How Can We Train IT Pros for the Third Platform

by Lisa Fasold | Apr 11, 2012

With a jam-packed room of CEOs from IT training companies during Colloquium today in Chicago, CompTIA discussed how as a group we can solve the IT skills gap quandary.  Speaker Cushing Anderson, VP of worldwide project-based services research, IDC, also broadened the discussion to how trainers can best equip their students and clients to prepare them for the 3rd platform now coming of age in the IT industry.

As CompTIA Todd Thibodeaux explained to the training audience, Colloquium is really a conference to bring the association and the trainers together so that we can learn from each other and grow the industry and the IT workforce.

As Thibodeaux went on, while the economy has slowed down, the 2008 economic downturn masked one of the biggest times of creativity in our industry with the advent of managed services, cloud computing, healthcare IT, connected networks and connected applications.  During that timeframe, individuals have become their own IT managers, as the industry struggles to answer the question, “If your personal phone is your primary computing device, who is in charge of making it work?”

The pool of students going into IT careers is shrinking.  Teen interest levels in the IT industry is lower than before the IT bust.  At Colloquium, we will tackle, “How can we turn that trend around?”

CompTIA A+ certified IT pros make $5k more per year in their first job than people graduating from college with a social science degree.  And, newly certified IT pros are much more likely to find their first job at a faster rate than students graduating with a social science degree. Yet that higher salary and faster job acquisition still aren’t motivating students into IT training.

Thibodeaux also implored the attendees to show kids and parents how non-math/science students can still consider an IT career. 

As Anderson broadened the discussion, he addressed how the IT industry is moving to the 3rd platform era.  The 1st platform focused on mainframes.  The 2nd platform involved PCs, the Internet and client/server systems.  The 3rd platform revolves around mobile devices and apps – mobility, analytics, social networking, cloud and mobile apps – pushing technology to apply to a specific business or consumer problem.

Anderson said that more smart mobile devices than PCs shipped in 2012.  There were 26.8 billion mobile app downloads in 2011.  By 2016, there will be 137 billion.

As new global players emerge in the 3rd platform, China also became a larger tech market than Japan this year.  China is now second in the world (U.S. is the largest market).

In 2012, 80 percent of tech spending will be on 2nd platform products and services (20 percent will be on the 3rd platform). But spending on the 3rd platform will grow by 15 percent by 2020 versus 2.5 percent for the 2nd platform.  The 2nd platform will remain flat – it’s keeping the lights on in the CIO world – but we also must embrace the 3rd platform where the larger tech changes will come, explained Anderson.

In 2012, there are five large providers for public cloud offerings – this will grow to 40 by 2020. Who will be the third platform providers?

  1. Second platform incumbent leaders (e.g. Oracle, SAP, HP)
  2. Emerging market local heroes (e.g. Infosys, Alibabe)
  3. (Re)born on the 3rd platform upstarts (e.g. Google, Amazon)
  4. Industry-centric “business-as-a-service” (e.g. MetaScale, Panoptix, OptumInsight)

Anderson urged the training audience to help their customers align training behind business objectives.  Regardless of IT focus, IT is a fight for relevance in the 3rd platform. He said, “Your client’s innovation leveraging the 3rd platform innovation requires training which supports:

  • Urgency: new training modalities and techniques to support knowledge now,
  • Competencies: scale, community and context,
  • Competition: changing uses and adoption models of IT.”
To close the IT skills gap within the 3rd platform era, we must prove that a trained person is better than an untrained person or untrained application – an application will work better with a trained person helping it.

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