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AI World Conference & Expo · Boston, MA · December 11-13, 2017

This syndicated post originally appeared at No Jitter - Recent posts by Zeus Kerravala.

Unveils a skills assessment and development suite,
giving IT leaders a quantitative way of assessing the
strengths of its human resources.

The topic of the technology skills gap and re-skilling has become a hot one over the past few years. The shift to digital has fundamentally changed IT forever, and it’s only going to get harder to stay current with trends. Hardware vendors have adopted software models, application developers have embraced DevOps, security has never been more difficult or critical, and making decisions is now based on data sciences. These changes are driving the need for a different skill sets across the entire technology stack — from the network up to the application layer.

But how do application developers and infrastructure engineers know if they have the right skill set? Or if they are proficient in it? Or where the gaps are? Traditional methods of going to a classroom setting for a prolonged period of time and taking written tests doesn’t really work well any more as that process is time consuming, expensive, and slow. Digital transformation is based on speed and agility, and IT organizations need a method of re-skilling equally fast and agile.

Pluralsight, a solution provider offering a cloud-based learning platform for IT professionals, held its first ever user event last week, and at its event, unveiled a skills assessment and development suite. The solution is comprised of the following three components:

  • Pluralsight IQ is a free online skills assessment tool that provides a way of benchmarking an individual’s skills as well as quantifying their aptitude in specific technology areas. Tests can be as short as five minutes, which result in a numerical score between zero and 300 called an “IRIS quotient.” The assessment tool also gives a qualitative indicator of knowledge with a ranking of novice, proficient, or expert. As technology professionals add to their skills, they can go back and re-test as often as they like to see how they have progressed. There are currently 45 skill assessments across a wide range of topics including Linux, JavaScript, Ruby, Python, C#, and Angular.
  • Advanced skills analytics is a paid service so managers can get visibility into the skill sets and level of proficiency of each member of their team. IT leaders view the information through a dashboard and can quickly see the Pluralsight IQ for everyone. With this data, IT managers can put together project teams more effectively, as they now have a quantitative way of assessing each person’s strengths. This information can also be used to develop personalized learning programs for the IT team to help close the skills gap created by digital transformation. Pluralsight’s primary revenue stream is on-line educational programs so the ability to identify the gaps helps it drive more people into its programs.
  • Advanced channel analytics is another paid service that IT leaders can use to track the progress of each person’s skills development through the customized plan. This can be beneficial in understanding where skills gaps remain and where the hiring focus should be. This can also be used to aid project leaders in assessing a team’s skills and understanding what gaps in talent could prevent a team from achieving a goal. Knowing this up front is certainly better than discovering it halfway through a project, after expectations with the business have already been set.

For those not familiar with Pluralsight, the company provides a wide range of online training for IT professionals and is used by more than 40% of Fortune 500 companies. The virtual classrooms are put together and taught by leading experts in the various fields. This gives the company a massive amount of data that can be aggregated; then, machine learning can be applied to create the benchmarks that are used to score people taking the IQ tests.

The pace of change in IT will continue to accelerate, and businesses need to be ready. The must have people employed who are proficient in emerging areas such as artificial intelligence, data sciences, cloud, and security. Pluralsight’s assessment platform is an excellent tool for both companies and individual professionals to get a handle on what they know, where the gaps are, and ultimately how to close them.

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Zeus Kerravala

Zeus Kerravala is the founder and principal analyst with ZK Research. Kerravala provides a mix of tactical advice to help his clients in the current business climate and long term strategic advice.
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