IT guys don't know enough, bosses say

A study by CompTIA concludes that businesses and IT managers believe that their IT guys are woefully underskilled. Now, why might that be?

The report's highly optimistic cover. Screenshot: Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Complaining is easy.

When 500 bosses and IT managers were asked what they thought of their IT guys, they seemed to have let their feelings depart swiftly from their hinges.

I am grateful to Wired for having corralled this report before too many IT guys got a hold of it and slapped it over the heads of their bosses. For it declared that 93 percent of respondents believe that their IT guys' know-how contains more holes than the average chunk of Emmental.

The report, commissioned by CompTIA, a nonprofit industry association, made my own laptop quiver with indigestion. For the bosses kvetched a little further. Eighty percent of them, for example, accuse this alleged skills gap of adversely affecting their businesses. The top three areas of their pained dissatisfaction seem to be staff productivity (naturally), customer service, and security.

I know that some of you will be feeling combative by this point, so let me offer you a couple more nails for your cudgel.

Thirty percent of these bosses believe that, in comparison to marketing, operations, and finance, a dearth in IT skills is getting worse. And when they look at all the different aspects of knowledge with which IT guys are supposed to keep up, networks/infrastructure, cybersecurity, and database/information management are declared the biggest areas of concern.

Alas, more than half of these respondents did admit that they had no process for identifying which skills were truly needed. Almost 40 percent of the lower-level bosses blamed the higher-level bosses for not caring about IT.

It seems, too, that the most common practice for improving an IT staff's skills was suggesting that they study online. Some bosses, quite stunningly, may expect something for nothing.

Clearly, more employees are using their own laptops, cloud computing is developing exponentially, and everyone seems to think that most work can be done on a smartphone while eating a soggy roast beef sandwich at an airport.

But how are IT guys expected to keep up with all this? Especially when the only time many bosses acknowledge their presence is when their own personal laptop suddenly can't print.

 

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