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Addressing the ICT Talent Shortage and Providing Support for the Digital Transformation

By Li Jisheng, Director of Brand Communication, Huawei Talent Ecosystem Development Dept

Innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), big data, cloud computing and Internet of things (IoT) in the information communications technology (ICT) area have become an important engine for driving the digital transformation of the social economy, and it is facilitating the growth of the ICT industry. However, opportunities usually come with challenges, and this holds true for the ICT's development and for the industrial digital transformation. One challenge is the huge deficit of ICT talent. Addressing the talent shortage has become a major challenge facing the industry.

In the coming two to three decades, technological progress will bring us into an intelligent world, where all things sense, all things are connected, and all things are intelligent. GIV 2025: Unfolding the Industry Blueprint of an Intelligent World, a white paper released by Huawei, forecasts that by 2025 there will be 40 billion AI-enabled personal smart devices, 90% of which will have an intelligent personal assistant. 12% of homes will have robots under their roofs. 100 billion connections will help to drive digital transformation in domains including public utilities, transportation, manufacturing, healthcare, agriculture, and finance. In this intelligent world we will see 180 billion TBs of data generated. 85% of enterprise applications will be on the cloud, 86% of global companies will adopt AI, and data utilization rates will skyrocket to 80%. This means that the new yearly generated data will become a constant source of innovative intelligence and value creation.

The Growth of the ICT Industry Stimulates the Growing Demand for Talent

As a knowledge-intensive industry, ICT depends heavily on talent resources, and the flourishing ICT ecosystem is further increasing this demand for talent. Based on the analysis of the industry's talent demand structure, Huawei believes there are three major challenges facing the supply and distribution of talent in the ICT industry.

There is a huge gap between the overall supply and demand of talent. According to statistics from China's National Bureau of Statistics and Ministry of Education, the ICT industry showed that 7.65 million educated professionals were needed in 2017, however the number of ICT graduates entering the workforce per year has not yet exceeded 1 million. There is a huge gap between the supply of talent and the demand for talent, and the rapid development of the ICT industry is set to further widen this gap. The overall talent deficit is projected to rise to 12.46 million by 2020.

There is a mismatch between talent quality and interdisciplinary industry demand. As the ICT industry develops, the supply chain segmentation continues to reshape the structural demand for talent. Instead of professionals who specialize in a single area, various types of ICT talent with diverse skill sets are needed. ICT companies are no longer satisfied with employees who can complete a task that may appear within a single skillset. They are looking for talent with comprehensive knowledge across multiple domains such as technology, product, marketing, business, and collaboration. However, there is currently a shortage of versatile talent who combine application capabilities, innovative competence, and an awareness of the importance of ICT.

The industry's demand for talent is concentrated in emerging segments. The development of the ICT industry is obviously guided by advanced companies from which other companies learn the technical experience they need to develop. The successful application of other emerging technology demonstrates the potential of the ICT industry in facilitating its growth. In the future, the majority of the industry's demand for talent is expected to concentrate in emerging segments such as cloud computing, big data, IoT, and AI. Meanwhile, companies will have increasingly stringent requirements in terms of technical competence, application skills, and overall capabilities. According to the China ICT Talent Ecosystem Whitepaper, in the cloud computing segment, enterprises prefer employees who can provide users with consulting and guidance on achieving the cloud deployment. In the big data segment, the most sought after skillset is a combination of data analysis capabilities and an understanding of business. In the IoT sector, employees must be able to apply their integrated knowledge systems to a variety of situations. In the AI segment, leading talents who can foster in-depth integration across the ICT industry are key to the industry's success. This is due to the fact that AI technology is now in the breakthrough stage for scenario-based application.

Facing these challenges, how can we set a comprehensive ICT talent development standard to accelerate the training of the talent that is in urgent demand throughout the ICT industry? How can we develop ICT talent better able to meet the demands of the industry's development?

Huawei Launches a New Certification Architecture and ICT Talent Development Standard

Huawei, based on years of experience fostering ICT talent and following the "platform + AI + ecosystem" strategy, has put forward an ICT talent development standard, featuring cloud-pipe-device synergy that is in alignment with Huawei's new ICT infrastructure. By leveraging years of practical experience and exploratory research in ICT talent certification, Huawei has restructured its former certification architecture to better align with the current level of ICT technologies and enterprises' ICT talent systems. The updated architecture is the only certification system in the industry to cover all ICT technical fields, including ICT Infrastructure Certification, Platform and Service Certification, and ICT Vertical Certification. This provides a more readily applicable, scientific basis for ICT talent development, and better accommodates to the rising demand for this talent in the industry.

