A new study from INAP shows nearly half of IT professionals feel those who are new to their roles are “unprepared,” while admitting they don’t refresh their own skillsets often enough.

Around 49 percent don’t think “new talent entering the IT workforce is adequately prepared for the roles and responsibilities of today’s IT environment.” It’s an interesting stance, especially as respondents also say “innovativeness” is the most valuable characteristic an IT pro can have. IT pros are big on remaining innovative, but don’t think those who are fresh out of school or training are prepared for the rigors of the workplace.

Seventy-one percent of those queried for this study say they personally need more training on infrastructure. Specifically, they don’t think they understand modern cloud technology, and “could use more training on all of the different types of server and cloud infrastructure that we use and plan to use in the near future.”

Jeff Atkinson, CIO of INAP, said:

“IT’s traditional function of equipping their organizations with the technology systems and tools they need to thrive has been augmented with a strategic role in driving digital transformation. Given the fast, ever evolving pace of technology and its uses within the enterprise, it’s an enormous job for IT teams to just keep up with best practices for operating, maintaining and securing their software and systems, let alone drive innovation as a true partner to business units.”

This underscores another point made in the study: How many roles does a single IT pro undertake throughout their career? Five percent say their careers have had a singular focus, but most – 53 percent – feel as though they’ve had 2-5 different roles. Some 27 percent report having somewhere between five and ten unique job titles.

INAP points out that, in the fourth quarter of 2017, AWS launched 497 new features for IT pros. Regardless of what AWS launched before or since, that’s a massive dump of tech for any IT pro to absorb, and hints at the issues that many in the industry face on a regular basis. Most are trying their best; 11 percent of respondents say they participate in weekly training sessions, and 37 percent say they refresh their skillset or learn new things monthly.

An additional 27 percent say they participate in annual skills development, and 24 percent say they do it “only when needed.” One percent “never” participate in training or skill development events.

There’s a unique correlation between respondents' continuing education and their confidence in new IT professionals. Those new to the profession may have the fundamentals down, but the education system is notoriously slow to adapt to the latest tech.

Moving forward, Atkinson said, “soft skills like emotional intelligence, innovativeness, business acumen and flexibility have become just as important as technical know-how.” That means more skill development for some IT professionals who want to stay secure in their jobs.