as his. “In the future, more things are going to get outsourced, but
it’s not going to be all or nothing,” he predicts. “I could see a 75/25
split between outsourced and in-house.”
In that scenario, someone will still need to be on-site with
hands-on knowledge of local software, networks and hardware.
“You’re going to need more of a multifaceted person, not so much
in-depth on any one product, but knowledgeable enough to help
or know where to get help,” he says.
Urbaniak knows that if he’s going to be that guy, he needs
to stay current in all the technologies his employer uses. “I’m a
generalist. I need to keep my skills up. It’s just what our industry
demands,” he explains.
Plan for Lifelong Learning
How can IT workers traverse the current skills gap and get to work
on the new technologies employers say they want now? Beyond
that, how should they prepare for the rapidly approaching transformation of corporate I T?
First and foremost, tech managers and
employment experts assert, IT professionals must never stop learning — even
though some, if not all, of the training
they need will be on their own time and
on their own dime.
“You can’t rely on a company for your
growth and training anymore,” says
executive recruiter Weinman. “Except for
a few enlightened companies, if they’re
training you at all, they’re training you for
what they need, not necessarily training
for what you need to develop your techni-
cal skills over the long run.”
That message resonates with Montal-
bano, who believes he’s been successful
in both his corporate IT and consulting
careers in part because he’s willing to
invest his own time and resources in
staying technologically current.
“You need to invest in your career.
I have $2,800 worth of hardware — a
server, two processors, a terabyte of
storage, a whole cloud — in my house. That’s how I learned
cloud,” says Montalbano, who also has a string of Microsoft
certifications. “Nobody told me to get my [Microsoft Certified IT
Professional credential], but that helped me get a job, and once
I got to Catapult, I needed [expertise in] virtualization, so I took
In addition to pursuing training opportunities, IT profession-
als need to determine where their skills will fit best in the future.
They should begin by assessing where they are in the life
cycles of three types of technologies: emerging, mainstream and
legacy systems, says Scott Dillon, executive vice president, CTO
and head of technology infrastructure services at Wells Fargo.
Dillon’s organization offers employees “learning maps” that
they can use to chart career paths and identify areas for further
development. While the learning maps emphasize emerging
technologies, “mainstream is still our bread and butter and the
place where we devote most of our training efforts,” Dillon says.
Of course, in an industry that never stops innovating, main-
stream is always on its way to legacy. “The first question I would
ask is, ‘Does my current expertise have a long sunset ahead of
it?’ ” says Penman, the CIO-turned-consultant. “Because if you’re
a Unix sysadmin and they’re going to need two instead of 10, you
need to get to a place where you’re part of the growth rather than
part of the containment.”
Penman says the next questions should be, “Do I have a strong
career track inside this company? Does it treat its people well? Is
there room for growth?”
The point, Penman and others say, is that tech people must
choose — and soon — whether to attach themselves to a
company and an industry or to a skill set.
Except for a few
if they’re training you
at all, they’re training
you for what they need,
not necessarily training
for what you need to
develop your technical
skills over the long run.
TODD WEINMAN, PRESIDENT,
THE WEINMAN GROUP