Security tops technical skills priorities for career advancement for tech pros – iTWire

Tech pros say security, troubleshooting and network management are the top technical skills needed to progress in their careers and, while they are wary of future challenges like cybersecurity threats and burnout, they believe an evolution in the IT operations of their organisations will create positive change.

Responding to the Australia-wide SolarWinds IT Pro Day 2021 survey: Bring IT On.57% of tech pros nominated security as the the top technical skills needed to progress in their careers, along with troubleshooting (51%), and network management at 49%.

The survey also found:

  • At the same time, collaboration (for example, teamwork, listening to others, networking at 66%), innovative or creative problem solving (48%), and communication (such as public speaking, written documents at 46%) are seen as the most important non-technical skills needed for advancement.
  • Respondents also say these experiences at home or in general daily life are perceived as most useful at work:
  • Time management (e.g., prioritisation, organisation) (69%)
  • Communication skills (verbal and non-verbal) (67%)
  • Interpersonal skills (e.g., adaptability, flexibility, patience) (66%)
  • Problem solving (65%)
  • Additionally, nearly three-fourths (70%) of those surveyed said they’ve had a hobby that helps them in their day-to-day role as a tech pro.
  • These non-technical skillsets will play a large role in enabling tech pros to achieve bigger responsibilities, such as project management and becoming part of the decision-making process, which 34% of respondents say is their biggest opportunity at work in the next year.


  • According to the Monster Future of Work: 2021 Outlook survey, recruiters chose soft skills—topped by dependability, teamwork/ collaboration, and problem solving/critical thinking—as the most important skills they’re seeking in new hires


  • Further, more than half (56%) of tech pro participants believe they’ll have the chance to broaden their education to acquire new certifications and skills, helping them excel in their careers and workplaces.

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Solarwinds says that amidst ongoing pandemic-driven change at work and at home, this year’s survey seeks to understand how tech pros feel about their daily roles and responsibilities, what lessons they learned over the past year, and what they think of the primary technical and non-technical skills needed to capitalise on opportunities for their future career growth.

According to Solarwinds, after a year of unprecedented challenges and change, tech pros responding to this year’s survey report a positive perception of their roles and say they look forward to what lies ahead.

The survey reveals that almost half (48%) of tech pro respondents say they’re proud of what they do, another 44% love what they do, and 41% believe this year has proven they’re more capable than they realised.

And as tech pros look to the future, 62% of respondents say they’re motivated to succeed in their roles and nearly all (81%) of tech pros respondents agree there will be multiple opportunities to develop and enhance their careers in the next year.

“This year’s IT Pro Day survey results showcase IT pros’ adaptability and dedication to expanding the more prominent roles they’ve taken on over the past year to support remote and hybrid work,” said Chrystal Taylor (pictured) Head Geek, SolarWinds.

“As more tech pros embrace the ‘Bring IT On’ mentality, reaching for more responsibility and a leading role in the digital transformations of their businesses—and setting goals to get there—we can certainly expect how the IT organisation is viewed by the business to completely transform in the future.”

Tech pro respondents also agreed a balance between non-technical skills and more traditional technical certifications and experience will play a large role in enabling career advancement, though past surveys found finding time to cultivate those skills is often limited.

Solarwinds says this year’s IT Pro Day survey shows life is an IT classroom, and many of the non-technical skills key to advancement can be gained at home or through hobbies—reducing the barrier to advancement for tech pros seeking higher-level opportunities at work requiring those skills.

“Collaboration (teamwork, listening to others, networking) (66%); innovative or creative problem-solving (48%); and communication (public speaking, written documents) (46%) are the most important non-technical skills needed for advancement,” said Solarwinds.

“These non-technical skill sets will play a large role in enabling tech pros to achieve advanced responsibilities, such as project management and becoming part of the decision-making process, which 34% of tech pro respondents say is their biggest opportunity at work in the next year. Meanwhile, tech pros are also cautious of challenges on the horizon, like cybersecurity threats and burnout, but are confident the continued evolution of IT operations in the new normal—such as new tools and processes—will create positive change.”

“As tech pros gear up for what lies ahead, SolarWinds will be by their side, providing the best tools, advice, and insight to help them tackle everything head on,” Taylor added.

“Whether it’s through our free THWACK community of over 150,000 registered members, our affordable IT operations management solutions, or our Customer Success Center we’ll be on hand to guide tech pros and make their lives easier.”


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