Training the next wave of IT professionals for enterprise tech

Like the world around us, enterprise and business technologies are evolving. In turn, that means the professionals and IT experts who work on modern technologies in these industries must also adapt.   

Not only are they forced to learn new methods, platforms and tools, but they are also forced to find new ways to achieve their goals. This will directly influence how future professionals are trained going forward, too. 

Some of the technologies that have cropped up in recent years include big data and analytics, artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality and, of course, the Internet of Things. All are equally important, especially if you’re just getting involved in the IT world. 

VR and AR, for example, are becoming more commonplace at the enterprise level. In a business sense, these technologies haven’t matured, which is why not all businesses have jumped on board yet. That is slowly changing, however, as more companies realize the potential of the technology.   

For example, the recent success of Pokémon Go, especially in a consumer-centric market, shows this tech can be leveraged and does have a place in the modern enterprise

At this point, you’re probably a bit curious. Pokémon Go? How does something so seemingly unrelated apply to enterprise markets? It has nothing to do with the content or audience, but everything to do with the setup and deployment of the app. 

Pokémon Go merges the real world with a digital one —  which is the basis of augmented reality. It overlays digital characters called Pokémon into real-world settings, where users can interact, catch and battle with them. But the entire time, everything they are doing in the game world is actually happening in the real world in some small way. To hatch Pokémon eggs, for example, you must walk a certain distance in the real world, which is tracked in-game. 

This is just one small example of AR in use in the modern world, but imagine it applied to enterprise. You could use something like this for training, for developing an automated customer journey, for improving employee skills and much more. You can craft unique experiences that are designed to train, engage and push the boundaries of your workforce and audience. 

This technology is not far-fetched or years away, either. A recent report from IDC predicts AR and VR tech markets will reach $162 billion by the year 2020. Throughout that time, the market will continue to grow and evolve. The report even goes on to claim a vast amount of that growth will be from enterprise applications of the technology. 

How and what happens will largely influence the training and education of next-wave IT professionals. Will your successors be more involved with AR and VR than ever before? It’s a viable, and incredibly relevant, question. 

AR and VR Tech at the Enterprise Level 

Today, companies such as Marriott Hotels, BetterCloud and the Savannah College of Art and Design have already begun experimenting with AR and VR tech. The most obvious application is virtual product demonstrations, 360-degree video tours and experiences and similar customer engagements. But the technology also has its place in training environments, communication, prototyping, process and team management and much more. 

In fact, it can be applied to almost any medium, platform or experience to enhance a process. Want to train new hires in a real-world scenario with high-pressure and dynamic experiences? Immerse them in a virtual or VR world and throw everything you have at them. Then, when they actually step up to the plate and work in real-world situations, they have the experience, knowledge and skills they need. 

Want to see a more detailed and thorough design concept for a prototype your team is working on? Don a pair of VR or AR glasses and manipulate a digital representation, displayed in an environment more akin to the real thing. 

And to think, these examples are merely scratching the surface of what’s possible with this technology. As it becomes more innovative and more cost-friendly to adopt, we’ll see more organizations deploy the technology for their workforce. 

A report from Tractica further estimates that five of the largest areas where enterprise VR will see growth will be worth more than $1 trillion by the end of 2017

How Will Adoption Affect Future IT Training and Development? 

In a metaphorical sense, the effect of AR and VR tech on the enterprise and IT worlds will be a large puzzle made up of smaller, relevant chunks. Each of these chunks or pieces relates to a different change in the market or space. We’ll break it down in more detail for you. 

For starters, the technology will make it possible and more efficient to train future workers. With VR, they can learn professional skills in a simulated environment or experience. But before this can happen, those experiences and environments need to be created and designed. 

That brings in another puzzle piece, which means IT professionals will need to become well-versed in this technology — not just in using it, but developing for it, as well. Of course, that can go a step further to introduce yet another piece of the puzzle, which relates to usability and innovation. 

Many of the experiences, platforms and environments VR and AR will use to deploy these applications do not exist currently. That leaves someone — read, IT professionals — with the duty to not only craft them, but come up with new and unique ways in which to use the technology. Professionals will have to outright lead the growth and innovation in the space, so it doesn’t fall flat or short. 

In essence, this means the entire IT training and education industries will evolve considerably. If you thought lots of knowledge and skills were necessary in this world in the past, just wait until you see how things are in the future.   

Professionals — including trainees — will need to be skilled and knowledgeable about a greater variety of technologies and platforms. Furthermore, they will need to understand how to fill and work in different roles throughout the industry.    

From development and maintenance to deployment and customization, the options are nearly endless. 

Kayla Matthews Technology Writer and Cybersecurity Blogger 

Image Credit: SFIO CRACHO / Shutterstock