Dedication to fostering innovative interdisciplinary talent

Huawei believes that digital transformation in the new ICT era is impossible to achieve with any single technology. Cloud technology relies on the connection of devices, while the value of data generated from connected devices relies on processing on the cloud. The synergy of cloud and devices is realized through network connections. Over the past several decades of practice and innovation, Huawei has developed a strong capability for realizing "cloud-pipe-device" synergy. Based on this experience, Huawei will enable ICT talent to meet industry demands for innovation and interdisciplinary skillsets in the coming era.

Three types of certification, each focusing on a different role

According to various positions and demands, the Huawei ICT Infrastructure Certification, Platform and Service Certification, and ICT Vertical Certification provide enterprises with multi-level talent development solutions regarding ICT infrastructure, the establishment of IT cloud platforms, the development of applications, and insight into the industrial application of ICT technologies.

ICT Infrastructure Certification focuses on developing ICT infrastructure professionals. Today, digital platforms are gradually becoming the core infrastructure for production systems in companies. Services are the main driving force behind ICT demand, and in turn, ICT infrastructure is one of the key factors shaping corporate business. The Huawei ICT Infrastructure Certification, with a focus on skills concerning basic ICT software and hardware, aims to foster talents with basic capabilities in planning, construction, and maintenance of ICT infrastructure.

The Platform and Service Certification focuses on the development of professionals who can build cloud platforms and deploy services. As open and shared resources become more common and relevant in the new ICT era, the application of open infrastructures and cloud platforms will become a must for all enterprises. The Huawei Platform and Service Certification, with a focus on cloud technologies and cloud service deployment, aims to foster talents capable of integrating businesses, technologies, and applications. Further, in addition to being able to build and operate cloud platforms and architectures, they will be able to develop new technical applications based on cloud platforms.

The ICT Vertical Certification focuses on developing ICT experts. ICT technologies are increasingly applied in a wide variety of industries. Some ICT practitioners have even raised the concern that ICT talent without interdisciplinary skills and knowledge are likely to end up without employment prospects. With this in mind, developing an all-round knowledge of both the ICT industry and ICT technologies is in the best way to stand out in the labor market. The Huawei ICT Vertical Certification highlights the typical applications and best practices for industry cognition and ICT infrastructure in vertical industries. It aims to help experienced technical professionals develop capabilities for innovation and interdisciplinary integration, turning them into ICT experts with an in-depth understanding of both technology and business.

Offering certification in new technical directions, closely following trends in technological development

As mentioned above, the majority of industry demand for ICT talent is concentrated in emerging segments. Over the past two years, by following the technological development trends and the growing demand for talent, Huawei has begun to offer certification that is focused in technical directions including cloud computing, cloud service, big data, IoT and AI. Based on industry demand, these certifications are designed to closely match emerging requirements for ICT talent. Specifically, the Huawei Cloud Computing Certification aims to foster talent capable of building cloud infrastructure and platforms, addressing enterprises' shortage of cloud-building talent. The training, with a focus on Huawei's cloud products and solutions, uses mainstream cloud technologies such as OpenStack and containers to help trainees obtain the skills and knowledge needed in the planning, design, development, maintenance, and troubleshooting of cloud computing. Huawei Cloud Service Certification aims to foster DevOps engineers who can meet enterprises' demand for talent in cloud service deployment. Once they complete the training, they will have a solid grasp of state-of-the-art public cloud technologies, and will be able to use Huawei's software to develop cloud services. The Huawei Big Data Certification aims to foster talent capable of building, developing, operating and maintaining big data platforms. Following training, they will have a working knowledge system of current, mainstream big data technologies and will possess the competence needed to solve industrial problems through their big data expertise. IoT Certification aims to foster talent capable of secondary development through their basic knowledge of Huawei's IoT solutions. AI Certification aims to foster professionals who understand the basic theories of AI and can apply mainstream AI architectures to the development of innovative applications.

Based on this comprehensive talent development standard, Huawei hopes to work with a range of entities including partners, education management authorities and institutions, to build a positive, open, and cooperative ICT talent ecosystem. By 2023, Huawei expects to create a pool of over 700,000 trained professionals for the ICT industry. Doing so will reduce the talent deficit facing the ICT industry, facilitate the digital transformation of industries, and contribute to the steady and continuous development of ICT.

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Enterprise Service Special Issue 01(06/2019)

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