How do L&D and HR professionals value technical skills?

LinkedIn 2018 Workplace Learning Report is out and loud – Where are the developers?

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Soft skills or hard skills? DevOps with more Dev or more Ops? The 2018 Workplace Learning Report from LinkedIn is out and the results raise some serious questions on the importance of technical skills and developers’ role in Learning and Development trends as well as the implications of those trends for the role of DevOps.

The LinkedIn 2018 Workplace Learning Report is out and takes the pulse of the current L&D trends.

The survey is based on the responses from 1,200 L&D or HR professionals, 400 people managers, 200 executives and 2,200 learners from North America, Europe, and Asia.

However, from a developer’s perspective, the results of the report seem… troubling. L&D and HR professionals, as well as people managers and executives, appear to pay a ton of attention on the development of soft skills of employees while the development of technical skills, as part of a company’s L&D program, seems of little significance. Let’s have a closer look at some of the results.

Source: What are the top priorities for your L&D programs in 2018? Linkedin 2018 Workplace Learning Report

Source: What are the most important skills for employees to learn from L&D? LinkedIn 2018 Workplace Learning Report

SEE ALSO: Hiring a developer? Challenge accepted!

Source: What are the most important skills for your direct reports to learn from L&D programs? LinkedIn 2018 Workplace Learning Report

The trend that is summarized in these results is that soft skills are the core focus of the L&D goals for 2018. This trend demonstrates a huge differentiation from the results of the 2017 Workplace Learning Report, where the summarized results presented the technical skills second in importance while the 2018 report hardly presents technical skills as part of the L&D programs.

No one can deny the importance of developing soft skills for your employees, such as communication and collaboration. However, placing the need to develop leadership assets among your employees makes the process of creating managers and leaders the most important task of L&D process; in fact, develop managers and leaders were ranked first among the main objectives for L&D strategies in the 2017 report. The trend seems to be growing in 2018.

But if companies put the biggest amount of their resources into L&D programs that focus on developing management and leadership skills, what will ultimately be there for managers to manage?

Let’s talk some DevOps

According to the survey, “talent developers are preparing their workforce for automation by naming ‘training for soft skills’ their #1 priority”; and it makes sense, right? You want your employees to be ready for the automation that DevOps brings as its core, therefore, you invest in the development of soft skills among your employees so that they have the knowledge to navigate the new age of company culture.

SEE ALSO: DevOps without automation is like peanut butter without jelly

But what about the actual developers; the people behind the development of these automations? Why don’t they enjoy that generous of a share of a company’s resources for the development of their skills, the technical skills to be more precise?

One could argue that technology overwhelms every aspect of our lives and especially corporate life; therefore, it is crucial that we put our emphasis on developing the human skills of employees. And I could not agree more!

However, this survey portraits the main objectives of companies’ Learning and Development programs and it would be unfair, to say the least, that people who wish to develop their technical skills and enhance their knowledge in their field of expertise do not have the same opportunities to take advantage of the company’s resources, just as employees with an interest in developing their soft skills have.

Especially when talking about DevOps, developers carry a huge part of the burden through the automation process and, as Yugal Joshi argued, “they’re not at all pleased with that and believe that they are being asked to address IT operations’ laggardness”.

Just to make it clear, this article does not aim to attack the results of the LinkedIn survey or any of the participants, for what it’s worth. I only wish to point out and highlight that the results presented in the survey could portray a worrying trend for developers, the importance and the appreciation of technical skills in corporate culture.

Eirini-Eleni Papadopoulou
Eirini-Eleni Papadopoulou was the editor for Coming from an academic background in East Asian Studies, she decided that it was time to go back to her high-school hobby that was computer science and she dived into the development world. Other hobbies include esports and League of Legends, although she never managed to escape elo hell (yet), and she is a guest writer/analyst for competitive LoL at TGH.

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