IT knowledge: short-lived and constantly changing
Today knowledge is more important than ever in the IT industry. Technological development is progressing faster and faster and new methods and frameworks are appearing constantly. An expert must therefore educate himself permanently to stay up to date.
But why is IT knowledge such a challenge and how can a company master it?
Today's post will anser this question.
What is special about IT knowledge?
Of course, any kind of knowledge is subjected to change. But what is the reason that IT knowledge in particular has such an extremely short lifespan? Several factors play a role here, which we will present below.
The character of IT knowledge is an important factor. It is not a question of individual, separate areas of expertise and knowledge bubbles, but of a complex structure of knowledge networks that are connected to one another. It is the IT ecosystem that is subject to constant change.
Experts do not sit in an isolated knowledge silos, but have to prove themselves in various areas. The interaction of different knowledge fragments is crucial both in software development and in IT operations. New skills from the areas of programming languages, frameworks, various tools and APIs are necessary to successfully carry out a project.
Another special feature is that these different networks always produce new unique patterns. For a working solution, there is no standard plan or guidance on how to combine any sub-ecosystems. Instead, new patterns and new networks are formed for each application. This process requires a lot of creativity and often something completely new emerges.
We must not forget that IT does not stand for itself, it interacts with other departments and is driven by their technical requirements.
Another factor that has a strong impact on the lifespan of IT knowledge is digitalization. Research and development is now taking place at such a rapid pace that innovations and new opportunities are just teeming with it. The IT ecosystem is therefore constantly evolving independently.
New programming languages, framework or tools emerge frequently and with them comes a need for new very specific skills. Companies must be careful not to lose track here. We estimate that around 30% of IT knowledge is already outdated after 2 years, and significantly more than half after 5 years.
What problem does this create?
Can an expert keep track of such a complex ecosystem and always stay up to date in all sub-areas? Hardly likely.
Often skills and competencies are available in the company, although the company is not aware of it. There are simply too many possible skills and who has an overview of which colleague has which expertise? This may work in a team, but what does it look like when we look at it from the company level?
Companies are faced with two problems that can become a major obstacle in everyday work if we do not pay enough attention to them:
- Who has what expertise and skills?
- What know-how is missing?
Why is this problematic? A company often lacks an overview of the experts and their skills. A software engineer often not only continues his education in a professional context, but also acquires some skills in his free time. These can be valuable, but usually do not appear on the screens of companies. The lack of an overview can be expensive in the event of fluctuations. When an important skill resides with just one expert, that knowledge leaves the company as soon as he leaves.
It is also difficult when the company is confronted with new challenges and realizes too late that it has missed an important trend. If an important skill is missing in the company, there is often no room for maneuver.
The solution: knowledge management
A possible solution may seem obvious: Why don't the employees consult the Internet for advice? Although, in some respects it is a faithful helper to us, we must offer a word of warning here.
Especially when it comes to IT knowledge, information on the Internet is often wrong, incomplete or out of date. Also, when an expert surveys the Internet, the questions are often complex and only another expert can answer them. And to answer that question, researching the World Wide Web can be quite time consuming.
One option is to get advice from an external expert. The advantage: they provide support for a project and help to find a working solution. However, the disadvantages clearly outweigh the costs, because the company incurs high costs and has to resort to advice again and again because the knowledge is not available in the company.
The establishment of internal knowledge management is much more sustainable. Companies should make it possible for experts to network with each other and share their knowledge. Because the respective experts are constantly training and learning, the knowledge within the company is "younger" and constantly updated. It is not only useful, but also resource-saving to use this.
But where should a company start? The first step is to make skills and experts transparent. To make this step easier, we have developed 8Buddy. Every employee of the company maintains their own personal skill concept, so that it is clear where which experts are located. It is no longer necessary to book external advice; internal experts can be consulted for advice. It saves tons of time and resources.
But 8Buddy can do even more. Relevant questions can be entered into a knowledge database and the company can evaluate which skills are available and where know-how needs to be built up. Recruiting can focus directly on this need.
The constant change in IT knowledge presents companies with challenges. Our recommendation: Take your knowledge management into your own hands with 8Buddy and use the knowledge and skills of your experts. In this way you not only achieve better internal networking, save resources and time, but also make the company future-proof.
- Knowledge Management