Do you have, or does your data infrastructure environment have a tradecraft skills gap?
Keep in mind that tradecraft is your fundamental skills along with experiences, knowing not just the tools, also the various techniques of what to use when, where, why and how.
A tradecraft gap exists when there is work to be done, people are available to fulfill those tasks, yet they lack the skills and experiences to do what is needed. For example, you have a position opening to support some function in your data infrastructure environment; many people are applying for that spot. Perhaps all of those applicants have tons of certificates, yet they lack the skills experience for the position. In other words, there is no shortage of people and their certificates, yet there is a gap between the workers and work to be done.
Are tradecraft gaps unique to data infrastructures in IT as well as non-IT environments?
The simple answer is no, look around in online as well as old school print want ads to see where there are positions to be filled. The bigger question is what to do about closing the tradecraft skills and experience gap, particular for data infrastructures.
One approach is for open positions to look for candidates with more and different certificates of what they have studied (or memorized) to pass a test. This can be a convenient approach for those who do not yet have experience, yet need the essential tools to get that position or stand out above those without the certifications. In some cases this can show that somebody studied and passed the test, hopefully gaining not only memorized theory and some hands on experience, also some comprehension. Understanding comes into play as part of expanding one’s tradecraft skills by showing how to move beyond test preparations, to applying what learned along with previous experiences.
Does that mean certificates are the clear path to addressing the tradecraft skills gap?
In my opinion and experience, certification is part of the solution along with actual skills, applied and hands on time along with other education. This is where internships, apprentice, and other learning experiences come into play, as well as mentoring. For example, the teacher can teach however also needs to know how to learn. Likewise, the student needs to know how to learn, as well as teach or share their experiences with others.
Is your data infrastructure environment focused on filling positions based on what’s on somebody’s resume, certifications, where they worked or whom they know, as well as what vendors and tools, or also about their tradecraft skills of how to use that knowledge?
What is your organization doing to transfer tradecraft skills knowledge from those with years or decades of experiences as they prepare to move on in life? Likewise, for those not ready to move on or leave your environment, what’s being done to expand those people’s tradecraft, leverage their experiences to learn new tools and techniques, while avoiding making old mistakes with new technologies.
Do you have a program or process to help newer, younger or less experienced data infrastructure professionals learn from those who have been around? That learn should be a two-way, where the teacher is a student, the student becomes a teacher, peers where both expand their respective tradecraft skills.
Here are some closing thoughts and questions to think about to address any IT or data infrastructure skills gap you might have.
If IT and data infrastructure-related tradecraft skills gap continue to expand, who will take care of the technology, tools and services in the future? Sure, artificial intelligence (AI) has been pitched for decades as being able to do what humans can, and consistently are improving. However who will take care of the AI, cloud, software defined and other environments, tools, techniques?
Who will define, compose, and configure the various tools, hardware, software, services, and technologies, not to mention policies, rules, and related items? Who will carry forward lessons learned from the past as well as the present, so that same mistakes are not repeated in the future? How will future generations of IT and data infrastructure professionals gain their tradecraft skills from, as well as transfer their knowledge?
What this all means is take the time to expand your data infrastructure or relevant tradecraft experiences, as well as refresh and share (e.g. transfer) your knowledge to others. Be a student of the IT game, as well as a mentor teacher to keep learning and sharing.
Okay, nuff said, for now.
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