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Cybersecurity skills surpass cloud skills as this year’s training priority, if professionals can find the time

Cybersecurity concept -- hand points at a lock symbol.

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A new survey shows that cybersecurity is the hot skill area being sought across enterprises in today’s environment. That’s where the opportunities are. Let’s face it, though — learning and gaining proficiency in cybersecurity requires hours, days, and months of study and hands-on experimentation. There are entire college majors focusing on cybersecurity. It would benefit companies greatly to allow for more development of cybersecurity skills, but if the survey is correct, they’re not making room in their workdays for skills training. 

This is frustrating to talented tech professionals who want to keep their skills up to date or explore new areas. That’s the word from a survey of more than 700 tech professionals conducted by Pluralsight, which finds that 48% of respondents have considered changing jobs because they are not given sufficient resources to develop tech skills.

 A majority, 75%, agree that their organization’s willingness to dedicate resources to developing their tech skills affects their plans to stay with the organization.

The study finds that cybersecurity is the area with the largest skills gaps among respondents, replacing cloud computing as the top-ranking area of focus for individuals and organizations in 2022. 43% of respondents ranked cybersecurity as their top skill concern, while 39% of respondents ranked cloud computing as their top skill concern. In 2021, 39% of respondents ranked both cybersecurity and cloud computing as their top skills gaps.


Photo: Joe McKendrick

Similarly, 44% of respondents in the 2022 study listed cybersecurity as the skills gap that poses the greatest threat to their organization. Beyond cybersecurity and cloud computing, data storage (36%) and network infrastructure (28%) are some of the top skills gaps in 2022. 

Here is where tech professionals would like to ramp up their skills: 

  • Cybersecurity: 43%
  • Cloud computing: 39%
  • Data storage: 36%
  • Network infrastructure: 28%
  • Telecommunication: 23%
  • Social networking tech: 25%
  • Automation of business process: 24%
  • Business continuity planning: 18% 

Upgrading skills for technology professionals — especially when it comes to attaining certifications or pursuing knowledge of new platforms, databases, and languages — is not a trivial task. Learning often requires investments of countless hours or even months of learning and hands-on exercises. In a full-time job bursting with activity and firefighting, finding slots of time to develop skills may be an impossible dream. Some employers help out by allowing for an upskilling while on the clock, but not enough. Only 36% of all organizations are allocating dedicated work time for learning. What’s really surprising is only 32% of tech companies allow for learning during working hours. 

Here are the issues with skills upgrades:

  • Too busy (other demands prevent learning): 61%
  • Budget constraints and cost: 33%
  • Distracting work environment: 27%
  • Inability to access necessary tools and training: 19%
  • Employer emphasizes hiring rather than upskilling existing talent: 18% 

Here’s where tech professionals get help with their online training:

  • Online tech skill development platform: 61%
  • Virtual instructor-led training: 43%
  • Books, manuals and training guides: 37%
  • In-person instructor-led training: 37%
  • Dedicated work time for learning: 37%
  • Learning management system: 37%
  • Tuition reimbursement: 28%
  • Bootcamps: 18%
  • Hackathons: 12%
  • User-generated content: 11% 

The study also found that 52% of respondents consider leaving their job every month. Additionally, 40% of respondents say they are moving on from their current job due to lack of career growth opportunities. More than one-third (37%) of respondents said that professional growth and learning are the top reasons to consider a new job, while 33% of workers say they are moving on from their current job due to lack of upskilling opportunities.

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