Shortfalls in information technology (IT) training impedes critical business operations such as customer service and security, and drags down innovation, productivity, time-to-market and profitability, according to results from a recent study by the Computer Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), an IT industry trade association.
Nearly 80 percent of the 502 U.S.-based IT and business managers CompTIA surveyed in a five-week period beginning in mid-December, 2011, said that a widening IT skills gap--owing to rapid changes in technology and inadequate training resources—ultimately stagnates business success.
Companies in the study said that the shortfall in IT workers’ skill levels alarmed them because it cut a wide path—from fundamental areas such as security, data storage, refreshing aging equipment, network infrastructure, and disaster recovery and business continuity--to newer technologies such as business process automation, mobility, collaboration and virtualization.
“With core technologies, new options for their usage translate to the need for more and different skills,” said Amy Carrado, CompTIA director, market research.
“Emerging areas will require IT staff and end users to have sufficient new knowledge bases and skill sets to maximize the return on technology investment,” she said.
Some 41 percent of participants in the survey said that productivity was negatively impacted by shortcomings in IT skills, and about one-third pointed each to a litany of other ills including downturns in customer service and security. About one-quarter of small companies in the study blamed slimmer profits on insufficiently trained IT staffs.
Slightly less than 60 percent of businesses in the survey said that the answer resides in training or retraining their existing IT staff in areas where skill levels lag.
“The expected commitment to more education is an encouraging sign,” said Terry Erdle, CompTIA executive vice president, skills certification.
“IT professionals have a strong propensity for lifelong learning and skills enhancement, so the large majority will welcome the opportunity to broaden their knowledge,” he said. “An investment in new IT education and training will deliver strong return on investment to the business’s bottom line.”