2021: basic settings

2020 swept away all forecasts: in addition to its basic options, it has taken a robust interest in business. It was not only the “officially affected” industries that suffered: the economy is an interconnected thing, so everyone was stormy, some had dramatic growth, some had a no less dramatic fall. IT specialists are a little more fortunate than others: we enter 2021 shabby, but alive and ready for changes and new challenges. This post is a small traditional forecast of what awaits us in the new year. This time let’s talk about what will happen with our specialists in the near future.

Small business goes from 2020 to 2021

What will happen to the specialists?


Programmers

Among programming languages, no special sensations should be expected in 2021: Python, Java, JavaScript, Kotlin are in the top. C and C ++ still hold strong positions – these are complex high-load projects, work with security, science, mathematical models, computer vision, etc. Unfortunately, recently there has been a bad tendency for juniors after courses, without basic technical education: rather adult applicants of both sexes do not understand what the project consists of, what the backend and frontend are, how the desk differs from the web and mobile. I am silent about patterns, algorithms and data structures. And you know what? Online education is great, it’s affordable (relatively), it’s convenient, but that’s not all. Yes, you can become a programmer by taking a long course on JavaScript online – but only on one condition: if it is not work for a certificate, but work on your project with books, Habr and Stackoverflow at the ready. Everything else is a fiction, which does not give the right to demand a salary of the middle level. Therefore, the advice is simple: choose tasks and goals, choose a programming language for them, and then take up learning systematically (with theory and practice). Otherwise, you will be out of competition.

By the way, about competition in the labor market. The telecommuting environment and growing trust in teleworkers will significantly change the landscape of the IT hiring market in 2021. For those who were afraid to hire employees remotely, all fears were passed and worked out; those who hired remote workers had a significantly expanded hiring horizon. Now companies have access to specialists of different qualifications with different salary requirements and in order to be competitive among them, in addition to professional skills, they need special skills, including:

  • English – now almost any team needs it, with the difference that somewhere it is technical English for developing and reading documentation, and somewhere it is an advance requirement for communicating with clients and an international team;
  • understanding of DevOps and DevSecOps – the direction will develop more and more and the concept “any developer is a little admin” and “any admin is a little developer” may well become a priority by the end of 2021;
  • soft skills: communication skills, the ability to negotiate, discuss, integrate into business processes – this is something without which it is almost impossible to become a senior or higher;
  • an understanding of the business, business processes and fundamentals of the company will be a huge advantage, because it is important not to just sit and write code or develop programs, it is important to manage development in accordance with the company’s goals.

Separately, it should be said that over time, the ability to work with low-code platforms will become more and more in demand, and such programmers will be well paid, but there is no need to rush, vendors (except for giants like Microsoft) are not yet ready for this themselves.

System Administrators

Just 3-4 years ago, conversations with students about the profession of a system administrator caught up with melancholy and hopelessness: it seemed that system administration was withering away, and it seemed precisely from within the IT environment. Some trends were outlined, but it was not clear where they would lead. So, 2021 will prove: there are sysadmins. Only they, like no one else, were touched by the notorious digital transformation: the cat, sweater, shredder are in the past, now the cat and a whole stack of technologies decide everything. If you are not ready to become a developer, but you are definitely attracted to system administration, take a closer look at this list.

  • Take care of the clouds. Master the top cloud platforms (Amazon Web Service (AWS), Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Microsoft Azure), dashboards, cloud service skills from the console. Yes, we know as no one else that the corporate environment will not finally move to the clouds for a long time, but part of the infrastructure has long been living in them, and you have to work with it.
  • Learn the basics of ITSM, including the ITIL library. 2019-2020 promised to be years of new ITIL, new approaches and best practices, but something got in our way. Therefore, most likely, the transformation will begin in the spring of 2021 and smoothly flow into 2022-2023. Among the ITSM best practices, you can find good patterns for any infrastructure (even very small companies), but especially if you see yourself as a CTO / CIO, you should pay attention to this section.
  • Learn to work with the IoT (Internet of Things). We were expecting a smart home in every home, a smart factory and an ingenious office, but the IoT has gone to develop in a different direction: it can be found in any node of the infrastructure, from video surveillance to security systems. These are extremely vulnerable devices, so the next generation sysadmin must understand how to protect these systems from all attack vectors.
  • Security and monitoring is the alpha and omega of the system administrator. Attacks happen to everyone and everything: from your own servers and databases to cloud storage. The task of the system administrator is to build monitoring systems in such a way as not to react to attacks, but to prevent them. This also applies to small businesses.

