CARY – What are the major trends likely to impact IT professionals in 2019? Global Knowledge, a major tech training company, points to seven that will affect the industry next year.

Topping its predictions:

  • IT skills gaps will continue to be a problem.

“The steep rise in recent years of IT skills gaps isn’t going to crest anytime soon,” the report says. That’s in line with the most recent IT jobs report from NC Tech, which showed 22,000 IT openings in North Carolina, many unfilled due to a lack of talent with needed skills.

According to the Global Knowledge report, 75 percent of IT decision makers in North America said their teams face a shortage of necessary skills. It quotes a recent report from the International Data Corp. (IDC) which states that by 2020, 90 percent of all organizations will face project delays and costs due to a lack of IT skills, leading to losses totaling $390 million globally.

  • Automation will allow IT departments to focus more on strategic initiatives

IDC, the report notes, declares “the future of IT is automation.” Global Knowledge says the numberof automated processes will rise, with IDC estimating that 25 percent of IT processes will be automated by 2019, freeing up resources and increasing productivity.

  • Organizations must prepare for GDPR

If a company transacts online with anyone in the European Union (EU), it is subject to the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation implemented in May. The report says, “Understanding and complying with data protection legislation should be a major focus for all organizations as we head into 2019.”

It quotes the IDC prediction that lack of attention to GDPR principles “will likely be the undoing of at least one large organization by 2022.”

  • The number of companies offering cybersecurity services will drop

The number of cybersecurity companies are predicted to drop by 40 percent by 2023. Why? Because the cybersecurity skills shortage is enormous and growing the report says. ISACA predicts a two million shortage of cybersecurity employees next year.

  • Hybrid cloud environments will gain support

The report notes that Amazon’s AWS CEO Andy Jassy has acknowledged that cloud migration takes a lot of effort and the longer an organization waits to migrate, the more difficult it gets.

Hybrid cloud potential also was cited by IBM as the driving factor in its pending $34 billion acquisition of Raleigh-based Red Hat.

AWS  will launch a new service with VMware in 2019 that allows users to run AWS infrastructure in on on-premise data center. Supporting such hybrid environments is new for AWS, which has been entirely cloud focused up to now. Expect hybrid clouds to gain even more support next year, the report says.

IT pros responsible for managing a hybrid cloud should have skills required to seamlessly connect the two environments, according to the report.

  • Cost Management will be a priority for cloud users

Global Knowledge points out that while the ROI of cloud services is well known, there are also “horror stories of users forgetting to shut something off leading to overwhelmingly high bills.

Everyone from executives to architects, sysadmins and developers “should thoroughly understand the pricing models and billing structures to avoid costly mishaps,” says the report.

  • Expect SD-WAN demand to rise sharply

The market for software-defined wide area networks is expected to grow by 40 percent annually. The report notes, “The emergence of SD-WAN technology has been one of the fastest industry transformations we have seen in years.”

SD-WAN makes networks more flexible and adjustable and helped drive multiple technological innovations in 2018, the report says. “The upward trajectory of SDN solutions will carry over into next year,” said Lisa Jones, Global Knowledge global product portfolio director for Cisco.

The report, Top Tech Trends and Predictions for 2019, is available online.