Being able to communicate with everyone in the company will be the most important skill for IT professionals in the future, new research shows.
A study by network access solutions firm Aruba Networks revealed that the rapid increase in IT consumerization has more than 40 percent of IT professionals believing communication skills will be more important than technical skills by the year 2020. Additionally, almost nine in 10 IT professionals think they will need to be strong business communicators in the future in order to be successful.
Ben Gibson, chief marketing officer of Aruba Networks, said moving forward, IT and business operations will be fully integrated.
"To manage this, IT professionals will need to be equipped to communicate better, more frequently and more effectively than today," Gibson said. "Communication is already a bigger part of the role of the IT department than it was 10 years ago, but in the future, it is going to become even more important as technology becomes even more business critical."
The study found that nearly half of IT professionals see the Bring Your Own Device movement as the trend that will most shape the evolution of enterprise IT. Data security in the cloud and virtualization are other trends they are expecting to play a large role in the future of IT.
Consequently, more than two-thirds of those surveyed believe that the IT function in 2020 will be more about policy enforcement than technology deployment.
"Future roles in IT will depend on blending technical knowhow with the ‘soft’ currencies of employability, such as communications and business awareness," said Phillip Brown, professor of work, employability and labor markets at Cardiff University."These roles will also require good networking skills, both virtual and face-to-face."
The research predicts that in the future, companies will more heavily rely on third parties for their IT needs. More than 40 percent of IT professionals surveyed said in order to be successful in the coming years, they would need to rely on technical certifications offered by vendors rather than develop the skills in-house. In addition, 76 percent of IT professionals expect the number of projects given to external specialists will increase in an "on demand" fashion.
The study was based on qualitative focus groups and quantitative omnibus research of more than 150 IT professionals at all levels.