IT skills training, certifications benefit both organizations and employees
Organizations must continue their increased emphasis on training IT employees to address the current IT skills gap and prepare for future technology advancements, says Skillsoft’s 2022 IT Skills and Salary Report, which is in its 17th year. This focus will help bolster productivity, retain current employees, and improve an organization’s ability to recruit qualified job candidates.
Based on a worldwide survey of nearly 8,000 IT professionals and decision makers, Skillsoft said 72% of organizations are providing formal training—up roughly 12 percentage points from the prior year—as a key driver to narrow the skills gap. In addition, 85% of organizations authorized training in the last year, and 96% said employees with certifications provide great value.
In this blog, we’ll recap the key findings from the 2022 Skillsoft report, in particular the impacts of the IT skills gap, the benefits of training and certification to employees and organizations, and the training modalities with the greatest impact.
Impacts of the IT skills gap
For organizations, it’s well-known that the impact of an IT skills gaps is significant. The biggest factors behind a skills gap, according to the study’s IT decision makers, are 1/ struggling to both hire candidates with the right skills (44%) and 2/ retaining employees (33%).
As a result, nearly half of IT decision makers report increased stress on existing employees (47%), slower project resolution times (38%), and a decreased ability to meet business objectives (34%). Other consequences include increased operating costs, declining customer satisfaction, and increased security vulnerabilities and risks.
“Simply put, this is no way to run a successful enterprise. Skills gaps must be addressed, and the best ways to combat them are with investments in training, development, and certification,” cited the report, for which AWS was one of seven survey partners.
Across 20 IT categories, cloud computing ranks as the most challenging hiring area for organizations (30%), followed by analytics/big data/data science (28%), and cybersecurity (25%). IT professionals in those areas also are earning higher salaries.
Certifications add value to both employees and organizations
IT training, according to the report, benefits both organizations and employees. “Continual learning and skilling are things employers must be able to provide employees. And, making the most of those opportunities is something employees need to deliver back to employers.”
Ultimately, both groups will see a measurable, positive impact. In fact, among individuals who changed employers in 2022, lack of training, growth, and development was the second most common reason (33%), behind an increase in compensation (38%).
According to the report, IT professionals are motivated to utilize training to help prepare for key projects, such as a migration, deployment, or update (31%), followed by getting a salary increase or bonus (21%).
Obtaining certifications also helps IT professionals, with 91% holding at least one certification reporting advantages, such as improving their work quality (56%), increasing engagement with their work (41%), and performing their job faster (36%). Nearly 20% reported receiving a raise or a new job after getting certified.
In particular, AWS Certifications are in demand, with five AWS Certifications ranking among the 15 top-paying IT certifications across North America; three among Latin America’s top 10; four among Asia-Pacific’s top 10; and two among the top 10 in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.
There are 12 industry-recognized AWS Certifications across foundational, associate, professional, and specialty categories to validate knowledge and expertise, and there are more than one million active AWS Certifications currently.
The Skillsoft report also says IT professionals have ambitious certification goals with most (85%) pursuing certifications now or in the year ahead, which equates to nearly three certifications per person on average.
Organizations greatly benefit by having certified employees. Similar to study from Enterprise Strategy Group, the Skillsoft report says more than 96% of IT decision makers believe certified employees add value, with a boost in productivity (45%) and an increased ability to meet client requirements (44%). In addition, 41% believe certified staff are instrumental to closing the skills gap.
When IT decision makers were asked to put a dollar figure on the value a certified employee adds to their organization, 72% estimated $10,000 or more in additional value, compared to non-certified employees. This amount is up from last year’s estimate (64%).
IT professionals desire formal, instructor led training and virtual options
When it comes to training modalities, IT professionals prefer a formal, instructor-led approach, as opposed to peer-to-peer training. Roughly 70% of IT professionals who participated in formal, expert-led training sessions at work and/or live, instructor-led, online training sessions found them to be “very” or “extremely” effective. AWS Training and Certification offers classroom courses across more than 30 AWS services.
IT professionals also want virtual learning with high-quality, up-to-date content and hands-on practice. Over the past 12 months, virtual learning was the most popular training type; 63% of surveyed IT professionals attended a web-based, on-demand session, and over half used free online learning tools. More specifically, learners looking for subscription-based learning are interested in quality of content (46%), opportunities for hands-on practice (41%), and updated content (33%).
The report also says organizations must improve how they communicate about their training programs, so employees can take full advantage of them. “Learning is where organizations have the power to effect lasting, meaningful change. Invest in your people. Invest in training them to tackle — and innovate — the next big thing. Invest in the future.”
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