Research: 59 percent concerned IT skill set will become obsolete

The fear of obsolescence is driving many IT professionals to further their education and obtain new certifications, according to a Tech Pro Research survey on the future of IT jobs.
Written by Teena Maddox, Contributor

As technology grows more diverse and powerful it also grows more difficult to manage and balance. Many IT jobs are requiring a broader responsibility in terms of expertise and the number/type of skills needed.

Working in IT today requires an IT professional to be more of a generalist rather than a specialist in one discipline: the pressure is on to have a diverse knowledge set. This spells promise for IT pros who can leverage a broad skill set and move among groups or companies to exercise their talents. But it can also limit the career options of those who can't or don't keep moving.

Tech Pro Research conducted a global survey of 1,156 respondents to find out about the following issues:

  • How are IT professionals responding to the current technology landscape?
  • How are they managing their careers?
  • What have they been working on?
  • Where should they branch out to stay competitive?
  • Where and why are they are expanding their technical and non-technical skill sets?
  • How are they learning and who is arranging that?
  • How are the new skill sets translating into hands-on work, and what percentage of their time is being allocated to these new areas?
  • What level of demand are they seeing for their skills sets at the organizations? What about in the overall job market? What are recruiters and employers looking for in an IT professional?
  • What do they expect to see down the road, both personally and within their industries?
  • How are they planning to stay in IT, or are they moving (or being driven) into other fields or companies?

Read Tech Pro Research's full report, The Future of IT Jobs: Critical Skills and Obsolescent Roles.

Fear of obsolescence

obsolete chart

The report revealed that many people fear that their current IT skill set will become obsolete, with 59 percent of respondents employed in the IT industry reporting concern. A little more than one-third of respondents (34 percent) said they weren't concerned. The reasons for the lack of concern include working to prevent it by furthering their education, or planning to retire or otherwise end their career before becoming obsolescent.

obsolete industry chart

The industry matters, too, with respondents in education reporting more concern (71 percent) than the average across all industries (59 percent). This ties in with how many expect less demand in the future for IT skills in the education field.

Plans to obtain additional degrees or certifications

Future education chart

To stave off obsolescence, many respondents are planning to obtain additional IT certifications or degrees, with 57 percent planning for IT certifications either within their current job role or outside of their current job role. Another 10 percent are looking toward adding a bachelor's or master's degree in IT, and a further 10 percent plan to get a non-technical degree such as an MBA.


The report stated, "The results of our survey refute the recent media reports on the possibility that IT jobs may disappear due to new technical advances. In fact, it's quite the contrary with the increased complexity breeding new opportunities and  furthering demand for skilled IT professionals. As things stand, the future of IT looks bright for both existing workers and newcomers, with some stipulations."

Read the full report, The Future of IT Jobs: Critical Skills and Obsolescent Roles, on Tech Pro Research, the premium content sister site of ZDNet and TechRepublic.


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