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Tech skills gap means adapt or leave your IT staff in the lurch

Constant changes in the IT industry mean certain tech skills are falling by the wayside. In this tweet chat recap, find out which skills you should hone to move up the ranks.

As advancements in technology spur demand for certain IT skills, enterprises are seeking candidates with an updated arsenal of abilities. As such, job candidates, current IT staffers and even CIOs must brush up their skill sets or risk career inertia -- or unemployment.

In SearchCIO's recent #CIOChat recap on tech talent and IT hiring, consultant Shawn Banerji of Russell Reynolds Associates and other tweet jammers discussed how to tackle the tech talent shortage in the face of industry change, as well as how IT can collaborate with the business to develop a sound hiring strategy. Here, participants discuss what IT skills are becoming passé and how job seekers and employees can keep abreast of technology trends.

What tech skills are going out of style?

In a study last year on technology skills that are becoming outdated, IT training company Global Knowledge Training LLC reported that those with only server administrator skills and experience with traditional telephony and mainframe programming languages, such as COBOL and FORTRAN, are dropping on tech companies' hiring-priority lists. Banerji concurred:

SearchCIO Executive Editor Linda Tucci pointed to a recent Silicon Valley practice in response to the ever-growing dearth of tech talent:

Tucci was referring to the acqui-hire, in which a company buys another organization, typically a startup, in order to acquire employees who possess desired tech skills. In a recent breakdown by CB Insights of these acquisitions by sector, 60% of purchased companies operated online, followed by the mobile space at 38%. Traditional software companies made up only 4% of acqui-hires.

What skills will IT staffs need to develop to move up the ranks?

AT&T CIO Thaddeus Arroyo, this year's MIT Sloan CIO Leadership Award winner, says that cultivating expertise and taking on challenges helped get him where he is today. "[I took] positions that at the time, I felt were not really in what would have been my traditional career path … areas and domains that at that point didn't seem as interesting, [but] were the ones that really allowed me to create skills across multiple disciplines," Arroyo told Tucci in a recent interview tracing his career trajectory.

And when it comes to moving up the IT job ladder, Banerji and frequent #CIOChat participant Brian Fanzo agreed that a willingness to learn and adapt is indispensable:

Ultimately, adaptation comes down to how you fit in and collaborate with the rest of your team and organization, Banerji added:

Tucci pointed to another skill vital to CIOs looking to take charge of their careers:

According to Coffey, Allstate's senior vice president of technology and operations, solid verbal communication is an essential CIO skill. "As a leader, 70% or more of your job is about communication -- helping people understand the vision and getting them excited, communicating what needs to get done and coaching them to help it get it done, getting them energized," she told SearchCIO.

What new skills are you adding to your personal IT repertoire, or do you expect from your IT hires? Tell us in the comments section below.

This tweet recap is part of our #CIOChat on IT hiring and the skills gap, hosted by SearchCIO. For more recaps or further information on our next tweet jam, follow @SearchCIO on Twitter.

Next Steps

Check out this Q&A with an IT staffing expert on how to devise a hiring strategy that can withstand the skills crisis. Then, watch our video interview with Daimler Trucks' CIO on why he seeks Einsteins and Edisons to round out his team.

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What IT skills are you looking to develop or hire for?
I find it interesting that companies are willing to seek for updated skills but yet are cutting back on actually training those who have already have good business and technical skills. Don't expect to get what you are not willing to promote.!