Navigating Digital Transformation While Reskilling Workforces

Hailey Mai
KBE blog post 022 - Navigating Digital Transformation While Reskilling Workforces

Digital transformation has become a top priority for enterprises looking to keep pace with changing technology and customer demands. However, transforming legacy systems and processes requires new skills that many companies don't have in-house. This skills gap is driving enterprises to look for ways to reskill and upskill their existing workforces to fill critical roles. 

In this webinar hosted by GlobalData, experts from Red Hat, Cisco, and GlobalData explore how enterprises are approaching reskilling and training to enable digital transformation strategies.


The Skills Gap Driving Reskilling Efforts 

Charlotte Dunlap, Research Director at GlobalData, explains that she first noticed the skills gap a few years ago when operations teams struggled to migrate advanced applications to distributed environments. The rise of DevOps exposed the need for new roles and skills across the application lifecycle. Frontend, backend, DevOps, and security skills were all required to build, deploy, and manage modern distributed applications. 

Meanwhile, Amy Larsen DeCarlo, Principal Analyst at GlobalData, noticed skills shortages emerging around cloud and security. As organizations adopted more distributed, virtualized environments, security expertise didn’t keep pace. In fact, the International Information System Security Certification Consortium (ISC)2 projects the global cybersecurity workforce needs to expand by 75% to meet future demands. In its 2022 Cybersecurity Workforce Study, it stated the field needs 2.4 million more cybersecurity professionals globally beyond the current workforce of 4.7 million.

With massive layoffs and economic uncertainty, organizations are looking inward to reskill existing employees to fill open roles. According to GlobalData's jobs analytics database, US job vacancies went from under 50,000 in 2020 to an expected 130,002 in 2021 and 138,022 in 2022.


Top In-Demand Skills Driving Training Efforts

According to GlobalData’s analysis of company filings and hiring trends, the top skills driving training efforts include: 

  • Application lifecycle management 
  • Application platforms and containers 
  • DevOps 
  • Kubernetes 
  • Microservices 
  • Cloud security 
  • Automation including robotic process automation (RPA) 
  • Low code/no code development 
  • Observability 

An analysis of open job postings shows the majority are in DevOps, Kubernetes, microservices, cloud security, low-code automation, and observability. GlobalData’s research also reveals AI, machine learning, data analytics, and data management are frequently mentioned in relation to training needs.


How Vendors Are Enabling Reskilling 

By providing interactive, hands-on resources, technology vendors like Red Hat and Cisco enable enterprises to rapidly reskill teams into highly sought-after cloud, DevOps, security, and data analytics roles needed to support transformation efforts.

Gordon Tillmore, Product Marketing Director at Red Hat, discusses how the skills gap led them to launch Kube By Example (KBE), a free Kubernetes and Cloud Native learning community supported by Red Hat. KBE addresses skill gaps across development, DevOps, security, site reliability engineering, and more with 19 different training paths that range from beginner to advanced level. The training focuses on an "absorb by doing" approach with hands-on labs and projects so learners can immediately apply skills. Red Hat customers like Ford are even contributing training content based on their own experiences. 

Ray Stephenson, Head of Developer Relations at Cisco, explains how their Developer Relations program is reskilling network engineers through guided learning, labs, and sandboxes. Many network engineers need to add automation, programming, and other software development skills to manage the scale and complexity of modern networks. Ray shares an example where automating network provisioning reduced the time to set up a new retail store location from 6 hours manually to just 7 minutes. Developer Relations creates tailored learning journeys for audiences ranging from complete beginners to experts looking to expand specific skills like automation.

Meanwhile, GlobalData offers valuable insights into the most in-demand IT skills that enterprises need to focus their reskilling efforts on. Through comprehensive analysis of key data sources, GlobalData identifies current and emerging skill gaps to provide data-driven guidance to enterprises on where they need to focus reskilling initiatives for maximum impact. Equipped with these strategic insights, enterprises can shape comprehensive reskilling programs that tightly align to actual skills gaps.


How Enterprises Are Evolving Training 

According to Gordon from Red Hat, enterprise training programs are becoming more flexible and people-centric. Rather than only hiring new talent for skills like AI/ML, companies are looking inward. They’re assessing how existing employees can be upskilled or reskilled to take on new roles. 

Companies are realizing they can retain more of their culture and experience by investing in reskilling internal teams. With budget constraints and a tight job market, indefinitely hiring new people for every new skill that emerges is simply not sustainable. Training programs are shifting their focus to unlocking the potential of what already exists within workforces. Courses are being designed to meet learners where they are currently at in their skills and knowledge, and progress them to proficiency in new technologies through hands-on, experiential learning. Lectures and theory are taking a back seat to actively applying concepts through real-world projects and scenarios.

Enterprises are also becoming much more flexible in how they identify transferable skills within their workforces. Employees in non-technical roles may possess analytical strengths, communication abilities, and other talents that can translate well into more technical specialties with the proper training approach tailored to their aptitudes. 

The World Economic Forum projects that 50% of the global workforce will require reskilling as technology adoption accelerates. Admittedly, some jobs will be replaced by automation but wholly new roles will emerge at the intersection of people and cutting-edge technologies like AI. Enterprises that embrace comprehensive reskilling programs today will ensure they have the adaptable talent needed to compete and innovate in the future.


The Role of AI in Reskilling 

When asked about how AI like ChatGPT will impact reskilling, Ray from Cisco believes it will accelerate learning. Generative AI can provide code examples and templates that learners can then try out and customize. This application of AI enables faster skill building compared to learning programming from scratch.

Gordon from Red Hat notes that AI assistants like ChatGPT are the next evolution of learning tools like textbooks, online training, and Stack Overflow. However, he cautions that generative AI is only one piece of the puzzle. Humans still need to define problems, apply reasoning, and assemble solutions. AI-generated code assists with rote coding tasks but isn’t a substitute for human coders' problem-solving abilities.


Key Takeaways 

  • Digital transformation is driving demand for new technical skills that enterprises need to develop internally through reskilling and upskilling. 
  • Operations, security, cloud, and automation skills are particularly scarce across industries. 
  • Training vendors provide flexible learning paths, sandboxes, and community forums to help technologists learn in-demand skills. 
  • Enterprises are evolving training strategies to focus more on reskilling current employees over hiring. 
  • Generative AI can accelerate learning but humans are still needed to frame problems and assemble solutions.

Investing in workforce training and skills development is crucial for enterprises undergoing digital transformation. With the right strategies and tools, companies can reskill employees into critical roles needed to support new technologies and processes. But technology alone is not enough - enterprises need to take a people-centric approach to reskilling focused on unlocking the potential of current employees. This human-centered training, enabled by resources from leading technology vendors, will fuel the next phase of digital transformation.

Full video at: GlobalData - Reskilling IT Workers Into a Digital Age


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