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Top Tech Trends and Predictions for 2020

Dec. 06, 2019
Global Knowledge

What to expect in cloud, cybersecurity, 5G, IT training and more

What can IT professionals expect in 2020? We asked our subject matter experts to predict the major tech and training trends coming our way. Peer into our crystal ball and be ready for the approaching changes in Microsoft, ITIL®, AWS and more.


Skills gaps will start to diminish, but only with greater manager support

In 2019, 85% of IT professionals took some form of training, but only 59% of it was authorized by a manager. According to the Global Knowledge 2019 IT Skills and Salary Report, the three biggest training inhibitors are:

  • Work demands
  • Lack of a budget
  • Lack of support from management

But IT professionals are resilient, and a majority sought training opportunities even when it wasn’t funded by their organization. Imagine if they had greater managerial and organizational support?

Global skills gaps are reported by 79% of IT decision-makers, and that number has increased every year since 2016. Will 2020 be any different? We think so. Skills gaps are not a myth. Their impacts are wide-ranging and no longer easy to ignore. Employees are more stressed. Projects are being delayed. Operating costs are increasing. Objectives aren’t being met.

The time to act is now. Training is the skills gap solution, and decision-makers are beginning to believe that. This year, skills gaps will cost employers up to 416 hours and over $22,000 per employee. If those numbers don’t spark action, what will?

We believe skills gaps will plateau or decrease slightly in 2020. IT professionals are eager to develop new skills and managers are waist deep in the consequences of a lack of necessary skills. The support for training—especially instructor-led courses—is growing. Classroom training is the preferred method for IT professionals because they view it as most effective. When critical skills must be built, expert in-person training provides the greatest chance for success.


Download the IT Skills and Salary Report - Salary and Certifications


According to the IT Skills and Salary Report, 41% of IT professionals attended classroom training in 2019, a four percent increase from 2018. If last year is an indication of what to expect, we’ll see more classroom training in 2020 as decision-makers recognize and plan for their critical skills needs.

But the consequences of IT skills gaps will still be disruptive. According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), a lack of IT skills had a financial impact of $302 billion in 2019.1 Projects will continue to be delayed and organizations will undertake less ambitious initiatives because of skills gaps. It’s going to take some time to build up the necessary expertise, but we believe next year the groundwork will be laid and managers will have no choice but to join the charge for continual training.

Related resources


A revolution is imminent for customer relationship management

If you thought the enterprise was amazed by the scale, security and compute services that Microsoft Azure has offered, consumers are soon to be experiencing the full impact of Microsoft’s connected business cloud: Microsoft Dynamics 365.

Released three years ago, the Microsoft business cloud is not necessarily a newcomer. Instead, what’s trending are the inspiring ways organizations are leveraging the connected services of the platform. There are plenty of success stories found on the Microsoft Dynamics 365 YouTube channel. Without exploring any single story in detail (check them out, they’re all amazing), the understanding that we have moved to a “data-first reality” is at the heart of this particular revolution.

Microsoft CFO Amy Hood mentioned that “…[I]ncreasingly the conversation has started to pivot … from this view of product-central reporting to this concept of customer-centric reporting.”

Evolution was inevitable as our capacity to capture data increased and the reliability of data to drive business decisions improved.

We have an intimate connection with data. It flows continuously, in growing amounts, and from countless sources—your smartwatch records your sleep patterns; jet engines upload numerous data points with every landing, and all things in between.


View Microsoft Dynamics 365 training courses


If you’re in a business that serves customers, then you’ve probably been searching to unify your customer data in a meaningful way. Microsoft Dynamic’s suite of business applications could be the answer to dramatically improving front-end UX. Many companies are using real-time consumer analytics to offer personalization at every touchpoint. These companies are also intelligently managing back-end data from areas like billing and finance within the same integrated cloud platform. This unified operations approach creates enormous customer value.

When you recognize that Microsoft Dynamics 365 is also the engine empowering organizations to take advantage of the latest in AI and mixed reality, it’s easy to see how our data-first, customer-centric world of business is only the beginning.


5G is coming to an educational institution near you

You can’t watch TV, browse the internet, or listen to the radio without hearing advertisements about the promise of 5G. Each service provider is touting their offerings to draw your attention and hopefully your loyalty. While these messages drive interest and excitement in the next generation of wireless mobility, the real money won’t be made from our cell phone plans. The reality is consumers won’t pay considerably more for faster speeds, even though the infrastructure needed to stand up 5G environments is substantial. Most financial gains will be made from enterprise engagements with services wrapped around 5G environments. While 5G is in its early stages, use cases are being explored around new products and services that will solve market problems and allow new technologies to flourish.

