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The accelerated digitisation brought on by the health crisis saw a surge in demand for skilled technology professionals and this is set to continue. IT experts in a recent Griffith University panel predicted that technology will drive $65 billion worth of economic growth in Australia by 2024. However, according to Australia’s Digital Pulse, it is forecast that there will be a shortage of around 100, 000 technology professionals within this same timeframe.
But what does this rise in demand and increasing skills gap mean for tech employees now? Combined with the uncertainty we’re still dealing with going into 2021, it’s now more important than ever to make sure you stay ahead of the competition and are indispensable to your organisation.
It’s time to shift your values and put organisational success over personal success. To become an integral part of the team, you really need to get to know your organisation’s culture, processes, and objectives. Transparency is now essential in business; pay attention to reports and financial insights to gain an understanding of performance. By developing an understanding of the business from top to bottom, you will become a more effective and empathetic employee. This knowledge will enable you to align your goals with the organisation’s and be a key driver in business success.
Being able to respond quickly to change was essential in the tech sector pre-pandemic, but it is now one of the most in-demand skills. As technology evolves and industries shift towards digitisation at an accelerated rate, adaptability will cement your role within the company. As Richard Murphy, Europe’s Head of the Fidelity Investments’ Centre for Applied Technology (FCAT) explains, “What worked in the past to drive a company’s success is probably not solely what will drive its success in the future, so you need to be adaptable.” Stay up to date on core technologies that will enhance efficiencies and improve workflows. This will allow you to focus on more complex and specialised work, while providing you with the key knowledge to train others.
To make sure you’re working to your full potential, be brutally honest with yourself. What skills do you possess that make you an essential part of the team? Will your lack of certain skills make you replaceable? You were hired in the first place for a reason – go back to what made you outshine the competition and assess where those skills lie today. Perhaps you need to re-prioritise IT strengths to align your current role with the organisation’s goals. Look objectively at what you need to improve on and actively make this happen. Take training offered by your organisation or online courses to upskill. Illustrating self-awareness and continually learning makes you a better – and therefore more valued – employee.
Analysis by Indeed last year found that interest in tech jobs had increased by around 35% compared to 2019. The rise in remote working, cybersecurity breaches, and the need to turn masses of data into valuable insights put IT at the centre of any successful organisation. So, as a tech employee, you are already in a good position. To strengthen that position, analyse which tasks can be linked back to company-wide goals. This goes back to understanding your organisation. Not all IT-related tasks can relate to company objectives, but the majority should. Examples of this are improving internal communications or working on virtual onboarding systems. Making sure your work makes a positive impact on the organisation will establish you as a highly skilled and team-oriented employee.
As automation increases, so-called ‘human’ skills see a rise in demand. Of course, machines can be programmed to make predictions, but they’re missing that all-important skill – taking initiative. As Jon Cairns, VP of Technical Services at Nexthink explains, “For IT departments to demonstrate their value, they need to transition from their current reactive role to one that is proactive and strategic.” Be the individual that drives innovation. Go beyond your job description; work on anticipating issues before they arise, examine what you may have missed, and draw from your experience to stay a step ahead. This continual improvement will hone your problem-solving skills, essential in today’s ever-changing world of work.
With most Australians wanting a hybrid working environment in the future, it seems remote working is here to stay in some form. However, over half of the country’s employees feel less connected to their co-workers compared to before the pandemic. This lack of connectivity has a major impact on team morale and individuals’ well-being. However, as Claudio Cardile, Managing Director at global technology leader, Barco, points out, “Technology has always – and will continue to – play a critical role. And employees are now expecting their companies to be investing in the tools that make their everyday easier – especially collaboration technologies.” You can play a pivotal role here, by ensuring the virtual workplace is as collaborative as possible. Help train colleagues to use these new technologies. Organise regular meetings – work-related as well as informal chats – and check in on your colleagues to see how they’re doing. Empathy is a highly sought-after workplace skill in this ‘new normal’.
As growing demand and competition in the tech sector increases, it’s essential to position yourself as a truly valued employee. By continually honing your skills, adapting to change, and maintaining self-awareness, you will become indispensable within your organisation.