The skills shortage has never been greater: 67% of tech leaders are noticing it, especially in key areas such as big data, cybersecurity and artificial intelligence.
Because talent is hard to find and IT budgets are tight, a focus on development and mentoring programs could be the best way for CIOs to fill their digital skills gap. Three company managers share their best practices to develop internal talent.
1. Help the good people become great
Danny Attias, chief digital officer of UK charity Anthony Nolan, says mentoring and development is extremely important to his organization. The organization organizes internships for this purpose to help talented employees flourish.
“Starting with people who are ambitious makes mentoring a lot easier – they want to be successful,” he says. “We start with that as a baseline, and then it’s about giving them the tools and the training they need, and giving them every opportunity they can get.”
According to Attias, the goal of the charity’s mentoring and development programs is to help talented people become even better. He gives the example of a person who started working as a junior in IT within the organization eight years ago and was recently promoted to product manager. “There have been some big milestones along the way,” he says. “I mentored her externally with a digital agency, so she could learn, and the deal is for her to learn from the outside, and then teach me digital.”
Mr Attias says the charity is always looking for new ways to inspire its talents. For example, three developers in the organization, who recently completed 18-month software engineering apprenticeships, and are now leading IT projects within the charity.
Education is also an integral part of the day-to-day engineering work of the organization. Every two-week sprint at Anthony Nolan includes a half-day of personal development, which Mr. Attias says is a considerable amount of time on an annual basis. The technical team organizes this development process themselves: they decide who learns what, how knowledge is transmitted and exchanged, and how this learning process contributes to continued personal growth.
“So we’re all teaching each other all the time and we’re all learning. None of us claim to be an expert at what they do or to have reached a limit,” says Attias.
2. Make sure people’s goals are met
Joe Soule, CTO at Capital One Europe, says he’s lucky people have taken the time and made the effort to guide him at certain points in his career. He currently mentors people in his own organization and, unlike coaching, which he considers more general, Mr. Soule believes that mentoring is centered on career development.
“There is always the big debate between coaching and mentoring. If it is mentoring, chances are that I have personally encountered the problem, have a sense of how to solve it and that I am ready to share with others how I solved this problem, ”he explains. When offering coaching, Mr Soule says he is likely not to know the details of the problem, but does know the person involved. While coaching is often provided to companies by outside experts, Mr. Soule explains that the coaching he provides internally tends to focus on his relationship with the person.
“I tend to coach them on things like goals and performance. And for me, this conversation about coaching has to meet three criteria: is the person interested, does it take advantage of their capacities, and is there an organizational need, ”he explains.
3. Share your knowledge between communities
Shane Read, chief information officer (CISO) at commodity trading firm Noble Group, believes that mentoring is a critical part of developing next-generation IT professionals, and he enjoys sharing his knowledge in cybersecurity as soon as it can.
“I have always been a mentor – I love mentoring. My take on the cybersecurity industry is that we need to share: Mentoring is the foundation of knowledge transfer. I have been a mentor since I was first employment and this has allowed me to derive great benefit from this sector, ”he explains. Sometimes, according to Read, good mentoring involves recognizing that people can learn from other people in other companies as well, even if they are one of your best employees.
One of his employees recently left after working for two and a half years in his company. Mr. Read describes this worker, who suited the IT department, as “competent and talented”. However, after helping the Pro grow, Read knew it was time for him to move on. “I knew he would be better off outside of this company because we didn’t offer the right challenges for his skills. I helped him find his next role, thanks to my connections in the industry. it’s about finding the right place for the right people – we can all do the job, but you want to be able to scale and grow, ”he says.
Keep in mind that cybersecurity is a fairly small industry, says Read. Individuals are likely to meet again, whether at an industry event or at another workplace. Mentoring and staying in touch helps managers and their staff. “I’m still talking to people I first met in the industry 20 years ago. I deeply respect some of them and will continue to do so because they take the industry forward. tries to emulate that too. Cybersecurity is such a collaborative industry, ”he says.