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Network Complexity Demands More Practical Curriculum for Aussie IT Pros

SolarWinds, a leading provider of powerful and affordable IT management software, today released survey results revealing that IT graduates need more generalist skill sets and practical experience to cope with accelerating network complexity, pointing to a potential skills gap in the future.

These results are part of a wide-ranging survey* of 118 Australia-based IT professionals, which was conducted in May in an effort to further understand the driving forces behind growing network complexity and to determine the skills IT professionals need to develop in order to stay competitive.

Survey Findings:

  • Only 11 per cent of Australian IT professionals surveyed agreed that that their higher education sufficiently prepared them for their current IT role.
  • More than a third (36 per cent) of Australians surveyed in SolarWinds' global IT Pros Survey agreed that understanding broader business objectives and priorities is the single most important skillset required to tackle today's challenges of network complexity.
  • More than two thirds of Australian IT professionals also said companies needed to invest in staff training to prepare as networks grow more complex.

The research suggests today's IT professionals are increasingly going beyond the server room to drive results across their organisations, with many anticipating a skills gap without sufficient training.

"With IT skills continuing to dominate Australia's business and technology conversations, we need to recognise that simply boosting graduate numbers or outsourcing technical roles won't solve the fundamental challenges faced by our industries," said Sanjay Castelino, VP and Market Leader, SolarWinds. "Technology leaders and educators need to take a more practical, long-term approach to training and learning if they want to prepare their people for the intricacy and interconnectedness of tomorrow's IT ecosystem."

When asked how they would acquire the skills needed to combat network complexity,

  • Almost 60 per cent of respondents said they would obtain additional training, while 45 per cent would focus on increasing their experience organically or "on the job".
  • Less than 7 per cent said they would return to university to seek another degree; and
  • Only one in every two respondents agreed that their higher education had sufficiently prepared them for their current IT role to some extent.

"The IT and higher education sectors need to work together more in order to provide the right balance of theoretical and practical knowledge to effectively manage and capitalise on fast-paced technological change," said Castelino. "It's impossible to accurately predict what factors will most contribute to network complexity in the future, but a combination of basic skills and ongoing education will put the next generation of IT talent in good stead to handle any challenge."

In fact, 25 per cent of IT professionals cited skills in cloud and software-as-a-service as the most important factor for handling network complexity in five years' time, more than the 21 per cent who identified it to be an understanding of their business. Major IT trends like BYOD and compute virtualisation were called out as prime causes of growing network complexity at present.

"To cope with network complexity's inevitable upsurgence, businesses and educators alike need to invest in generalist IT skill sets which can adapt to any new trend or challenge," said Castelino. "Only by fostering these multi-purpose skills, and supplementing them with ongoing training and modular, adaptable tools to match, can Australian businesses position themselves for success in an ever more complex IT world."

Network Management Solutions to Combat Complexity
For IT pros looking for an easy-to-use management foundation designed to help them stay on top of network complexity challenges, SolarWinds delivers powerful network management functionality out of the box with the power of customization to address enterprise scale and the complexity of today's networks at a price any organization can afford.

From network performance to configuration and compliance to traffic analysis and more, IT pros can deploy SolarWinds network management products to build a robust IT management system that fits their evolving needs, including:

  • SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor - network performance management
  • SolarWinds NetFlow Traffic Analyser - Flow-based network traffic monitoring
  • SolarWinds IP Address Manager - IP address management
  • SolarWinds VoIP & Network Quality Manager - VoIP and WAN performance monitoring and troubleshooting
  • SolarWinds User Device Tracker - Switch port monitoring and mapping
  • SolarWinds Network Configuration Manager - Network change and configuration management solution
  • SolarWinds Log & Event Manager - Log collection, analysis and real-time event correlation
  • SolarWinds Firewall Security Manager - Multi-vendor firewall management
  • SolarWinds Engineer's Toolset - A collection of network troubleshooting tools
  • SolarWinds Network Topology Mapper - Automated network diagram generator

The complete survey results can be found on SlideShare.

*The survey was conducted from May 23-28, 2013, resulting in 118 survey responses from IT practitioners, managers and directors in Australia from public- and private-sector small, mid-size and enterprise companies.

Published Thursday, July 18, 2013 6:39 AM by David Marshall
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