Media releases are provided as is by companies and have not been edited or checked for accuracy. Any queries should be directed to the company itself.
  • 15 September 2021 09:24

SolarWinds IT Pro Day Survey Reveals Tech Pros Are Motivated to Take on New Challenges and Expand Responsibilities

Annual survey reveals non-technical skills play a crucial role in advancing tech pros’ careers

SYDNEY, Australia— September 15, 2021 — SolarWinds (NYSE:SWI), a leading provider of simple, powerful, and secure IT management software, today announced the findings from its IT Pro Day 2021 survey: Bring IT On. Amidst ongoing pandemic-driven change at work and at home, this year’s survey seeks to understand how tech pros feel about their daily roles and responsibilities, what lessons they learned over the past year, and what they think of the primary technical and non-technical skills needed to capitalise on opportunities for their future career growth.

The survey supports IT Professionals Day, which is observed on the third Tuesday of every September (September 21, 2021), and aims to celebrate the invincible heroes of IT who rise to the challenge every day in navigating monumental and ever-shifting transformations across the globe.

After a year of unprecedented challenges and change, tech pros responding to this year’s survey report a positive perception of their roles and say they look forward to what lies ahead. Almost half (48%) of tech pro respondents say they’re proud of what they do, another 44% love what they do, and 41% believe this year has proven they’re more capable than they realised. As tech pros look to the future, 62% of respondents say they’re motivated to succeed in their roles and nearly all (81%) of tech pros respondents agree there will be multiple opportunities to develop and enhance their careers in the next year.

“This year's IT Pro Day survey results showcase IT pros' adaptability and dedication to expanding the more prominent roles they've taken on over the past year to support remote and hybrid work,” said Chrystal Taylor, Head Geek, SolarWinds. “As more tech pros embrace the ‘Bring IT On’ mentality, reaching for more responsibility and a leading role in the digital transformations of their businesses—and setting goals to get there—we can certainly expect how the IT organisation is viewed by the business to completely transform in the future.”

Tech pro respondents also agreed a balance between non-technical skills and more traditional technical certifications and experience will play a large role in enabling career advancement, though past surveys found finding time to cultivate those skills is often limited. This year’s IT Pro Day survey shows life is an IT classroom, and many of the non-technical skills key to advancement can be gained at home or through hobbies—reducing the barrier to advancement for tech pros seeking higher-level opportunities at work requiring those skills. Collaboration (teamwork, listening to others, networking) (66%); innovative or creative problem-solving (48%); and communication (public speaking, written documents) (46%) are the most important non-technical skills needed for advancement.

These non-technical skill sets will play a large role in enabling tech pros to achieve advanced responsibilities, such as project management and becoming part of the decision-making process, which 34% of tech pro respondents say is their biggest opportunity at work in the next year. Meanwhile, tech pros are also cautious of challenges on the horizon, like cybersecurity threats and burnout, but are confident the continued evolution of IT operations in the new normal—such as new tools and processes—will create positive change.

“As tech pros gear up for what lies ahead, SolarWinds will be by their side, providing the best tools, advice, and insight to help them tackle everything head on,” Taylor continues. “Whether it’s through our free THWACK ® community of over 150,000 registered members, our affordable IT operations management solutions, or our Customer Success Center we’ll be on hand to guide tech pros and make their lives easier.”

Key Findings:

After a year of unprecedented challenges, tech pro respondents say “Bring IT On” to the year ahead. They feel a sense of pride in their achievements and are highly motivated to expand their responsibilities and embrace new opportunities for professional growth.

● When reflecting on positive lessons learned about themselves in the last year, 41% believe this year has proven they’re more capable than they realised.

○ Nearly a quarter (24%) of respondents say they learned they have leadership skills, which will benefit them as they look to higher-level, more cross-functional responsibilities and roles in the future.

○ 48% of tech pro respondents also say they are proud of what they do.

● More than two-thirds (67%) of respondents say they expect their level of responsibility at work to increase over the next year.

● 27% of those surveyed are extremely motivated to succeed in their roles, saying they’ve set specific goals and look forward to achieving them.

● 81% of tech pros respondents agree there will be multiple opportunities to develop and enhance their careers in the next year, the biggest of which is continuous education (gaining new skills and certifications), chosen by more than half (56%) of respondents.

