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Building Future-Ready Tech Teams

For the third year in a row, there is a massive increase in the skills gap across industries, with nearly 80% of organizations saying that their teams lack the necessary skills; as stated by the Global Knowledge IT Skills and Salary report. The ever-increasing skills gap is the bane of IT leaders who aim to build future-ready tech teams. The age of digital disruption dictates the requirements of the current and future workforce and the existing workforce is unprepared to address the emerging trends and developments of the future.

Hiring their way out of this problem is not an option, say recruiters. There is a dire need for upskilled personnel and every organization needs to identify and provide ample opportunities for its employees to grow and upskill themselves. 

Flexible, scalable, and innovative teams are the future of tech. The sooner companies throw traditional practices out of the window the better. Future-proofing teams dictates the success of any organization and ensures it stays relevant, in 2021.

Digital transformation and innovation are happening at such a rapid pace. Companies are feeling the pressure too, which is why they must be building future-proofed teams and ever-ready workforces. Ensuring your team can scale with the changing times, will ensure your teams are agile, scalable, and ready for any market or industry demands. The onus is on business leaders to give their teams the skills they need to keep up and stay ahead. Future-proofing is a team-sport, meaning everyone can, and should, play an active role in learning, growing, and innovating. From taking online courses to attending virtual events like hackathons and conferences, there is an abundance of opportunities available to ensure companies always continue to stay ahead of the curve.

Brian H. Hough, Founder of Airblock Technologies 

Traits of a future-ready workforce

  • A finely balanced workforce consisting of both people and technology.
  • Tech teams that are characterized by continual learning integrated with their flow of work.
  • Future-ready tech teams have a repertoire of skills that will come into use 5-10 years from now.

The ability of organizations to address the skills-gap challenge by assessing the current lack of skills, and predicting skills needed for the future will help them in future-proofing their tech teams. Although it’s hard to accurately predict future demands; due to the fast-paced advancements in technology, there is a set of skills that will never go out of style.

Soft skills. They are overwhelmingly hard to find and the pressing need for these soft skills is tied to employees’ abilities to learn and adapt to change. This agility is becoming increasingly important – perhaps even more than functional or technical skills.

“Communication is the key in every company. It is even more important in the remote company of the future. Remote companies need 10x the process early on, and it pays out later though. A very underrated skill is communicating your progress and status with the rest of your teammates and keeping your project management system tight.”

Radoslav Stankov, Head of Engineering at Product Hunt 

Characteristics of a future-ready tech team

Building the future requires more than just technology; It requires a combination of agility, insight and flexibility. Such teams are open to new ideas, willing to abandon outdated practices, and adapt to emerging technologies.

From AI specialists to full-stack developers, having a diverse talent pool ensures the team can tackle a variety of challenges.

With an emphasis on upskilling and reskilling, these teams are always on the lookout for the next big thing in tech.

Siloed methods are a thing of the past. Future-ready teams prioritize collaboration. Rather than react, these teams anticipate challenges and work on solutions before issues escalate.

The importance of soft skills in building a future-ready tech team

Soft skills are personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people. They are often referred to as interpersonal skills or people skills. Soft skills are just as important as hard skills, or technical skills, in the workplace. In fact, many employers believe that soft skills are even more important than hard skills, especially for tech teams.

There are many reasons why soft skills are so important for tech teams. First, tech teams need to be able to collaborate effectively to solve complex problems. This requires strong communication, teamwork, and problem-solving skills. Second, tech teams need to be able to adapt to change quickly. The technology landscape is constantly evolving, so tech teams need to be able to learn new things and adapt to new situations. This requires strong adaptability, resilience, and creativity skills.

Here are some specific examples of soft skills that are important for tech teams:

  • Communication: Tech teams need to be able to communicate effectively with each other, as well as with other stakeholders, such as product managers, designers, and customers. This includes being able to clearly articulate ideas. That could be verbally and in writing, or utilizing relevant technology like call center software as appropriate.
  • Teamwork: Tech teams need to be able to work together effectively to achieve common goals. This requires being able to collaborate, share ideas, and give and receive feedback.
  • Problem-solving: Tech teams need to be able to identify and solve problems effectively. This requires being able to think critically, creatively, and methodically.
  • Adaptability: Tech teams need to be able to adapt to change quickly. This requires being able to learn new things, unlearn old things, and adapt to new situations.
  • Resilience: Tech teams need to be able to bounce back from setbacks and failures. This requires being able to persevere, learn from mistakes, and stay motivated.
  • Creativity: Tech teams need to be able to think creatively to solve problems and develop new solutions. This requires being able to come up with new ideas and think outside the box.

Employers are increasingly looking for tech candidates with strong soft skills. In fact, a study by LinkedIn found that 92% of recruiters believe that soft skills are just as important as hard skills, if not more important.

