Do You Have a Talent Gap?

I have seen articles over the years that talk about a talent gap in companies, similar to this one. For a long time early in my career, it seemed anyone that went through a boot camp could get a job, and we had lots of unqualified people earning lots of money. I know I’ve run into my share of paper-CNE’s, paper-MCSE’s, and more in my career that took advantage of that talent gap. Over time it seemed that many companies stopped relying on certifications in hiring, but this didn’t seem to help us find more qualified workers. We either were short of staff or still had plenty of people that couldn’t do the work that well.

During the last year, I have seen lots of articles about companies that are struggling to find workers at all levels, even though the pandemic has broadened the search space. Companies learned to work remotely and many started to hire people in different cities. I know a lot of people that changed jobs in the last year. Many landing a remote position at a company they would rarely if ever, drive to visit. I still hope the pandemic repercussions will include hiring more people in different locations, though that may not be the case for all organizations. Many managers seem to assume they will bring everyone back into an office at some point.

However, the talent gap is real, and it’s existed for years. There has been a concern for many years from managers about their staff having the proper skills for the future. I hear constantly from customers that they don’t have enough trained people that understand some of the modern tools available. This is especially true for those technologies that are DevOps related. This includes version control, which I think is a basic skill. There are plenty of people that don’t understand the basics of writing code and committing it in Git.

I do think some talent gap of this is the result of technology changing so fast, with new options and products to learn. Many of us feel we can’t ever keep up. I know I do, though I think that’s both true and not something to worry about. If you don’t use tools at work, you might think there’s no point in learning about them. If you are excited about technology, you can still be intimidated by all the choices out there. Do you look at Jenkins or Azure DevOps? We email scripts around, so is there a point to git? I even feel that way with Redgate products. They update every week or two and I’m always behind in trying to learn about them and decide if I need to worry about a specific feature.

I think the talent gap is real, but I also think that learning to be comfortable with being a little uncomfortable is important. It’s unlikely you will be an expert with a tool anytime soon, so learn to be productive and effective. Maybe, more importantly, learn to learn. Spend time going through a tutorial or tackling a walk-through and get some comfort with technology. If you do need to learn more, then you can ask for resources.

The talent gap is real for many of us, and certainly for many organizations. That’s not likely to change, so learning to adapt to the situation is probably best for all of us.

Steve Jones

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