Training Key to Federal IT Reform


Government IT workers say training would boost their confidence in making better IT decisions.

As Congress moves forward on legislation to revamp how federal agencies buy and manage IT, the majority of federal IT professionals are pointing to one area that could help them make better, more-informed decisions around new IT: training.

A new version of the Federal IT Acquisition and Reform Act, which moved to the full Senate after winning committee approval Wednesday, would make new investments in training and development for IT acquisition personnel.

That’s good news, as a new survey by SolarWinds of 148 public sector IT professionals shows the majority of respondents (52 percent) believe better training would help them be more confident in helping their agency make informed, strategic decisions regarding emerging technologies.

That training would help fill holes in some areas where confidence is lacking among IT pros, the survey found. Most (66 percent) said they were only somewhat confident they could help their agencies make decisions on new tech, while 4 percent said they were not confident at all. Most (55 percent) are only occasionally called upon by their agencies to make those strategic decisions, the survey found.

But while confidence is lacking in making strategic IT decisions, agencies are still making new IT investments. Among the greatest investments made by agencies in the past five years were computer virtualization (25 percent), mobility (19 percent), BYOx (14.5 percent), cloud computing (12 percent) compliance (9 percent) and data analytics (8 percent).

Those investments have somewhat or greatly affected responsibilities in federal IT departments, according to 94 percent of respondents. Among the most disruptive technologies are BYOx (25 percent), mobility (18 percent), cloud (14 percent), virtualization (13 percent) and compliance (13 percent), the study found.

Half of IT professionals flagged information security as the skill that will be most in demand in the next three to five years, followed by cloud or software-as-a-service (46 percent), virtualization (45 percent), mobile applications/device management (33 percent), network engineering (30 percent) and business analytics (30 percent).

What are your thoughts on the study? Would a training boost make you more confident in making IT business decisions for your agency? 

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