Under 2%. That’s the estimated unemployment rate for technology professionals, and there are few signs that demand is letting up. That’s great news for IT pros as hiring cycles speed up and employers seek more creative ways to attract and retain talent. Here are some tips to upskill and upsell to take advantage of market dynamics.
First the Facts
IT employment is riding an unparalleled boom. It’s expected to grow by 13 percent in the next seven years according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and Spiceworks reports that close to a third of employers plan to grow their IT departments. If you’re fielding multiple calls and LinkedIn connect requests every week, you’re not alone.
The market is moving quickly these days. The candidates who have an edge with our clients are those who have put in the extra effort to take on additional responsibility or dive into new tech areas.
Why it Matters
The timing is perfect to consider a career shift. Why not invest in your professional development to take advantage of the labor gap? You have nothing to lose and everything to gain—such as a better title, better compensation or benefits, and a better skill map for the future. Here are three tactical examples of the path this process might take.
1) Invest in Upskilling
Taking initiative to boost your tech profile or get certified in a new skill typically pays off quickly. For example, Intelliswift clients place a premium on AWS and GCP certified professionals. An investment of $2,000 and two-to-three months could be worth ten times your investment, with certified pros usually garnering a $20,000 salary advantage.
Similarly, UI developers who haven’t already jumped on the React bandwagon should take note. There’s a reason React is taking over front-end development. With a relatively small API to learn, React uses reusable components to streamline the building of user interfaces.
2) Seek out Training Opportunities
Formal training programs are plentiful and inexpensive, and informal routes may be hiding in plain sight as well. At Intelliswift, we offer an online training academy for candidates.
The training market is extensive, so be sure to get bona fide, direct contact references from candidates who have completed the program, and if possible, those who started but did not finish. Picking a format that allows some flexibility against your work schedule will help ensure you see it through.
Training as a Corporate Benefit
We’re also noticing companies offering training stipends or courses as an incentive, both for their full-time and contract workforce. For example, at Intelliswift we offer specialized training courses, industry certifications like GCP, Salesforce, Java, AWS, CCWP, PMP/PMI and more. A recent Forbes article explains why companies are doing this: “When upskilling becomes ingrained in a company’s culture, it naturally attracts job seekers who value learning opportunities. In addition, brand ambassadors within the company are more likely to refer friends and colleagues to open positions when they know the company will invest in their future.”
When considering an assignment, ask the employer if they provide a training allowance, or if mentoring programs are available to disseminate hard and soft skills throughout the organization.
3) You Don’t Get If You Don’t Ask
Once you’re on the path to a more robust skill set, prepare your strategy to translate your efforts into a higher pay rate. One tactic is to ask for a temporary assignment or trial run in a new position, then open negotiations for fair market rate once you’ve proven yourself.
Remember that you’re responsible for your own career development plan – not your company or your recruiter. The IT industry has earned a reputation for not always promoting from within; the reality is that sometimes you must change jobs to move to the next level. If a self-directed deadline to apply your new skills comes and goes, it might be time to polish off your resume. If you find yourself in that situation, our Intelliswift recruiters would love to help you make a successful transition!