Network training 2021: Businesses grow their own IT expertise to meet new challenges

With COVID-19 and a rising need for SASE, SD-WAN and cloud skills, businesses increasingly rely on in-house training to provide hands-on experience.

Bridging skills gap

As the traditional approach to networking is replaced by hybrid cloud, SD-WAN and edge networks, in-house skill sets haven't kept up.

Hiring new staff is one option to narrow the deficit, but there's a skills shortage in the industry right now, and hiring is expensive. According to McKinsey, it often costs around $30,000 to bring on a new employee, not counting the onboarding training. As a result, 82% of global executives surveyed by McKinsey say that reskilling and upskilling will be at least half the solution to their skills gaps.

Adding to the skills challenge is COVID-19. The pandemic has heightened the need for trained networking professionals with cloud, network security and other essential skills. Companies have had to scale up their online operations quickly, accelerating the transition to cloud infrastructure and services, while large numbers of employees started working remotely, putting pressure on VPNs and other remote access technologies.

At the same time, in-person education has been severely curtailed, as have in-person, proctored, certification exams.

"Traditionally, I had to go to a center," says Myke Miller, dean of the Deloitte Cloud Institute. "I had to go to a lab for a hands-on certification process. But with the current environment, that's no longer a feasible option for a lot of people."

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