Pluralsight, a technology workforce development company based in Draper, has released its 2021 “State of Upskilling” report. The report found that technology challenges introduced by the COVID-19 pandemic and the emerging trend of remote work uncovered technology skills gaps at many organizations, which in turn required new approaches to upskilling efforts.

Pluralsight surveyed more than 600 technology learners and leaders in the United States and Europe on the most current trends and attitudes around skill development.

“Closing the technology skills gap continues to be one of the biggest challenges facing enterprises,” said Gary Eimerman, general manager of Pluralsight Skills. “As organizations around the world responded to the pandemic by accelerating digital transformation initiatives, accelerating the move of applications to cloud platforms and supporting remote employees, the need for effective and scalable upskilling tools became even more important. It’s clear that organizations that close the skills gap better position themselves to retain top employees and win in these new and unpredictable times.”

The report finds that the biggest upskilling trend that emerged in 2020 is that working from home uncovered and exposed skills gaps. Since early 2020, technologists reported that their confidence to do their current jobs (down 13 percent) as well as “jobs in the next three years” (down 8 percent) both decreased from a year ago. Respondents also identified the top skills gaps that were exacerbated by working from home in 2020, which included cloud computing, cybersecurity and data storage.

Many technology organizations not only recognized the growing skills gaps, but also placed a higher priority on addressing the skills of their technology workers. Fifty-one percent of respondents said that their organizations made upskilling a priority in 2020 once work-from-home mandates became commonplace.

One of the biggest changes for technologists in the past year is the emergence of hands-on learning as a primary means of skill development. A majority of respondents seek out the ability to learn while doing, with 77 percent of technology professionals stating that hands-on learning opportunities are an essential part of any upskilling program.

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