In the educational space, Wi-Fi is the dominant internet connection vehicle.2 It works great in most situations and costs are reasonable. The challenge lies in the future and the data demands to come. With the proliferation of IoT devices, new interactive instructional methods, and growing data demands, Wi-Fi will become a bottleneck to productivity and security. We are seeing this with 4G LTE. Speeds have been steadily declining as more and more devices consume available bandwidth. The same will happen with Wi-Fi systems.


Featured course

5G Essentials

This two-day training course covers the design motivation and underlying technology of 5G service-based architecture, as well as new 5G vocabulary terms.


While Wi-Fi and 5G mobile networks are completely different technologies, they provide the same service, connectivity access. One challenge organizations have with Wi-Fi is supporting the varying standards devices require, such as (IEEE) 802.11b to 802.11a, 802.11g, 802.11n, and then 802.11ac. Managing this is a challenge but a benefit of 5G is it’s only one standard. 5G will result in easier connectivity management while being able to handle the increasing data demands educational institutions need to teach the skills for the future.


ITIL® 4 expands focus to intermediate skills

The Fourth Industrial Revolution has been upon us for one to three years now, depending how you measure. A data-driven approach to the development of new products and services means at least one thing: more value for end-customers, as long as services are effectively managed through best practices.

Axelos is leading that charge; they stand as the governing body for ITIL®. Since the 1980s, ITIL has advocated for the best practices in IT service management and is the most widely adopted approach to ITSM globally.

The ITIL Framework had not received an update since a revision of ITIL v3 back in 2011. You do not have to look far to understand the workplace has changed tremendously in the past eight years. Consider cloud computing (and the countless products and services it offers), agile software development, automation tools, and emergent ways of working (e.g. DevOps). If ITIL planned to live up to its name and continue to deliver best practices, these areas needed to be addressed, and not for the sole benefit of the organization, but in a way that allowed for value co-creation among all stakeholders.

Enter ITIL 4. The first quarter of 2019 brought ITIL 4 Foundation; 2020 will be the year of ITIL 4 intermediate skills. Along with individual skills courses, Global Knowledge is actively ushering in ITIL v3 experts who are eager to achieve their ITIL Managing Professional designation. A special Transition module has been created for these students, or those with at least 17 ITIL v3 credits.


Get ITIL-certified with ITIL 4 Foundation

View Course

Already have your ITIL v3 credential? Take ITIL 4 Foundation Bridge.


Individual ITIL 4 modules include High Velocity IT; Drive Stakeholder Value; Create, Deliver & Support; along with Direct, Plan & Improve and Digital & IT Strategy.

Global Knowledge makes it simple to upgrade your skills to the latest standard. Learn how to bridge your ITIL v3 certifications over to ITIL 4, or check out our available courses designed for ITIL strategists and specialists.

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Cisco banks on DevOps

The IT infrastructure industry is changing dramatically and companies are going through challenging digital transformations. With the push towards automation and programmability, the worlds of networking and programming are converging.

This February, Cisco is introducing an entirely revised certification framework. This is huge. Cisco has never transformed all of their certification tracks at once. Several of the technology tracks will be familiar:

  • Enterprise (routing, switching, wireless)
  • Collaboration
  • Data Center
  • Security

But Cisco is introducing an entirely new technology area—DevOps.

Where DevOps practices include the collaboration of network professionals and software developers, DevNet is Cisco’s approach to DevOps that combines app development, network automation and programming, surrounded by certifications and specializations.

DevNet itself is not new—in fact, it launched in 2014. The certifications and specializations are new.

How do we prepare for this new Cisco DevOps culture? Start with an understanding of Cisco’s DEVNET.


Learn more about Cisco's 2020 certification updates


As the most influential IT infrastructure provider of the past 30 years, Cisco technologies built many of the systems that make today’s technologies possible. But Cisco is changing to help companies adapt; it’s either innovate or fail.

From CEOs John Chambers to Chuck Robbins, Cisco has foretold the digital transformation. It’s no surprise they are driving dramatic change and innovation in their business, as well as the products and services they develop and sell. And they are enabling their customers to realize the benefits of intent-based networks that are more flexible, intuitive, and interoperable.

