Skills for DevOps Pros of Tomorrow
April 09, 2019

DevOps pros have one foot grounded in today's hybrid IT realities while also setting their sights on emerging technology, according to IT Trends Report 2019: Skills for Tech Pros of Tomorrow, a new report from SolarWinds.

Specifically, tech professionals in DevOps, web product manager (WPM), and developer roles have prioritized coding and scripting, systems and infrastructure, and database management skills development in the past 12 months. When it comes to the next three to five years, they are looking to develop skills in areas like security management and hybrid IT, while eyeing career paths such as data science and analytics.

However, without improvement in time and budget constraints, the majority of all DevOps teams, developers, and WPMs (75 percent) say they will be unable to confidently manage future innovations. This reality ultimately puts businesses at risk of performance and competitive advantage losses, making the prioritization of skills and career development for DevOps teams, developers, and WPMs paramount.

Key findings show that:

The majority of tech professionals in DevOps, web product manager (WPM), and developer roles are not fully confident they have all the skills needed to manage their environments into the near future, especially when it comes to emerging tech

75 percent of all DevOps teams, developers, and WPMs surveyed are not "completely confident" in having all the necessary skills to successfully manage their IT environments over the next three to five years — even though 98 percent have worked to develop a skill over the past 12 months.

When it comes to the idea of implementing or managing specific technologies, emerging tech is a pain point (despite how much mindshare these buzzworthy technologies get in headlines). The top three technologies DevOps teams, developers, and WPMs feel unequipped to manage with their current skillsets are:

1. AI (55 percent)

2. Blockchain (50 percent) and quantum computing (50 percent)

3. Machine and/or deep learning (45 percent)

According to the Gartner list of strategic technology trends (see video below) that have the potential to disrupt and are on the verge of becoming more widely used in the next five years, AI, blockchain, and quantum computing all rank in the top 10. There is a great opportunity for DevOps teams, developers, and WPMs to increase their knowledge of these technologies and to have productive conversations with businesses on the reality of implementation in the near future.

DevOps teams, developers, and WPMs will continue building skills in daily operations with an eye toward areas like data science

In the past 12 months, DevOps teams, developers, and WPMs have prioritized skills in coding and scripting (54 percent), systems and infrastructure management (43 percent), and database management (41 percent).

In the next three to five years, the top two skills developers and WPMs plan to develop are security management (45 percent) and data science and analytics (41 percent).

DevOps teams', developers', and WPMs' instincts are correct when it comes to the top skillset area as they are expected to see continued growth, according to Gartner.

Gartner research analysts also estimate that global revenue for the information security market will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.8 percent between 2017 and 2022, reaching US $143 billion in constant currency terms.

Hybrid IT deployment monitoring and management rounds out the top three skillsets DevOps teams, developers, and WPMs plan to develop in the next three to five years.

Gartner also predicts that the Worldwide Public Cloud Services market will grow by 17.33 percent in 2019, going from US $175.8 billion in 2018 to US $206.2 billion this year.

DevOps teams, developers, and WPMs say cloud and/or hybrid IT, big data analytics, and AI are the key technologies for career development, which will help achieve higher goals like innovation

DevOps teams, developers, and WPMs say the most important technologies for their career development are (by weighted rank) aligned with the top three technologies for organizations' transformation over the next three to five years.

1. Cloud and/or hybrid IT (59 percent)

2. Big data and analytics (55 percent)

3. AI (54 percent)

When it comes to career development goals over the next three to five years, DevOps teams, developers, and WPMs will look to prioritize (by weighted rank):

1. Technology innovation (49 percent)

2. Programming, coding, and/or scripting (33 percent)

3. Data analytics and/or data science (38 percent)

Management/leadership skills (people management) and IT security protocol and/or processes round out the top five career development goals for the next three to five years.

DevOps teams, developers, and WPMs have an appetite to prioritize career development on a weekly basis but are hindered by factors like time and cost

Nearly eight in 10 DevOps teams, developers, and WPMs (79 percent) say their day-to-day IT tasks extend into time earmarked for career development, with 20 percent saying this always happens. This is alarming, considering DevOps teams, developers, and WPMs enjoy technology skills training, with 49 percent finding it informative, 32 percent saying it's engaging and interactive, and 27 percent reporting it's not long enough.

Currently, DevOps teams, developers, and WPMs engage in IT skills training and/or career development programs ranging from a few times a year (25 percent) to monthly (23 percent) and weekly (19 percent); however, if there were no schedule or workload restrictions, most (42 percent) would prefer weekly training.

Developers and WPMs cite time and availability (48 percent) and cost (25 percent) as the biggest barriers affecting their current ability to participate in IT skills training and career development programs at the frequency they would like.

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