IT Workers Increasingly Needing Management Skills

Thursday, 28 April, 2011

The corporate IT landscape is involved in a “next-step” evolution.  Cost management, increasing information management demands, and vendor management on the rise with the Cloud all point to a fundamental shift in IT departments and the roles required to fulfill their mandate.  They also point to a particular concept: management.

The need for business planning, strategy and management skills in IT is on the rise.  IT positions which were focused solely on the technical aspect are expanding to include more skills as part of the necessary toolkit.  As some services move to external vendors, more management than technical involvement is required.  This not only include managing the vendor in order to negotiate a suitable price and contract terms but also managing technologies in such a way that meets and supports the objectives of the business.

Here again is a solid case for two important areas of training and certification that are all too often ignored: ITIL and Project Management.  IT professionals can and should obtain ITIL training to increase ones personal capabilities where it comes to IT service management.  Having such training can elevate an otherwise “face in the crowd” resume to the top of a pile or distinguish you when it comes time to shuffle resources and compose the IT department according to the new paradigm.  Also, acquiring project management training and certification such as PMI’s PMP certification is appropriate where management of projects will become increasingly important with more vendors involved.

High quality training for both areas is available in the GogoTraining online IT training course catalog:

Five Key Things to Know About Tablets in the Enterprise

Friday, 15 April, 2011

Still wondering if mobile development is a good career space to invest in? New data is out to support the buzz about enterprise adoption of tablets and other mobile devices, this time from Gartner.

David Willis, Research VP with Gartner, conducted a live webcast this week and offered several key points of interest on the subject.  Five key highlights include:

  • 80% of businesses will support a tablet-enabled workforce by 2013.  Bold prediction but evidently backed by numbers such as orders and other investments.  Willis says the key is their utility being distinct from laptops and smartphones.
  • Top uses for tablets in the enterprise are and will be “instant on” access, document and video delivery, sales, field service and analytics.  Group collaboration and personal productivity tools will be heavily represented on the available apps list.
  • In a small study Gartner did, they found an average usage duration of around 7 minutes per use and up to 12 uses per day.
  • Willis indicated that while the iPad is dominant and expected to remain so through 2014, the total base of activations for Android is larger for enterprise apps.
  • Willis recommends using HTML5 as the web standard to go with when preparing apps.  He cautions that it is not what he refers to as a true cross-platform “panacea” but says it should help in bridging divides.

Looking to get into one of the largest emerging IT fields in several years?  Check out GogoTraining’s Android Development Training Program.

4 Critical Things to Do When Transitioning to a New IT Job

Wednesday, 13 April, 2011

A survey last year by Manpower indicated 84% of those currently employed (at the time) were interested in pursuing opportunities with a new employer.  This showed a few things: a climb in confidence among the general public, a clear interest in personal improvement, and a desire to make a move even if only for the sake of some motion.

It also showed a lot of us are either on the move or wanting to be.  Where it comes to IT professionals, there are some positions where that kind of motion is difficult to do without causing a lot of interruption and consternation with one’s former employer.  Many companies are tied around a handful or even one IT resource who “knows where everything is” and whose knowledge are so unique that nobody can really take it over.

Here are a few tips for IT professionals who know they are in a unique position but want to leave without leaving the old business hanging.

Do an assessment meeting.  Get your boss and a few people who make sense in the company or department into a room and get honest.  Enumerate all the areas that will need to be handled on a daily, weekly, monthly and ad hoc basis.  For that list, indicate what sort of skills, knowledge and tools are necessary and give an idea of how much time investment to expect for doing said tasks by someone of average knowledge.  Start the conversation that needs to happen, the one where the company starts making decisions on who will take over what, how that will happen, and when.

 This does a few great things for you.  First, it covers your rear end by showing you are up front.  Second, it lets you get everything out in the open so everyone learns and understands all the moving pieces involved; people like that and it will reflect positively on you.  Third, in doing this you are being proactive about making a graceful handoff.  This is something that will NOT go unnoticed by your current employer and will also enhance your image.

Document what you know. After the meeting, write everything down and email it out to everyone after the meeting.  Following on that, spend some time thinking about each of the major points and start documenting what you know.  What should you write down?  Exactly what you wish you could be told or handed if you just arrived and were responsible for handling that piece.  Don’t try to write technical documentation or else you’ll get bogged down in devilish details that serve nobody.  Allow yourself some creative license.  If it really is important to say “That server needs to be rebooted every once in a while until we replace it,” then write it down.  That 4-second sentence could save your company tons of time and money.

When you are finished documenting, make sure it is all in an orderly fashion.  Form it as a report that can be handed from to the new person or persons.  Give it to your boss in hardcopy and put a soft copy on your primary machine and the company network as well.  Then it can be easily found.

Brush up what you need to. Through the course of having that assessment meeting and then documenting all sorts of things, you will come up with a short list of things that you basically should take care of before you leave.  Open ends, loose strings and other things that needed addressing but didn’t have the time for during the normal course of things.  This is the time to do those things.  You don’t have to tell anyone what those things are if you are worried about looking less than fastidious, but just get them done and when someone asks what you’re working on just tell them you’re getting everything in shape for the next person to take over.  That’s all they need to know and they will like hearing it.

Leave your info and be available.  Leave it with your boss and also that person you sit next to or speak with the most that you know will need to ask you questions after you’re gone.  Be sure to answer those questions, even if it costs you lunch hours at your new job and dinner time at home.  The questions will only last for a week or two then tail off.  If they don’t, after a few weeks tell your old employer perhaps it would be better to hire a contractor (or offer your own services at a reasonable rate if your schedule will allow it).  Either way, making yourself available during this time is critical in preserving all the good will you’ve built up during your time with the old employer.  That kind of thing can be obliterated by a few unanswered phone calls and emails after you leave even if you were an outstanding employee for five or more years before you left.