Tech pro respondents increasingly recognise a balance between non-technical skills learned in daily life and technical skills/professional certifications will be key to career enhancement and new opportunities in the future.

● Tech pro respondents report security (57%), troubleshooting (51%), and network management (49%) to be the top technical skills needed to progress in their careers.

● At the same time, collaboration (for example, teamwork, listening to others, networking at 66%), innovative or creative problem solving (48%), and communication (such as public speaking, written documents at 46%) are seen as the most important non-technical skills needed for advancement.

● Respondents also say these experiences at home or in general daily life are perceived as most useful at work:

○ Time management (e.g., prioritisation, organisation) (69%)

○ Communication skills (verbal and non-verbal) (67%)

○ Interpersonal skills (e.g., adaptability, flexibility, patience) (66%) ○ Problem solving (65%)

● Additionally, nearly three-fourths (70%) of those surveyed said they’ve had a hobby that helps them in their day-to-day role as a tech pro.

● These non-technical skillsets will play a large role in enabling tech pros to achieve bigger responsibilities, such as project management and becoming part of the decision-making process, which 34% of respondents say is their biggest opportunity at work in the next year.

○ According to the Monster Future of Work: 2021 Outlook survey, recruiters chose soft skills—topped by dependability, teamwork/ collaboration, and problem solving/critical thinking—as the most important skills they're seeking in new hires.

● Further, more than half (56%) of tech pro participants believe they’ll have the chance to broaden their education to acquire new certifications and skills, helping them excel in their careers and workplaces.

While tech pros are wary of future challenges like cybersecurity threats and burnout, they believe an evolution in the IT operations of their organisations will create positive change.

● More than half (53%) of tech pro respondents cite cyberthreats as the biggest challenge they expect their organisations to face in the next year, followed closely by employee burnout (48%), the struggle to hire for specific roles due to ongoing skills gap/skills shortages (40%), and an increased or unmanageable workload (37%).

○ Regarding cyberthreats, the SolarWinds IT Trends Report 2021 revealed a similar statistic in that 46% of survey respondents cited external security threats and breaches—like cyberattacks—to be the biggest external factor influencing their organisation's risk exposure.

● However, respondents anticipate their organisation’s IT operations will evolve in the “next normal” to better prioritise investments and address these potential challenges:

○ Implementing new tools and processes to better address security, compliance, and risk (68%)

○ Adding more collaborative technologies (44%)

○ Adopting next generation IT operations solutions (40%)

The SolarWinds IT Pro Day 2021 Survey was conducted throughout August 2021 and surveyed 287 IT professionals globally who participate in the SolarWinds THWACK user community including a mix of IT generalists, software engineers, developers, security and data professionals.

Additional Resources

IT Professionals Day

National Day Calendar: IT Professionals Day

SolarWinds Establishes IT Professionals Day as Official Holiday

Connect with SolarWinds






About SolarWinds

SolarWinds (NYSE:SWI) is a leading provider of simple, powerful, and secure IT management software. Our solutions give organisations worldwide—regardless of type, size, or complexity—the power to accelerate business transformation in today’s hybrid IT environments. We continuously engage with technology professionals—IT service and operations professionals, DevOps and SecOps professionals, and Database Administrators (DBAs) – to understand the challenges they face in maintaining high-performing and highly available IT infrastructures, applications, and environments. The insights we gain from them, in places like our THWACK community, allow us to address customers’ needs now, and in the future. Our focus on the user and commitment to excellence in end-to-end hybrid IT management has established SolarWinds as a worldwide leader in solutions for observability, IT service management, application performance, and database management. Learn more today at The SolarWinds, SolarWinds & Design, Orion, and THWACK trademarks are the exclusive property of SolarWinds Worldwide, LLC or its affiliates, are registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and may be registered or pending registration in other countries. All other SolarWinds trademarks, service marks, and logos may be common law marks or are registered or pending registration. All other trademarks mentioned herein are used for identification purposes only and are trademarks of (and may be registered trademarks of) their respective companies.

© 2021 SolarWinds Worldwide, LLC. All rights reserved.

Submit a media release