Here are some tips for building a future-ready tech team with strong soft skills:

  • Hire for soft skills as well as hard skills. When interviewing candidates, be sure to assess their soft skills as well as their hard skills. Look for candidates who are good communicators, team players, and problem solvers.
  • Provide training and development opportunities for soft skills. Just like hard skills, soft skills can be learned and developed. Offer your team members training and development opportunities in areas such as communication, teamwork, and problem-solving.
  • Create a culture that values soft skills. Make sure that your team members know that soft skills are valued in your organization. This could involve recognizing and rewarding team members for demonstrating strong soft skills, or incorporating soft skills development into your performance review process.

By investing in soft skills, you can build a future-ready tech team that is well-equipped to succeed in the rapidly changing technology landscape.

How can you identify and address the challenges of building future-ready tech teams?

Future-proofing activities have led companies to ideate newer strategies and morph their team structures to meet real-time disruptions and demands. Three important areas that need attention are:

The organizational skills gap

The skills gap refers to the mismatch between the skills that employers are looking for in employees, and the skills those employees possess. Persistent skills shortage affects the business objectives of a company, and a stop-gap solution is not the answer. It is difficult to pinpoint any one reason for this. However, a few well-informed guesses would include a lack of qualified applicants and a lack of learning investment in existing employees. Acknowledging that tech teams are falling behind, and identifying the wide skills gap across the organization is the first step.

Learning and development programs

Nearly 39% of decision-makers attributed skills gaps to a lack of training investment two years ago. In 2021, 74% of organizations say reskilling their workforce is crucial to their success over the next 12–18 months. Organizations need to step up and provide suitable learning and development opportunities for their employees, which have the potential to transform market volatility into growth. Forward-thinking companies also encourage and enable employees to apply their skills and interests in different ways. 

L&D programs are the need of the hour when it comes to closing the skills chasm. Internal upskilling of teams is an effective way to future-proof your workforce and provide an improved employee experience and higher employee retention.

Check out HackerEarth’s Learning and Development platform here.

Leveraging technology

This one is a no-brainer. Technology, being one of the major reasons for the skills gap challenge, is also key to bridging it, and enabling rapid up- and re-skilling. Equipping employees with the right digital tools to work with today, and encouraging the use of the newest technologies and tools to keep up with the trends of tomorrow must be a part of any project plan to build future-ready tech teams.

No crystal ball can predict what the future of work is going to look like. What should we do? 

1. Join the community – Facebook Groups, conferences, webinars, etc. – Don’t just watch/read, contribute! It’ll force you to branch out and learn new things to create the content.

2. Demo 2 products every month – this will keep you on the front end of the technology evolution. Even if you have no budget and don’t need anything, always be exploring what’s out there.

3. A/B test and iterate – if things are going “well” – give yourself a pat on the back, and then iterate to find an even better way to do it – and continue doing this, forever. You will NEVER find “the right” way to do things, only better ways. And there are ALWAYS better ways.”

Mike Cohen, Founder of Wayne Technologies

Future trends: Implementing remote and hybrid work models

The COVID pandemic has left us with some truths. We know that with remote work becoming the norm, decentralized teams spread across time zones will become even more common.

With location no longer a barrier, companies will tap into global talent, bringing diverse perspectives and skills.

Such teams will need certain processes in place to ensure business continuity. For instance:

  • Tools like Slack or Microsoft Teams can keep everyone connected, ensuring seamless communication.
  • Virtual stand-ups or weekly meetings can help teams stay aligned with company goals.
  • Instead of micromanaging, leaders should trust their team, focusing on output rather than hours spent.
  • Ensuring that remote team members don’t feel left out should be a priority for HR managers. Virtual team-building activities can foster camaraderie.
  • Understand that everyone has different peak productivity times and home situations can also go a long way in bettering the work-life balance.

Future tech teams might also regularly collaborate with AI tools or even AI “team members” to enhance productivity. Instead of rigid roles, team members might switch hats based on the project’s demands, promoting holistic skill development.

There is no doubt that companies will need to shift their current hiring practices and adopt remote and virtual-friendly processes to hire for this scenario. The right set of assessment and interviewing tools will help tech leaders identify talent fit from the early stages. Developers, too, will also need to be adaptable and willing to learn new skills in order to succeed in this new environment.

If you chase all the trends not only will you not keep up but you’ll likely lose sight of your core priorities. Technology should equip and enable you to serve your customers more effectively and expand the value you create for them. Technology isn’t self-justifying and you shouldn’t follow just any new trend. “Future-proofing” requires a deep understanding of your potential futures! What is your market, where do you have product/market fit, and what are your core competencies as a company? Focusing on the core drivers for your business will enable you to select a set of innovative technologies to keep an eye on and through that focus do a much better job avoiding change fatigue and avoid getting distracted with the latest shiny “innovation.”

Steve O’Brien, President of Staffing at

Organizations that invest in their current and future workforces invest in themselves. The key to truly succeed is to constantly experiment, fail, learn, grow—and not be afraid to start the process anew when the world invariably changes again.


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