Upskilling Report 2022- our predictions and actual results

At the start of 2022 and ahead of the DevOps Institute's 2022 Upskilling Report, we made some predictions for the DevOps jobs market, upskilling, and how both topics link with developer experience (DevX). The report is out (and we're sponsoring it!) and the answers are in - let's see how aligned they were!

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The 2021 fact: 80% of organizations are still struggling with DevOps adoption and that number hasn’t changed in 4 years.

Our opinion: This year will perhaps be the turning point for a lot of businesses. The developer experience topic is on the rise and it’s going to be one of the main things companies should focus on in 2022. Driven by the need to hire and retain skilled people, the experience you give your teams will become a key factor in building high-performance DevOps teams.

What the 2022 report says: As part of the report, Forrester suggests that only 21% of companies believe they’ve completed their digital transformation, which lines up pretty well with our estimation that 80% are still struggling or at least are in the process of transforming.

The report also draws our attention to an interesting distinction that it's important to make - the difference between digital transformation and IT transformation. True digital transformation transforms the whole business, and not just the IT team, and it could well be precisely this point where many businesses are struggling. 

The 2021 fact: 49% of teams prefer to hire DevOps professionals internally.

Our opinion: Previous years saw companies struggling with hiring DevOps professionals, due to the specific skill set DevOps requires and the inability to even define the DevOps need in an organization. That’s why more companies will focus on upskilling their existing teams and hiring internally. 

What the 2022 report says: Oh no! The 2022 report couldn't disagree more! Well, even though it agrees that upskilling is of major importance, still isn't always a priority for the companies that need it most. In fact, there are a variety of reasons why upskilling just isn't happening at the rate it needs to, among them upskilling not being a top priority for leadership (20%) and a company emphasis on hiring instead of upskilling (19%). Other respondents cited a lack of time and a lack of upskilling opportunities.

The 2021 fact: 70% of IT professionals believe building a learning culture was one of the top DevOps ways of working.

What the 2022 report says: The writers of the report (the DevOps Institute) couldn't be clearer, which is why it's strange that it contrasts with the results of the report so much. Loud and proud, the report says:

"Upskilling is a professional and organizational imperative. Continuous
learning must be foundational for leaders and individuals and requires
a mind-shift across leaders and individuals."

...and yet Insufficient Skills or Resources are respondents' number 1 problem. It seems pretty simple - continuous learning is important and businesses are lacking skills. Upskilling would tick both boxes - so why is upskilling not a priority for more people?

The 2021 fact: Automation is the number 1 priority in the upskilling agenda.

Our opinion: Related to automation and digitalization - the use of a dedicated internal developer platform will become more commonplace as organizations bring legacy systems together to form hybrid cloud platforms for the DevOps teams to use. A Platform Engineering team should be an extension of a DevOps team, not a replacement for it. The risk to watch out for is the temptation to build a DevOps platform while trying to create your Platform team.

What the 2022 report says: Yup, the report backs up our suspicions. Automation is seen as a major priority in the fight for digital transformation and the move to DevOps, up there on a par with the human skills we'll speak about in a minute.

The 2021 fact: Collaboration, interpersonal skills, flexibility, and adaptability are key in the next normal.

Our opinion: It’s important to keep in mind that a platform engineering team needs a broad set of skills ranging from security to operating systems and containers and just as important are soft skills like communication and collaboration. A DevOps platform team should be laser-focused on infrastructure, not DevOps Platform development.

What the 2022 report says: Indeed, there's no ying without the yang. As much as you need technically skilled team members (and need to let them concentrate on their main job, which is digital transformation and not platform maintenance), you need to make sure both the team and its individual members have a balance of skills. In fact, the report points out the skills that people feel are missing from their teams at present, and both automation - our favorite - and people skills are just about level pegging. 

Interesting, right? While industry thinkers can see the barriers and opportunities to digital transformation quite clearly, businesses seem to be facing massive conflict when it comes to actually making a change. Even though they see the problems they are facing - a lack of talent, a lack of balanced skills, and a lack of appropriate upskilling opportunities - their businesses are not actually making any progress towards change.

Perhaps, then, you have the advantage? You're here, and you're seeing the dichotomy. Will that give you the edge when it comes to figuring out the path your business will take? Only time will tell - read the report in full to make sure you have all the information you'll need to make your decisions. 

Download the 2022 DevOps Upskilling report

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