Closing the gap with machine learning skills
September 2, 2022
The IT talent shortage doesn't show signs of slowing down. A recent poll found that nearly half of employers struggle to find suitable candidates to fill tech roles. But this scenario is nothing new, rather, it's an ongoing issue that was exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic fast-forwarded digital skills adoption by at least five years, with most companies shifting toward tech in terms of required skills.
Organizations are offering signing bonuses, cash incentives, unlimited paid time off, and other perks to attract and retain IT talent. All these factors combined put the most talented candidates in the driver's seat. Yet the IT talent crunch is driven by a shortage of skills, not people. Let's review three decisive steps to close the gap.
Leverage machine learning skills
Machine learning is focused on machines independently learning from data without explicit programming. Instead, computers use massive data sets and apply algorithms to train on and make predictions. Demand for machine learning skills is exploding as companies find ways to adopt artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning solutions.
To succeed, you must understand key aspects of computer science, programming, software development, mathematics, statistics, data science, deep learning, and problem-solving. In addition, a master's degree is essential. Fortunately, programs like Virginia Tech's Online Master of Information Technology make it easy to earn a degree online at your own pace. That way, if you're a business professional who wants to enhance your machine learning skills, it doesn't have to be at the expense of your job.
Increase collaboration between business and technology
Digital transformation is a key strategic initiative that took on heightened importance during the pandemic. Yet, according to a PwC study, these projects often stall due to a disconnect between business and IT decision-makers. In the report, 35 percent of executives surveyed say a lack of collaboration between business and IT is an obstacle to achieving expected results from their digital technology initiatives.
That's why cooperation between these groups is so crucial. Companies can address this via a top-down process that identifies disconnects and encourages teamwork. By fostering transparency and ongoing dialogue, businesses will replace organizational silos with a unified vision.
Retrain non-STEM workers
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects there will be over 800,000 new openings for STEM jobs over the next 10 years. Yet, with only a portion of those expected to be filled, companies need to get creative to find top talent. Upskilling non-STEM workers is one way to address the gap. Not only will companies benefit from filling critical positions, but upskilling non-STEM talent also results in higher employee engagement and lower turnover. STEM training also opens doors to various tech roles, including information security analyst, software developer, and data scientist, to name a few.
As organizations struggle to find and retain IT talent, machine learning skills can help close the gap. Effective training, collaboration, and upskilling will benefit employees and employers while assisting businesses in developing a resilient and high-performing workforce. Learn more about taking steps toward furthering your education with Virginia Tech's Master of Information Technology online program.