Transitioning from one job to another is difficult enough for people in non-technical jobs.  As an IT professional, you hold keys to kingdoms that are critical to the company and your very reputation and job reference from them will depend on how gracefully you bow out.


Want some quick and easy IT training to sharpen your skills or add a new one?  Check out the GogoTraining IT training course catalog.  Get courses taught by real industry experts in an online, self-paced and VERY affordable format.

Linux Device Development Opportunities Expand with Yocto

Monday, 11 April, 2011

Last week’s Linux Collaboration Summit yielded some interesting recent developments that are sure to help continue moving the platform toward even more usefulness for businesses.

One such innovation is something called the Yocto Project.  As they describe it on the website, Yocto is “an open source collaboration project that provides templates, tools and methods to help you create custom Linux-based systems for embedded products regardless of the hardware architecture.”  Sounds good enough but there’s more to it than that.

Yocto project starts with an ultra bare-bones Linux platform designed for ARM or x86 chips, allowing people to develop a Linux platform for a device with only what is needed and in a more efficient manner (starting bare and building up, versus the other way around).  Millions have been spent by other corporations developing device platforms on Linux by pulling out what is not needed from an existing Linux kernel until they’ve engineered it down to the essentials for that particular device.  Now developers can use Yocto to avoid all of that mess and expense to get to what they need for their device development project. 

This represents a considerable competitive advantage as it opens up use of the Linux platform in device development to a much larger crowd rather than only those who have the deep pockets and existing sales to weather extensive development cycles.  This is very likely to result in the emergence of more device development shops meeting various markets using Linux.

To get involved with Linux development, GogoTraining has the following expert courses:

3 Key Skill Sets to Be Priority of IT Spending

Friday, 8 April, 2011

Multiple surveys continue to support a rise in IT spending for 2011.  Another recent report is the Capgemini 2010-2011 World Quality Report.  We’re already seeing the effects with large and medium employers filling up job seeker sites with thousands of new open positions.  The following three skill sets emerged as clear targets of IT spending priority in the future.

Mobile developers.  It seems like the drumbeat of a new era.  If people aren’t buying new smartphones and tablets they are developing apps for them.  The only people left seem to be those figuring out how to get in on the action.  Face it, the emergence of the mobile device as an integrated part of our work and home lifestyle is an industry with lasting staying power.  Investing in skills for this environment has tons of long-term potential in terms of career and employability.  Of particular note are training opportunities like GogoTraining’s Android Development Training Program.  iOS was the first fashionable one to show up, with emerging players being HP’s new version of webOS due in the summer of 2011 and Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 already at market.

Cloud computing.  What does that mean anyway, in terms of skills?  So far we’ve determined two important areas.  First is hardware and network management.  Hosting providers are finding they have to ramp up on this sort of thing since things like virtualization, serving power, redundancy and storage are going to continue a robust growth curve with the emergence of the cloud.  Next is IT service management, specifically those best practices one can acquire through ITIL certification training.  In-house IT staff at corporations of all sizes are going to have to beef up their IT service management abilities in order to understand how to better serve the greater business and also because they will increasingly be working with vendors providing cloud services.

QA and Test.  Of particular note, 72% of IT professionals indicated in the HP/Capgemini survey that QA/test people with a development background perform better than those without.  This only makes sense; nobody know better how to break something than someone who knows how to build it in the first place.  For software developers looking for a transition point, QA/test is the name of the game.  If you are a developer, getting training in Software QA and Test would be a good direction.

For training on these and other business-critical technologies, check out the GogoTraining IT training course catalog.

Best IT Skills to Develop Moving Forward

Thursday, 7 April, 2011

The emphasis on combining technology with business sense continues where it comes to the desires of CIOs.  The main problem they are facing is the need for IT to transition more into being focused on the business rather than the technical infrastructure of the business.

According to DiceTV, CIOs are seeking “innovative developers who can weave social, mobile and collaborative technology features into their designs.”  In order to survive and thrive in the new era of IT one needs to have technical and business skills.

We’ve talked before about how those in networking positions in IT departments will need to evolve negotiation and management skills in order to deal with an increasingly cloud-bound infrastructure environment.  New skills will include security and analytics as protecting and working with data will be major undertakings going forward.

Getting credible training in critical areas is easy to do with GogoTraining.  Taught by industry experts, GogoTraining course are actual classroom training courses brought into an online, self-paced and affordable format (thanks to GogoTraining’s unique business model).

Check out the online IT training course catalog or take a look at these specific areas:

5 Reasons why Business Intelligence is Good for the Resume

Monday, 4 April, 2011

Business Intelligence (BI) and analytics continue to grow as a strong point of interest with medium and large businesses.  This is translating into more IT jobs as 2011 progresses.  According to Boris Evelson, Forrester vice president and principal analyst, here are five reasons why beefing up the BI skills would likely pay off.

  1. More budget.  IT companies are increasing their investment in this space.
  2. In-House Friendly. Rather than be prone to outsourcing, BI is a function best kept inside the building.
  3. Collaboration. Face-to-face collaboration needs to occur between managers, regular users, analysts and the IT department.  Evelson forsees the never several years being about collaboration between IT and other teams/disciplines.
  4. Regular revisits.  BI projects are modified on an ongoing basis.
  5. BI hiring on the rise.  With rise of value in BI comes the rise in employment for BI positions.  Evelson notes IBM alone is growing their BI services segment from 4,000 to 8,000 people in the next couple of years.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

GogoTraining is a trusted provider of IT training courses, including business intelligence training.  Check out our online IT training course catalog today to find the courses that will put you ahead.