Charting the Course of IT: Seth Robinson, VP of Industry Research at CompTIA, Explores Trends, Training, and Professional Certification

As VP of Industry Research, I am responsible for CompTIA’s research on various facets of the IT industry, including technology trends that are affecting digital transformation, the evolution of technical job roles, and developments within the IT channel ecosystem. Personally, my primary focus is on the shifts taking place within enterprise technology as organizations move from a tactical IT approach to a strategic technology mindset.


Considering your focus areas on cloud computing, cybersecurity, Internet of Things, and artificial intelligence, how do you approach delivering market intelligence to your audience?

We use methods and techniques that have been established as best practices within market research, utilizing three different categories of data: proprietary data that we collect, outside data available publicly or via subscription, and observational data that can come from many sources or interactions. We package our analysis in many content formats, such as longform reports, podcasts, videos, or presentations, depending on the audience we are trying to reach and the integration of our research with broader CompTIA initiatives.

What insights can you provide regarding the impact of generative artificial intelligence (AI), cybersecurity issues, and evolving hiring and retention practices on the IT industry and workforce, as highlighted in CompTIA’s “IT Industry Outlook 2024” report?

Ultimately, the IT industry (as with any industry) is driven by the people doing the day-to-day work. The goal is always to make the workforce as productive as possible, and generative AI and cybersecurity need to be managed appropriately to maximize productivity. When it comes to the IT workforce (extending to other industries beyond the IT industry), there is a pressing issue of finding enough qualified candidates, so we see hiring and retention practices evolving to achieve better balance in the supply/demand equation.

As per the report, how do you perceive the evolution of skills-based approaches beyond hiring into career development, and what implications does this have for individuals and companies in the technology arena?

Organizations have been pursuing skills-based hiring for some time now as one way of balancing the supply/demand equation. This practice is extending into career development for those firms that have done the prerequisite work of understanding individual skills within job roles. Skills-based career transparency means that companies will be tying career progression to skill development, and they will be open and consistent in sharing these policies with their employees.

The hybrid work environment is one that is still evolving as companies move further away from the measures forced by the pandemic and discover the best environments for both productivity and flexibility. Technology will play a key role in this evolution, including areas such as automating workflow and enhancing virtual collaboration. In order to build the workplace of the future, technology will have to work hand in hand with business operations and functional management in order to not only install the best tech products but also help the workforce adapt to new tools.

How does CompTIA define its mission in the realm of IT certification, training, and industry analysis, and what are the primary objectives behind initiatives like the “IT Industry Outlook 2024” report?

CompTIA’s goal is to unlock the potential of businesses going through digital transformation and of individuals pursuing tech careers. CompTIA research supports this mission by analyzing trends within the industry and delivering actionable insights for decision makers and job seekers. Reports like the IT Industry Outlook 2024 can be used by many different audiences to understand the impact of technology on business strategy and career development.

Aside from the trends already mentioned, another major theme within the 10 trends is the construction of digital solutions. As solutions have become more complex in a modern environment, the underlying infrastructure must be resilient and flexible. This implies a cloud foundation, and many companies continue to grow in their maturity of multi-cloud models. Taken together, the different solutions a company may be building all support a digital transformation strategy. The next stage of digital transformation involves quantifying a high degree of complexity in a way that impacts organizational productivity.

What measures has CompTIA taken to support skills-based hiring and career development within the technology sector, and how does this align with the organization’s broader goals?

In the past five years we’ve made four significant acquisitions – two training companies, the developer of a deep learning analytics platform for online exam delivery and most recently, TestOut, a proven market leader in courseware, online labs and more for technical training and digital literacy education. We’ve also expanded our selection of certification and training products. In 2024 we intend to release up to 10 new certification and learning products and complete major refreshes of five existing certifications. These products cover the full range of technology disciplines – cybersecurity, data, infrastructure, coding, AI and more. We’re also developing resources to help people become more knowledgeable and confident in their business and soft skills.  We believe digital fluency is a universal need in almost every profession. Some level of understanding is required to be conversant, especially with technology at the core of most business operations.

Could you share insights into the level of optimism among IT professionals and technology companies regarding their career paths and industry prospects for 2024, as mentioned in the report?

The optimism among IT pros and tech companies ties back to the issue of supply and demand. There is incredible appetite for technology skills and services. Technology pros from generalists to specialists can find career opportunities and develop skills along their areas of interests. Technology firms have ample opportunity to deliver technology solutions for clients and tailor these solutions to specific needs. There will always be challenges, such as economic shifts or budgetary constraints, but by and large these challenges are outweighed by positive possibilities.

In what ways does CompTIA engage with technology professionals, career changers, and aspiring individuals to provide training, education, and professional certifications, and how does this contribute to unlocking the potential of individuals in the tech industry?

Millions of current and aspiring technology workers around the world rely on CompTIA for the training, education and professional certifications that give them the confidence and skills to work in tech. We do this directly through our own training programs and via nearly 4,000 academic, corporate training and content delivery partners worldwide. Businesses in all industries and all sizes – from Fortune 500 multi-national corporations to mid-size companies to small businesses – employ CompTIA-certified IT professionals. Some 3.5 million CompTIA certifications have been earned by IT professionals around the world.