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Upskilling 2021, Trend 5

by Shelley Osborne, Author of The Upskilling Imperative

Farewell silos, hello hybrid tech roles

In the spirit of agile project management, many technical teams are moving away from single domain expertise. Rather, hybrid roles are becoming the norm as leaders encourage employees to build expertise in more than one subject directly related to their job function.

“With the adoption of agile and DevOps plus the continued budgetary pressures of doing more with less within IT, tech professionals can no longer be one-dimensional,” says Doug Redfield, Senior Director of Architecture and Governance at BMC Software. “They must become experts at more than one discipline to be effective.”

QA testers and developers, if not already functioning in hybrid roles, are working closely together to expedite project completions. Likewise, IT specialists are mastering cloud computing platforms and infrastructure, moving beyond help center or security specializations.

DevOps skills

Skills and techniques related to software testing and the entire software development lifecycle grew by 370% in 2020.

The topics in this area are expansive and can vary from company to company. However, as we consider the trend of hybrid roles, anyone in software development might see interest in these skills grow over the next year.

Cloud computing skills

As digital transformation is realized across organizations, cloud computing tools are a vital skill for developers and IT specialists alike. The leaders in the space — Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud — offer certifications that validate employee knowledge levels and ensure they're using platform features to their full potential.

What does this mean for your organization?

Your technical employees certainly aren't expected to become masters of all. There may always be some need for hyper-specialized roles. But in most cases, anyone who touches software development should expect their career path to reflect the principle of “learning in the flow of life,” as Deloitte says.

“The more skills a team member has, the better they can understand more parts of the product,” says Evan Kimbrell. “The more parts they understand, the better and more insightful their decision-making becomes. Silo-ing your engineers in one department is not the best way to utilize an organization's human capital.”

As companies embraced agile practices through hybrid roles, demand for DevOps and cloud computing skills rose in 2020. More specifically, consumption of Google Cloud courses on the Udemy for Business platform increased by 1,189% in the Manufacturing industry. And continuous integration, a DevOps topic, grew by 693% in the Retail industry, reflecting an eagerness to get product updates to customers faster.

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