Home > IT Trends Report Shows Experience Equals Confidence When Managing Complex IT Environments

IT Trends Report Shows Experience Equals Confidence When Managing Complex IT Environments

IT Trends Report blog post image
Each year, SolarWinds publishes the IT Trends report, a collection of responses to survey questions meant to gain insight into the world of IT. I enjoy the IT Trends report for a variety of reasons, but my favorite reason is because I get to examine the raw data and draw conclusions!   While reviewing the data and findings this year, I noted the demographic data collected included the number of years of IT experience for the survey respondents. I want to break down the IT Trends raw data by career length and see if there is an interesting story to tell. 

Categorization of Career Length 

The IT Trends Report summarizes responses by company size: small (less than 250 employees), midsize (250-999 employees), and enterprise (1,000 or more employees). The survey also asked the following question for demographic purposes:   About how long have you worked as a technology professional?  With responses available as follows: 0-1 years, 2-4, 5-9, 10-14, 15-19, and 20+. Let’s look at the response distribution by career length (Figure 1).  Figure 1 blog image

Figure 1. Percentage of responses by career years. 

The percentage of 20+ respondents is roughly 37.5% of the total overall. Combining the categories for 10-14 and 15-19, they comprise roughly 39% of the total. This leaves about 23% for the remaining categories, giving us a decent breakdown of career levels as follows:   

0-1, 2-4, and 5-9 years --> Junior 

10-14 and 15-19 years --> Senior 

20+ --> Executive 

Don’t get hung up on names here; the goal is to look at the findings across groups and see if the data has a story to tell. Any resemblance to actual job titles is coincidental. 

Complexity and Confidence 

One key finding from the IT Trends report is stated as follows:   IT management is growing more complex, and IT pros lack confidence in how to manage.  This conclusion is derived from these two survey questions:  How has the acceleration of hybrid IT affected complexity at your organization?  How confident are you in your organization’s ability to manage complexity?  Let’s tackle those questions and responses one at a time, beginning with the question about complexity. The original IT Trends report revealed that 29% of respondents stated IT management complexity has increased. Let’s see the 29% broken down by career levels (Figure 2).  Figure 2 blog image

Figure 2. Complexity by career level. 

All three career levels follow a similar shape, and it is clear the Executive and Senior roles compose most of the responses. This makes sense, as those two groups make up about 76% of the total number of responses. Next, let’s compare the percentage of responses for each career level and compare it to the overall totals (Figure 3).   Figure 3 blog image

Figure 3. Relative percentages by career level. 

Here we find that 33% of Executives replied with ‘Increase,’ which is higher than the 29% overall number of responses. In other words, there appears to be a trend where the more years of experience you have in IT, the more likely you perceive your environment as more complex.  Next, we do this again, but for the confidence in the ability to manage complexity (Figure 4).  Figure 4 blog image

Figure 4. Confidence by career level. 

Again, similar shapes, and a significant number more for the two largest groups, with the Executive role being more confident. And again, let’s look at the percentage by career level compared to the overall total (Figure 5).  Figure 5 blog image

Figure 5. Relative percentages by career level. 

And another spike here for Executive, where they have a higher percentage (45%) of respondents saying ‘Confident’ when compared to the overall rate (41%).  It’s almost as if the more experience you have in IT, the more likely you are to recognize the overall complexity of your environment and have confidence in your ability to manage such complexity. 


The IT Trends report also states this as a key finding:   There is a planned lack of investment despite almost half of respondents (44%) saying the best solution to manage increased complexity is to adopt IT management tools.  With IT Pro Day approaching, it seems fitting to use the exercise above to raise awareness for some talking points regarding careers and rewarding IT pros for the hard work they do every day.   Your most experienced employees know your business’s challenges and how best to handle them. The above data should help make this clear. The more years you have in IT, the more you know what needs to be done and how.   Employers need to recognize the experience of current employees has value. As we continue to see with the Great Resignation, employers are willing to pay top dollar to recruit new employees with less experience than existing employees. Stop the madness! Employers should start rewarding existing employees by treating them as if they were new hires! And I don’t mean giving them a box of Choco Tacos once a month.  When your most experienced employees say they need better tools, you should listen. Stop trying to manage your environment with a handful of PowerShell scripts you find online. When your most senior IT professionals ask for more or better tools, take the time to listen.  Lastly, I want to remind everyone to check out the winners of the IT Pro Day 2022 Awards on September 20, 2022. It’s no Choco Taco, but a little recognition can go a long way for the unsung heroes of IT.  
Avatar photo
Thomas LaRock
Thomas LaRock is a Head Geek™ at SolarWinds and a Microsoft® Certified Master, Microsoft Data Platform MVP, VMware® vExpert, and former Microsoft Certified Trainer. He has over…
Read more