IT architectures, databases, business intelligence and IT security. How well equipped are German IT professionals to handle the challenges?
The mass amounts of data and devices, business models and digitalization projects mean IT professionals have to make sure they stay fit, especially in the fields of IT architectures, databases, business intelligence and IT security. According to a survey conducted by msg in which more than 700 IT professionals across Germany were interviewed, three of those four skills are well covered – it is merely business intelligence that has been left behind.
“We have been advising companies on their digitalization projects for years. Core topics are the four mentioned above. Even if business intelligence used to be just a buzz word, it is still extremely relevant,” states Ralf S. Engelschall, Head of msg Applied Technology Research. “Business intelligence is commonly, and incorrectly, considered unimportant. Data and the analysis thereof are the oil fields of the future.”
The four skills for digitalization projects
1. IT Architectures
Infrastructures are becoming increasingly complex – whether as a result of hybrid cloud infrastructures or complex networks involving billions of devices in the Internet of Things. In order to stem the burden of growing workloads and to be among the service elite in a digitalized company, it is essential for IT professionals to master IT architectures. Both the established layer architecture and modern approaches such as micro services play a decisive role here.
Today’s personalized services must deliver data in real-time – not to mention the access it must enable, both internal and external, whether from Internet of Things (IoT) devices or simultaneous saving and processing. Those wanting to generate a profit from digital products and services will have to master modern data storage and be part of the progressing development. Decisive in such efforts will clearly be establishing a symbiosis between traditional relational data storage and NoSQL approaches.
3. Business Intelligence
Data is the oil field of the 21st century and business intelligence is the refinery. This is where knowledge is won. Business intelligence evaluates data and combines analysis with insight to make that data valuable. Today this skill is more important than ever.
4. IT Security
There are new dimensions to modern security – not just deeper dimensions that have been included from the start, but wider dimensions as well, dimensions that involve multiple industries and fields. More connected devices mean more risks. More data processing means a greater need for data protection aspects. Thus, it is not just security experts who must give serious thought to IT security in and during every project.
Skills Gap in IT
The good news is: most IT professionals already have three of the four skills essential to digitalization. Business intelligence, however, is being dangerously underestimated. That is what the results of a Germany-wide survey by msg showed, a survey that interviewed 700 IT experts, from administrators to CIOs. The skills experts named as the most important were databases, IT architectures, IT security and project management. Business intelligence, on the other hand, sadly landed in second-to-last place.
When asked which skills would be most important for new IT professionals in five years, the answers were surprisingly similar – at the top were IT architectures and IT security. Databases were also deemed important. Business intelligence, on the other hand, was considered less important. This exposed a clear gap, a skills gap. All the past hype about business intelligence seems to have given people the impression that business intelligence is a thing of the past. When in fact, it has just gotten started. Those who realign their focus to these four essential skills will be able to enjoy successful IT projects far into the future as well.
About the Survey
Around 500 students at the RWTH in Aachen, the University of Augsburg, the University of Magdeburg, the University of Bayreuth and the Technical University (TU) of Darmstadt were surveyed. University and school selection was based on the rankings published by the CHE (center for higher education) in the subject of computer science for academic year 2016/2017. 700 IT professionals from different levels were interviewed throughout Germany for the comparison of skills to the requirements in companies. The survey included questions such as which professional and social skills universities and schools emphasize and which of those skills IT professionals consider important in their current position.