This is, of course, a list for classic sysadmins. If you decide to join the DevOps and DevSecOps teams, you need to develop along special roadmaps and move towards development. But in the market, there seem to be fewer good network administrators and security professionals than Kubernetes experts.

HR specialists

2020 was a very difficult year for HR specialists: they had to deal with both formal tasks of transferring staff to remote work and solve non-standard tasks such as adapting employees to new conditions, hiring in self-isolation, developing motivation systems and “soft control” and etc. etc. In my opinion, one of the most powerful burdens in the corporate sphere fell on them (of course, in those companies where HR and personnel actually work). So, 2021 will be even more difficult (but also more interesting) for HR. They will have three important tasks:

  1. to ensure all conditions and requirements related to hospital, vaccination and health safety of employees;
  2. start returning employees to the office and building a dialogue with remote workers – this will be a non-linear long-term process associated with many problems, some of which cannot be foreseen even now;
  3. fight headhunting and develop talents – alas, employees will be actively withdrawn and enticed, intangible motivation and the ability to create conditions for maximum professional growth of a specialist will become a reliable weapon in the upcoming war, money alone will not work, “buyout games” are postponed.

HR professionals will need to completely rebuild the corporate culture, transforming it into a culture of retention and secondary adaptation. All of us will have to be pioneers in this, which means that we will be the first to bear losses and to fill the bumps.

Marketers

“In a crisis, marketers rule” – this thesis is worn out further nowhere and, indeed, PR and marketing were given great attention during the crisis of 2008, 2014, 2018. Alas, 2021 will not be a triumph for marketers, because they did not manage to grow up following new, complex and non-trivial challenges. The planning horizon is down, there are no business goals, demand is changing in all spheres and consumer segments. Already, marketing gurus are declaring that business must become more human than it was before the pandemic. And before that he was brutal, crocodile, what? Small and medium-sized businesses have long understood that the client is the main value and that it is he who brings money. More specifically, he exchanges money for your goods and services, including support, service and just good attitude. Those who did not understand this before the crisis have already lost to competitors and, most likely, have already lost completely.

What kind of consumers are waiting for us?

  • Those who want to forget about everything and return to the old proven companies
  • These are highly loyal customers who value long-term relationships and, as a rule, are ready to overpay for service and some benefits. Marketing task: to preserve features and service, make them a priority, work with customers based on trust and friendship, offer exclusive bonuses, or simply demonstrate loyalty.
  • Those who have lost income and because of this are forced to turn to cheaper options. These will be confused, if not irritated, dissatisfied customers who are forced to change their habits and put up with a decrease in consumption for a while. Marketing task: to show that accessible does not mean bad, to work on the service and create the image of a friendly company – not one that works in a low price segment, but one that knows how to do well and was just waiting for its client.
  • Those who have revised their values ​​during the time of danger and will be a completely different consumer: what – he does not yet know himself. These can be respectable buyers who have come to environmental friendliness; zizniki who have come to rational consumption, or vice versa, office workers who have fallen in love with the remote, and with it fast food and delivery. Marketing task: to keep customers in line with their interests and get undecided.

It is quite difficult to work in such conditions.

And what about the remote?

Remote work will stay with us for a while, but 2021 will certainly be the year of a partial return to offices. This situation will give rise to a number of collisions: someone will not want to return, someone will prove to be an ineffective employee at a distance, someone will think that an office employee is cooler than a remote employee. You should not expect enthusiasm and super productivity from teams: alas, remote work changes people and most of the office employees left for it by some people, and returned by others. They will be more difficult to manage as they have seen a different management paradigm and may not want to go back to January 2020 settings.

So what will happen?

And it will be good. The period of overcoming any crisis is a time of new solutions and opportunities. Difficulties with personnel and the search for new relationships with customers will change the face of the business: it will not only become more human, it will be more adaptive, cautious. It will not be possible to return to square one – too much has changed over the year and too much remains to be changed and restored. And, probably, the main advice at this stage: hold on to people. This is the most expensive asset.


For most small and medium-sized companies, the role of automation will increase: correct accounting of customers and transactions, automation of business processes and analytics will be the locomotive that will actively move the business. If you are not ready to stand still (that is, roll back), we are ready to automate your business using universal CRM-system RegionSoft CRM… We implement, train, support with high quality and remotely. In the new year, we are still with you.

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