CompTIA Report Signals Good Year Ahead for IT Industry
IT industry growth, healthy business confidence among IT executives, maniacal focus on cybersecurity, and strong, continued demand for IT professionals are the highlights of the IT Industry Outlook 2019, an annual report from CompTIA.
The newest CompTIA research also identifies 12 trends that are likely to shape the tech landscape, its workforce and business models in 2019. Among them:
- Cloud, edge and 5G form the modern economic infrastructure.
- IoT and AI open new possibilities in ambient computing.
- Distributed technology models challenge the existing structure.
- Stackable technologies supercharge digitization efforts.
(All 12 are highlighted in the infographic below.)
“It’s an exciting time as we embark on the next wave of innovation. Technology is more accessible than ever and there are more opportunities to use technology to build and grow organizations,” said Todd Thibodeaux, president and CEO of CompTIA.
Beginning with the global IT industry, CompTIA projects a growth rate of 4 percent. That figure is an average of an optimistic forecast of 6.4 percent and a less optimistic 1.5 percent.
“To the upside, if customer buying patterns for core technology products and services maintain, and spending on emerging technology accelerates, growth of 6 percent or more is attainable,” the report authors explain. “Conversely, a global slowdown in demand, or any slowdown in the adoption of emerging technologies, could dampen growth enough to push it toward the 1.5 pessimistic side.”
Expect to see the U.S. technology market – which is the largest, worldwide – align with global forecasts. The allocation of spending, however, varies among countries. In the U.S., for example, considered a mature market, there is robust infrastructure and platforms, a large installed base of users equipped with connected devices and bandwidth. Given that foundation, the focus on software and services that sit on top of it are where the focus will be moving ahead.
Today, about half of tech spending in the U.S. is on tech services and software. Technologies ushering in the next wave of services and software are advances in cloud computing, edge, 5G and other infrastructure technologies, rounding out the modern economic infrastructure.
In contrast to a dip in other industry sectors concerning consumer confidence, business sentiment in the IT industry remains steady. CompTIA reports that heading into this quarter, its business-confidence index remains near an all-time high. This reflects confidence among IT industry executives for continued customer demand for IT products and services, as well as economic fundamentals holding steady.
When confidence does wane, report authors note that cybersecurity remains a constant in the technology landscape; and in fact, the importance of cybersecurity among businesses and consumers is strong.
Spending by businesses on cybersecurity is increasing and is more proactive; for example, moving from firewalls and antivirus solutions to penetration testing, vulnerability assessment and security analytics, as well as to building business processes that enhance security and implementing end-user training to reduce errors that result in security liability.
A top discussion in the IT sector today, the technology workforce, is expected to remain tight through 2019, with most hiring activity occurring in medium-size and large firms, according to CompTIA. The report notes that 58 percent of companies looking for IT talent are expanding; 52 percent are looking for new skills in areas such as machine learning, IoT integration, or robotics process automation; and 43 percent are hiring to replace employees that have left the company or have retired.
The report notes that expansion may also occur due to a growing customer base in more conventional roles, such as network engineers or IT support specialists.
In the U.S., four in 10 (40 percent) businesses expect hiring challenges in 2019 to be on par with 2018, while 52 percent expect hiring challenges to be moderately or significantly more challenging than last year.