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How to Encourage IT Professional Development for Rising IT Professionals



The demand for skilled information technology (IT) professionals has increased dramatically over the past years. With many industries joining the wave of digital transformation, job openings shot up by 25% in 2022, while salaries have also become more competitive.

There may have been a series of layoffs among major tech companies wanting to cut costs last year, but the outlook for the IT industry this 2023 is still characterized by the need to attract and retain top talent. As companies are tapping into the latest technologies like cloud computing and artificial intelligence, the underlying need for relevant and updated skills is not going to change anytime soon — thus making tech jobs among the most in-demand and highest-paid nationally and globally.

In weighing in on the best practices among employers, however, the focus shouldn’t just be on successful hiring practices. Now more than ever, investing in current IT talent and fostering professional development is crucial for employee growth, company performance, and the organization’s industry reputation.

The importance of professional development

Among the chief reasons you should encourage your IT employees to develop is to advance their knowledge and skill set beyond what they currently do. Based on an article highlighting the importance of professional development in a digital landscape, the market for digital skills and services is growing, with revenue worth $4.5 billion and counting. Tech-oriented careers are also expanding across different sectors and geographic regions.

This means IT employees can explore a variety of career paths in just about any industry that needs and utilizes tech. A professional development program offers your employees a chance to remain relevant and up their value in an ever-evolving industry with emerging technologies like cybersecurity, cloud computing, and big data.

Furthermore, investing in professional development can result in higher retention rates. In light of The Great Resignation in 2021, about 72% of tech workers considered leaving their jobs, as reported in a survey by the hiring platform Workable. What they wanted were more learning and development opportunities from their company. Therefore, organizations should prioritize their staff’s education and enrichment to remain confident, productive, and satisfied with their jobs.

Ways to boost employee development

Regular career conversations

Rather than waiting for the employee to reach out first and thus run the risk of infrequent meetings, leaders and managers can proactively schedule regular career conversations. These conversations can be a way to foster a culture of dialogue and feedback, as well as an opportunity to identify the employee’s current needs and reflect on which kind of engagement programs can facilitate their growth and development. Since most IT roles follow a remote or hybrid working arrangement, leaders can also use this time to connect with them one-on-one and make them feel seen, heard, and supported.

Mentorship programs

Mentorship programs can be a training resource for newbies and provide a sense of community and belonging at work. For long-time employees, on the other hand, it can be a tool to cultivate leadership skills and organizational loyalty. While it’s common to set up the 1:1 mentor-mentee relationship based on hierarchy, leveraging mentorship as a career development tool can also translate to using creative methods like reverse mentoring where junior staff share their knowledge to senior professionals. There’s also the speed mentoring approach, where participants can expand the scope of what they learn about their field as they rotate to a new partner or group in each session.

Courses and certifications

For a more structured and formalized approach to honing existing skills or acquiring new ones, employers can incorporate skill development courses and award certifications upon course completion. In the IT industry, coding boot camps benefit employees by giving them a chance to expand their technical knowledge and skills and get certified in specific areas like HTML, CSS, and Javascript.

Bootcamps are thus viable for professional development as they are a flexible and cost-effective alternative to time-consuming and traditional university education.
This is where Ascend Education comes in, with its services ranging from developing a comprehensive IT curriculum to finding the best match of an instructor for your employees’ learning needs.

With years of on-the-ground knowledge and experience in the IT industry, Ascend Education ensures high-quality content in learning solutions such as video instruction, virtual labs, textbooks, assessments, and instructors’ tools like LMS and slides. This content is designed and managed by subject matter experts qualified for teaching, training, and certification.

Content intended only for the use of written by Megan Kelly

Credit: Pexels)

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