Continuous, exponential growth in ICT is fuelling the demand for high-tech skills sets. The evolution of the industry has meant that there is not only a demand for sufficient numbers in terms of skills, but also the type of skills required.  There is also a requirement to upskill.
Robert Sussman, joint CEO, Integr8, explains that game-changing influences such as data, cloud computing and mobilisation, require skills sets in order for businesses to truly capitalise off these trends. Integr8 is an established South African managed ICT services provider.

Disruptive technologies including cloud computing, virtualisation and the extensive amount of data being generated are together fuelling the need for skills.
This level of data creation is driven by the desire to learn more, know more and do more. This yearning for knowledge, combined with the advent of social media, is dependent on the availability of skills in order to transfer the benefit to businesses.
“And these specialised tech skills are in short supply… urgent action is required,” says Sussman.

“Skills around data management are lacking. Specialists in data analytics and data management are highly sought after – these are all what one could term, ‘non-traditional’ IT skills. Gartner mentioned, as far as Big Data skills are concerned, there are four-and-a-half million jobs in need of fulfilment worldwide,” he says.

As far as the domestic market is concerned, industries such as finance, insurance and accounting (that are both data-intensive and reliant upon cloud services) are in dire need of specialised skills sets.
Sussman believes that companies can- and should take a proactive approach to attract and retain the best skills the market has to offer.
“To ensure this happens staff should be absorbed into the process as quickly as possible. Another key consideration is to make sure you have the right people in place to assist and mentor juniors and to put training courses in places – it needs to become a part of a company’s DNA,” says Sussman.
With regard to training and learning initiatives offered in the market, leadership at Integr8 believe that the level to entry and the availability of knowledge allowing candidates to skill-up has become more available. Furthermore, mentorship programs and initiatives have increased in popularity.
The challenge, as the company sees it, is to help staff increase in skills level – because there is no short-cut. “Continual training is absolutely essential and is no longer ‘a nice to have’,” he adds.
Integr8 advises those wanting to enter the ICT industry that it is best to focus on an area of specialisation and plough all resources into that area. The days of taking a generalist approach are well and truly over.
“Constant training, reading and dealing with situations out of your comfort zone is key to learning and growing in this industry,” Sussman concludes.