Preparing Your DevOps Workforce for the Shifting Landscape of Tech Talent
June 17, 2024

Clyde Seepersad
Linux Foundation

As we all watch the technology industry shift to the latest technologies, languages, hardware, and more, the good news for DevOps professionals is that DevOps continues to be a top priority for organizations. As they forecast the talent needs, 51% of organizations have dedicated technical talent allocated to DevOps. It ranks as the second-highest priority after cloud services (55%). The other top skills are cybersecurity (49%), and AI/ML (43%).

These are just some of the findings in the 2024 State of Tech Talent Report from Linux Foundation Training & Certification. The report offers insight into the current landscape of technical talent acquisition, retention, and management, and it reveals some striking findings about how companies are prioritizing, developing, and hiring tech talent.

Skills-Based Hiring Outpaces Degrees

Traditionally, the tech industry placed a high value on academic degrees. However, as the pace of technological change accelerates, the skills required to succeed in this field are evolving rapidly. The report reveals a notable trend: certifications are now ranked higher than college or university degrees (23% to 16%) when assessing technical skills. This shift underscores the growing recognition that practical skills and hands-on experience are becoming increasingly crucial in the tech workforce.

The move towards skills-based hiring is a response to the pragmatic needs of the industry. Hiring managers are increasingly prioritizing candidates with tangible skills and certifications directly applicable to the projects and technologies at hand. This approach opens up opportunities for a wider pool of talent, including those who may have taken non-traditional paths to acquire their skills.

Upskilling and Cross-Skilling Take Center Stage

Related to that, the report also highlights the critical role of upskilling in today's tech industry. An overwhelming 98% of organizations consider upskilling a crucial strategy, with 36% rating it as extremely important. And across all technology domains, on average, 48% of organizations would prioritize upskilling or cross-skilling existing staff over hiring new employees or engaging consultants in 2024. This emphasis on continuous learning is not just about individual career growth; it is a strategic imperative for organizations looking to stay competitive.

By prioritizing upskilling and cross-skilling initiatives, companies can cultivate a versatile and adaptable workforce ready to tackle the challenges of emerging technologies. It is much like applying DevOps practices to staff development — being agile with iterative learning and adaptation and continuously updating your skills.

Seizing the Opportunities

While the shift towards skills-based hiring and upskilling presents exciting opportunities, it also comes with challenges. Perhaps your organization fosters an environment that nurtures continuous learning, or you might need to take the initiative yourself. As you look at upskilling or cross-skilling, you will find a litany of programs to choose from. Consider training and certification programs that are offered by established organizations and supported by the companies doing a bulk of the hiring. That will ensure a quality program that is recognized by hiring managers.

If you manage or influence an organization's staff development, recognize the immense potential that lies within this new talent landscape. As professionals commit to continuous learning and acquiring in-demand skills, they open up a world of opportunities for career growth and innovation. As organizations embrace skills-based hiring and invest in their employees' development, they build a strong and resilient workforce and also position themselves at the forefront of the digital revolution.

Charting the Path Forward

As we look to the future, one thing is clear: the tech industry's approach to talent is undergoing a profound transformation. Yesterday's methods won't train tomorrow's workforce. By embracing skills-based hiring, prioritizing continuous learning, and investing in the development of our workforce, we can unlock the full potential of our human capital and shape a brighter, more inclusive future for the technology sector, within DevOps and beyond.

Clyde Seepersad is SVP, GM, Training & Certification, at the Linux Foundation
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