It’s a good time to be in the information technology field, but that doesn’t mean the industry is void of issues. With new advancements come new issues that must be dealt with in a head-on fashion.
Analyzing the Five Biggest Pain Points
When you study the IT field, it’s sometimes challenging to check its pulse, so to speak. Things move fast and there isn’t always consistency or continuity across the board.
However, if you were to sit down with an IT pro in San Francisco, Las Vegas, Miami, or Boston, you’d likely have similar conversations in regards to the pain points they face in their respective positions.
That’s because, for everything the industry is doing right, the following pain points are seriously frustrating those on the front lines.
1. Improper Data Collection Strategies
When it comes to IT pros working in individual companies – and big data specialists in particular – the challenge of efficiently collecting, organizing, and analyzing data is real.
“Once a company has their hands on a data collection tool, it is tempting to use it to its fullest capacity. However, this can lead to mountains of unnecessary data,” tech recruiter Crystal McKee acknowledges. “For example, if a business chooses to monitor the number of visitors actively viewing a particular product webpage and use an option that reports back once a minute, that is likely way more information than is necessary.”
When the number of data points being produced and collected exceeds the amount needed to achieve a certain outcome, something is wrong. Unfortunately, this is happening all over the industry. In order for businesses to operate at peak efficiency, improper data collection strategies like these must become leaner.
2. Limited Geographical Market
While it’s relatively easy for a qualified IT professional to find a job these days, the problem is that most of the big opportunities are found in just a few major cities. This limited geographical job market means you either have to settle for the positions available in your area or make a move to one of these metro areas.
The problem is that the availability of housing and the overall cost of living is outrageous in these IT hubs, which essentially offsets the pay increases associated with top jobs. According to a recent survey, only 12 percent of tech employees in San Francisco and New York City (the two biggest tech hubs) believe there’s enough affordable housing available to them.
3. Long Hours and Lack of Sleep
Let’s talk sleep. While those in the tech industry sometimes boast about how little sleep they run on, the fact of the matter is that inadequate sleep impairs performance and creates long-term issues in terms of health and career opportunities.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, Americans report sleeping an average of seven hours and 36 minutes per night on workdays. (They sleep roughly 40 minutes longer on non-workdays and weekends). While that may sound fine on the surface, there’s a difference between quantity and quality.
More than one-third of Americans say their sleep is “poor” or “only fair,” while 20 percent say they don’t wake up feeling refreshed on a regular basis. Unfortunately, the average person’s concentration and quality of work declines by 30 percent as a result of a lack of sleep.
The trouble is that a lack of quality sleep is becoming “normal” in the IT industry. IT pros are working longer hours and aren’t making up for it in how they sleep. One solution is to create a better sleep environment. This means investing in a mattress that fits your specific needs and blocks out all distractions, like TVs and bright lights. It also means establishing a better pre-bedtime routine that sets you up for success.
4. Lack of Remote Work Opportunities
Those in the IT industry have been calling for more remote work opportunities for years. While the rest of the professional world seems to be moving in this direction, it’s as if IT pros are being kept in a previous decade.
While there are obviously some positions where tech professionals have to be on-site to do their jobs, there are plenty of situations where remote work makes sense. If nothing else, employees should be given the opportunity to telecommute with flex-time. This would likely lead to better job satisfaction and lower employee turnover. And when you consider that the average tech employee’s tenure with a particular company is only 3.68 years, something this small could make a big difference.
5. Fragmented Software
Things are getting better in this area, but fragmented software is still a major industry pain point. We’re in this weird place where some companies are adopting cloud solutions while still using a handful of old on-premise solutions. The fragmented nature of the software world means there isn’t always seamless communication or effortless transfer of data between programs. The result is a lot of wasted time on correcting preventable issues.
“Another problem with fragmented software is that it will often lead to unnecessary duplication and double-entry of data,” WinWeb explains. “Software that is not properly integrated will need to be updated separately and this results in multiple databases containing the exact same information, where mistakes will inevitably occur eventually.”
There isn’t a whole lot that can be done right now, but the good news is that businesses are starting to understand the value in using fully-integrated systems and will gradually begin relying on them over the fragmented solutions they’re currently using.
It’s Time to Shake Things Up
Tech industries are largely considered to be among the most progressive in the world, but it’s clear that the IT world could use a shake up. There’s simply too much opportunity and promise for pain points like these to hold people back from developing long, profitable, satisfying careers in the field.
While the pain points outlined in this article may not be classified as “do or die” sort of issues, they have a collective impact on how IT pros approach their jobs on a daily basis.
If they can be smoothed over (sooner rather than later), everyone stands to benefit.