DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION – THESE SKILLS NEED IT EXPERTS

A friend of my son is technology-savvy, he is interested in everything that has to do with machines. He
just graduated from high school and now wants to study, maybe mechanical engineering. He asked me
for advice. I advised him: “I’d rather study something in the IT environment. If you do it smartly, in a few
years you will be one of the most sought-after professional groups in the world. “He is now studying
industrial engineering. The fact that IT specialists are so in demand right now is above all due to the
digital transformation that affects all companies in all sectors of industry. It plays into the hands of the IT
services sector. After all, it is the IT experts, without which this development can not take place at all.

There are currently major changes in IT. Trends such as Internet 4.0, cloud computing, big data or IT
security have a major impact on the business models of future-oriented companies. But this also means
that pure IT expertise is not enough to be one of the sought-after players in the industry, because the
pure service concept of IT specialists is long outdated: IT experts are at the center of new economic
design models settled.

Say goodbye to the technical role

Example cloud expert: First, of course, he must master the hardware and software and understand the
networks. However, this is no longer enough to be of use as an expert in a company. He also has to
understand which products the cloud providers can market and place them in the economic portfolio of
his client. A developer has to say goodbye to his purely technical role.

The same applies to the entire security sector – also one of the largest growth areas within the IT sector.
Knowledge of appropriate operating systems and method know-how is essential. But not enough to act
as an expert in the company. For this, the required security standards of the company must be
understood, arranged and evaluated. For example, good legal knowledge and, above all, knowledge
about the needs of customers and employees are indispensable.

These examples make it clear that successful IT experts have a good economic understanding and in-
depth knowledge of their employees or clients.

Moving Others: Soft Skills

Because it is also and above all a matter of getting the non-IT experts on board and for that they have to
understand them. And that addresses the actual additional qualifications that all IT experts need to
bring along in the future-oriented, complex IT tasks: soft skills. For all IT occupational groups, the
decision makers have to be picked up and moved in order to create the appropriate standards or invest
in the right providers. These include the management, purchasing, if any, but also the employees of the
company.

The digital transformation of companies, across all industries, includes all departments. Digitization is a
holistic process that starts with a digital mindset across the enterprise and ends with leadership skills
that fit the digital age. This means less the technical requirements and processes. But the principles of
cooperation and customer orientation that brings digitization into the enterprise. By the way: For those
who are interested in detail, here is an excellent summary of the various dimensions of digital
transformation.

Overall understanding

Therefore, IT department experts need counseling skills and an overall understanding of the needs of all
areas – empathy. And they need corporate political instinct. In this context, two skills are especially
necessary: ‚Äč‚Äčtolerance and patience. Sometimes I see excellent IT experts rolling their eyes. The reason:
your “customers”, ie executives or colleagues from other departments, they do not understand. But that
should not lead to eye-rolling, after all, the lack of knowledge about IT-specific relationships is the
reason why managers rely on IT experts. Rather, it is important to open up and put your own knowledge
in the corporate context. Not easy.

So let’s summarize: Today’s IT experts, especially in complex and future-oriented business areas, need,
in addition to their IT know-how:

  • a good basic economic understanding
  • a profound understanding of the specific requirements of their field of application
  • empathy
  • Good communication skills
  • political instinct
  • tolerance
  • patience
  • Thus, the stereotype of the digital nerd with high island talent and little social skills has served. If you ask
  • me: Luckily.