Future-proof skills for the IT professional of today (and tomorrow)

Published January 21, 2020

Colleagues talking.

Few areas are as dynamic and unpredictable as IT. IT professionals today need depth and breadth, and personal skills tailored to weather the changes.

Change is constant in IT. In my 20 years’ experience in CIO roles at universities, I’ve seen IT move from central and specialized—think mainframes and FORTRAN—to distributed and dynamic, evolved to provide support and expertise in every aspect of institutional operations.

The complexity and interconnectedness of IT today means that specialized knowledge, while still critical to the field, is no longer enough. Networks, cyber security, personal device administration—today’s IT professional is well-served with general knowledge in all these areas and more, regardless their job title. 

For new and veteran IT professionals alike, this represents a significant challenge. But, as is often the case, that challenge brings opportunity.

Today in IT, the more you know, the more marketable you become. That’s not just true of technical skills, either. So-called “soft skills” like communication, flexibility and interpersonal skills are now as coveted in IT as they are in other fields.

At UB, this kind of liberal arts knowledge is highly valued, and we’re fortunate to have an IT team that reflects those values. I’m continually impressed with our team’s commitment to professional development and adaptability.

Working at UB means we’re also fortunate to rely on an incredibly talented pool of student assistants, many of whom will use their experience working in UBIT to launch their own careers in the field (including, not uncommonly, here at UB). 

The desire of our student assistants to build the right skills for a future career in IT is something we’re cognizant of, and try to cultivate through opportunities like the IT Innovative Technologies Award, which provides support and mentorship while they enhance their technical, leadership and problem-solving skills—diverse skills that are important to any IT organization.

In IT there is always a new challenge to solve, a new opportunity to expand your horizons. If you’re in IT already, I encourage you to lean into these opportunities. If you’re exploring career options, and this sounds appealing to you, I encourage you to consider the field of IT—the work we do happens because of dedicated people like you.

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