Cisco sees the future and it’s automated.


AWS takes cloud computing to cirrocumulus

While companies originally shifted to AWS Cloud Solutions to gain cost controls, most are now migrating for better innovation opportunities and speed to market. The cloud has grown so complex and multi-functional that it is revolutionizing the concept of computing.

As cloud systems become more accepted, companies are realizing the opportunity to replace their infrastructure with cloud-enabled devices. Individually intelligent devices (e.g. laptops) will be less critical as cloud-enabled devices connect to online processing and applications.

With increased cloud reliance, more and more business functions can and will be migrated to cloud architectures. Cloud tools and applications will become more and more capable and the increased power of the cloud will support and enable mobile-first connectivity and computing.

Despite valuable solutions from its competitors, AWS remains the dominant player in the cloud computing market and expects to grow by as much as 50% in 2020.

Related training


Ansible emerges as a solution for automation consolidation

Ansible has opened up a world of possibilities for Red Hat. First of all, it goes beyond Linux, allowing collaboration with other tech providers such as Microsoft.

In 2020, Red Hat will release a Microsoft-Ansible course, which will help IT professionals automate and manage Windows devices. It’s their first course not running on the Red Hat Enterprise Linux operating system (RHEL), which opens them up to a new customer base they haven’t been able to interact with before.

This training is something that customers have been consistently asking for as Windows administrators look to take advantage of the automation that Ansible allows. System administrators working from a Windows platform will be exposed to the purpose and benefits that Ansible and Ansible Tower provide, as well as being prepared to automate tasks on multiple Windows-based hosts.

Ansible allows different parts of the IT organization to unite around a single approach to automation. This consolidation of automation efforts is needed because every piece of the stack requires the ability to automate.

Related training

Automation with Ansible (DO407)


IBM Cloud Paks strengthen Red Hat collaboration

With IBM’s acquisition of Red Hat for the hybrid cloud space, we expect to see continued growth and collaboration amongst both company’s product sets. For example, IBM has launched IBM Cloud Paks, which provide a model of enterprise software on Kubernetes to run businesses on and in the open hybrid cloud. IBM Cloud Paks are underpinned by Red Hat OpenShift and supported by Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

Global Knowledge anticipates having training solutions in 2020 for the six IBM Cloud Pak areas: Applications, Data, Integration, Automation, Multicloud Management, and Security.

Ensure you have Red Hat OpenShift skills before the IBM Cloud Pak courses are released:


The cybersecurity skills shortage is not going away

In the 2019 IT Skills and Salary Report, IT decision-makers said their biggest challenge is talent recruitment and retention, especially in cybersecurity. For four straight years, decision-makers have ranked cybersecurity as their most difficult hiring area.

According to (ISC)2’s 2019 Cybersecurity Workforce Study, there’s a global cybersecurity workforce shortage of 4.07 million. The U.S. alone has a shortage of nearly 500,000.3

With the rapid evolution of cybercriminals, that shortage is likely to increase again this year, putting many organizations in an uncomfortable situation. With limited security professionals and aging skill sets and architectures, customer data is more susceptible than ever.

Forward-looking cybersecurity organizations must dedicate a significant amount of budget to frameworks, best practices and updated cybersecurity skills. That is the only way to combat these advanced threats.

Build your cyber workforce from the inside. Hiring and outsourcing may not be viable options—upskill your current staff and maintain the security of your networks.

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Related resource

Top Cybersecurity Certifications to Enhance Your Career


Identify and access management (IAM) challenges increase with shift to cloud

With the migration of resources from on-premise to the cloud, IAM measures are more critical than ever. Cyberattacks have grown in sophistication, and with it, new IAM challenges have emerged that require heightened awareness and immediate action.

The top IAM challenges of 2020 will be:

  • Password fatigue — It’s a real problem, and cybercriminals know how to exploit it.
  • Single sign-on (SSO) and Active Directly (AD) — While they come with their own challenges, SSO and AD are standard solutions for credentialing and privilege access.
  • Provisioning and deprovisioning — It can be difficult and tedious to create and disable credentials as employees leave the organization or are promoted. But it can also be a major vulnerability if the proper architecture and oversight is not in place.



1. IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Services 2020 Predictions, Doc #US44800319, Oct. 2019

2. IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Education 2020 Predictions, Doc #AP44343519, Oct. 2019

3. (ISC)2 Cybersecurity Workforce Study, 2019