In an article by Harvard Business Review which looked at the notion of a global ‘skills gap’, they revealed that a survey commissioned by a corporate training company Udemy found that out of 1,000 randomly selected Americans between the ages of 18 and 65, 54% of respondents claimed they didn’t know everything they needed to, to do their current jobs. Interestingly, the biggest area employees felt they were lacking in were their technical skills (Bessen, J. 2014). According to Udemy, 33% of respondents felt they lacked confidence in their technical skills which included functions like programming, working with new software and general computer knowledge (Bessen, J. 2014). This technical skills gap has widened considerably over the last decade, as society’s increasing dependence on technology to perform key functions has meant that the skills and knowledge once strictly required for IT-related roles have come to the forefront of general business practices.
During the seventies, the computer itself was still quite a primitive invention and hadn’t been widely adopted by offices. Now not knowing how to work a computer is unheard of. Moreover, the introduction of the internet and social media has created a whole new stream of jobs, which having knowledge in has become increasingly important to overall business performance and operations. Unfortunately, the rapid way in which technology has and continues to transform business operations has exceeded the rate at which many employees have had time to upskill. This can put employees at a disadvantage when trying to progress their career, especially when seeking a promotion or new opportunity. Jumping into topics like ‘SQL Database Administration’ ‘The Cloud’ or ‘Amazon Web Services Core Concepts’ can seem daunting, especially to someone based in HR, sales or finance who may feel these topics aren’t relevant to them. However, Public Sector People have collated some key reasons why developing your technical skills and keeping them up to date is beneficial for everyone’s professional development, no matter what department you work in:
1. Future-proof your career
Technology like automation, AI and connected machines are dramatically changing the workforce and ushering in the “Fourth Industrial Revolution”. It’s estimated that 25%- 40% of jobs in the U.S alone will be significantly impacted by these technologies (Shimkus, D., 2019). Every industry and every role will become heavily reliant on advanced technology (if they’re not already). For example, within many of the business support and administration roles Public Sector People are recruiting for, software experience and knowledge has become an increasingly common requirement. Many local governments and public sector providers are looking for those who are experienced in programs like TRIM, PATHWAY or similar. Consequently, being able to develop your technical skills now, will make you more prepared and adaptable for the inevitable changes coming.
2. Increase Your Confidence and Productivity
If you lack technical skills but are required to carry out a role that increasingly revolves around technology, not only will you start to lack confidence in your abilities, but your productivity will dwindle. Once you equip yourself with the necessary technical skills- whether that be learning about keyboard shortcuts for particular software programs, debugging software or increasing traffic to your website, you’ll not only feel more confident and comfortable in your role but your productivity will skyrocket. You’ll be able to free up your time so you can then focus on the important projects and jobs.
3. Increase Collaboration and Work More Effectively
4. Become A Valuable Asset
It goes without saying, but for an organisation that is increasingly relying on technology to operate their key services, having an employee who is competent in tech and IT is seen as a valuable asset to the business. Organisations are under increasing pressure to adapt and increase their online presence to remain competitive within the market and meet the needs of their key stakeholders. Consequently, employees who have experience with managing or setting up these processes and have a key understanding of how the technologies to create these processes work, will be increasingly important to the business’ operations and secure them as a long-term valued team member. This understanding and knowledge will also give you a competitive advantage over other candidates when applying for a promotion or applying for a new role.
5. Generate More Versatility and Security In Your Industry
A 2017 annual report prepared by Deloitte Access Economic reveals that an additional 81,000 jobs will be needed by 2022 to meet growing technological advancements (Young, 2017). For example, many security issues arose in 2020, when an influx of people working from home on personal devices or company hardware, meant that an unprecedented volume of users were trying to access their organisation’s cloud or streaming data and applications. This has then spurred on a greater need for cybersecurity upgrades and the Australian Government announced in 2020 that it will invest $1.67 billion over the next 10 years into delivering a more secure online world for Australians. This represents the government’s biggest investment into cybersecurity to date and is expected to create over 500 jobs for the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) (University of Adelaide, 2020). Even farmers are now relying on technology such as GPS and sensor technologies to help generate data on livestock, soil, crops and keep track of their equipment.
Regardless of your industry, acquiring or upskilling your IT and tech skills will ensure you remain a well-rounded employee, a valuable asset and safeguard your position throughout changes within your industry and sector. Learning and developing additional knowledge will also increase your versatility and can lead you to opportunities that might not have been available to you previously. For example, learning coding to help upload a form to a particular website, could lead you to opportunities in data science and engineering and program development- all careers that are expected to grow over the next few years.
How can you develop your technical skills?
While learning an entirely new area or discipline can seem daunting at first, there are lots of opportunities for employees to learn or upskill when it comes to tech. You should firstly reach out to the HR or Learning & Development department within your organisation to see if they offer any internal programs or courses on IT & Programming. There are also many accessible online courses through TAFE, Open Colleges or Linkedin Learning that you can enrol in which offer a range of programs catering to varying skill levels; from beginner through to advanced or specialised. No matter the course, learning or upskilling your tech knowledge can only add value to your current and future career prospects.
For those interested in working in the technology or IT space and wanting to explore opportunities within the public sector, why not reach out to our dedicated IT consultant Cheri Randell? You can contact her at:
Phone: 0466 699 297
 Bessen, James. (2014). Workers Don’t Have The Skills They Need- And They Know It. Retrieved from: https://hbr.org/2014/09/workers-dont-have-the-skills-they-need-and-they-know-it
 Shimkus, Darren (2019). 5 Ways To Future-Proof Your Workforce. Retrieved from: https://www.forbes.com/sites/darrenshimkus/2019/12/02/5-ways-to-future-proof-your-workforce/?sh=661ae57a497c
Young, Ashton. (2017). Australia In A Digital Boom with 40,000 More Tech Jobs Over The Last Two Years. Retrieved from: https://channellife.com.au/story/australia-digital-boom-40000-more-tech-jobs-over-last-two-years
The University of Adelaide (2020). What Australia’s 2020 Cyber Security Strategy Means For Cyber Security Professionals. Retrieved from: https://www.themandarin.com.au/145767-what-australias-cyber-security-strategy-means-for-professionals/