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Bring IT On in the Year of the Ox

IT Pro Day is here, and it feels like the new year in IT! It’s a time to reflect on lessons from the past year and celebrate your achievements while setting goals for the season ahead. The theme for this year, Bring IT On, feels especially appropriate as we’ve been in the Year of the Ox. According to the Chinese zodiac, the ox is known as the “good helper” symbolizing strength, diligence, and persistence. I can’t think of a better sign that embodies IT pros.

Symbols of Strength

I see the ox’s strength personified in IT pros daily. They are adaptable, capable of creatively problem-solving on their feet, driven to educate themselves to empower others, and so much more! Tech pros innately are good helpers, as they strive to support their teams and people through technology. In 2020, IT pros helped us stay afloat as we entered a new era of working. Their quick thinking enabled organizations to rapidly pivot to support fully remote operations. In 2021 we’ve applied the lessons we learned to navigate our evolving environment more proactively. Our IT pros’ resilience and grit have helped many teams embrace a digital-first mindset, ensuring greater productivity, collaboration, and heightened communication, all while maintaining organizations’ culture and user-centric values. As a precursor to IT Pro Day, we invited IT pros to participate in SolarWinds annual IT Pro Day THWACK survey, collecting a pulse on the hurdles, successes, and opportunities from 2021 and what lies ahead. With participants from around the globe, we got a peek into the minds of IT pros as they shared how their day-to-day experiences and skills outside the technical realm can help them excel professionally. Just as the ox’s strength can be devised into mental and physical, tech pros’ strengths can be separated between technical and essential skills. From the survey, respondents feel there is a balance to strike between both hard and soft skills to advance their careers in technology. While more than half (56%) of the tech pro respondents indicated having the opportunity to broaden their education and technical skills with certifications, there was a broad range of non-technical skills IT pros honed this past year they believe will also help them to achieve their professional aspirations. Some of the most important skills participants developed outside the office but found were applicable to their professional settings included collaboration (teamwork, networking, listening (66%)), creative problem-solving (48%), and communication (such as verbal and written communication (46%)). Tech pros’ classrooms often mesh lessons and experiences from the workplace and our daily lives. Essential skills participants found most useful for work ranged from time management (69%), verbal and nonverbal communication (67%), and interpersonal skills (66%). Manifesting these skills into strengths, IT pros continue to pave the way for organizations’ success along with their continued professional growth.

Raise a Glass

Respondents certainly agree there are still challenges ahead, be it cyberthreats (53%) or burnout (48%). To accommodate our changing landscape, it’s evident tech pros’ roles and responsibilities have diversified. Nearly 68% tech pro respondents reported IT operations would alter by implementing new technologies and internal processes to address security, risk, and compliance. Despite those identified obstacles 81% of those surveyed also feel they have many opportunities to advance their careers. Generally, the third Tuesday in September doesn’t boast fireworks and it doesn’t have a tune like “Auld Lang Syne” (though it should), but IT Pro Day is our chance to commemorate tech pros everywhere! *Dramatically clears throat and taps fork on champagne glass* A toast: While 2021 held its fair share of surprises, I am humbled by tech pros’ level heads and determination, the humor and memories that come with problem-solving, and your perseverance to do your best to ensure others’ success. I'm eager to see what lies before us, and how this community will intertwine both hard and soft skills to better others and their careers. Cheers to all “good helpers” – our IT PROS!
Liz Beavers
Like many IT professionals, Liz’s entry into the tech industry was unconventional. With plans to pursue a career in public relations, Liz’s career quickly took…
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