recent study saw security as their top IT budget priority. An alarming number of IT security breaches, denial of service (DoS) attacks and viruses stress the pressing need for enterprises to invest in security training and certification. As companies realize the debilitating threat security breaches pose, they are enacting a more aggressive security strategy, protecting their information by seeking well-trained information security professionals capable of implementing a proactive security posture.
- VoIP: Many enterprises are realizing the cost benefits of utilizing VoIP in their existing data networks. Major developments in protocols and hardware have addressed many of the concerns about voice quality that historically might accompany a migration to a converged network. With that in mind, businesses recognize that it is essential to have technicians and engineers trained in existing and emerging standards to prepare for this technology.
Existing programs that continually require certified IT professionals also are experiencing some of the largest growth in the industry:
- Linux: As the Linux operating system continues to evolve into a business-class platform, many companies are implementing Linux in their corporate user environments. When properly implemented, the benefits realized by using Linux are many: lower total cost of ownership, stability, security, more efficient use of hardware and increasing support thanks to major hardware, software and services vendors committed to the Linux market. Within the past year, Linux has made tremendous strides in gaining corporate acceptance, and it will continue to evolve into an extremely viable alternative in the operating system market—driving a great demand for highly trained Linux professionals.
- Java: Java-based products and services are the cornerstone for much of today’s technology. As Web-based programs continue to grow in 2005, 60 percent of Web developers expect to use Java technology. Java is also the leading programming language for mobile devices. The boom in this industry ensures a sustainable need for Java professionals. Like Linux, Java is an existing program with ever-expanding applications, and it is therefore an intelligent investment in IT training.
As technologies change, so will IT training:
- E-Learning: This method has advanced from asynchronous e-mail and chat methods to synchronous, live “classroom” environments that allow students to interact with instructors and classmates from the convenience of home or office. This technology offers diversified learning options for students. While these advances will be an excellent option for students who cannot attend traditional instructor-led classes, online learning will not fully replace the unique advantages of learning in a live classroom.
- Customized Training Solutions: Businesses today demand vast amounts of IT support. Whether they need to outsource their training needs or require training consulting, they demand individualized training specifically designed to meet their technological needs.
The IT industry will always see emerging technologies, information threats, new hacking techniques and communications upgrades. Regardless of whether it is new technology or existing technology that corporations employ to run their businesses, they require skilled professionals to ensure that their investments are giving them the greatest return possible. As technologies, standards and compliance regulations continually evolve, so too should training strategies.
Christopher D. Porter is president of TechTrain, operating name for Knowledge Key Associates Inc. (KKA). TechTrain provides accelerated learning to IT professionals who need to keep up with rapidly changing industry advances and certification requirements.