According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, information technology jobs are expected to grow exponentially over the next decade. Specifically, demand for computer and IT occupations is projected to increase by 11% between now and 2029.
What does this increasing demand mean for IT professionals and their skill set requirements? Obviously, there’s a need for folks with backgrounds in data center operations, systems integration, virtualization etc. Yet the demand for closer links between IT technologists and business operations implies new skills. Particularly with intelligent automation becoming an essential element, successful IT automation professionals require skills beyond the basic familiarity with technologies.
If, in the past, requirements focused solely on technical expertise and you were only looking for scripting wizards and troubleshooting superheroes – then today IT teams demand a much wider set of abilities. This includes burgeoning roles like Automation Technicians, Automation Engineers and other citizen developers who are capable of understanding the needs and processes of the business, translating those needs into IT activities, and prioritizing and implementing them in the most effective way.
So what are the additional skills an automation professional needs? Here are the top 5 to focus on:
- Business Perspective. A business/financial state of mind that enables the consideration and application of non-technical data inputs. For instance, figuring out key KPI’s affecting an IT project, measuring return on investment (ROI), and optimizing an IT project implementation to successfully achieve financial goals.
- Process Analysis. The ability to define and implement processes such as incident management, change management, operations, information security, business continuity & disaster recovery, and business service management.
- Project Management. Individuals who can not only oversee and monitor projects, but also identify business users’ needs and translate them into IT requirements. IT Automation professionals that can clearly justify how a business may increase its staff productivity and efficiency using different processes and tools.
- Process Implementation. Modern automation specialists must be capable of grasping end-to-end processes, possess a deep understanding of workflows and the ability to create them in a fast-paced, highly automated environment.
- Interpersonal skills. The need for stronger communication with business managers requires solid interpersonal skills – i.e. the ability to communicate effectively with a wide range of people outside the IT domain, understanding business peoples’ needs, concerns and different points of view, and the ability to negotiate and make compromises on both sides.