SolarWinds IT Pro Day Survey Finds IT Pros Gained Confidence, New Skills Amidst Pandemic

Annual IT Pro Day survey reveals organizations must rethink traditional IT strategy to succeed in new normal.

SolarWinds, a leading provider of powerful and affordable IT management software, announced the findings from its IT Pro Day 2020 survey: You Were Built for This. The survey results explore IT professionals’ journeys throughout COVID-19, how their responsibilities shifted in response to this unprecedented event, and how they envision the role of IT evolving in the future. The survey supports IT Professionals Day, which is observed on the third Tuesday of every September (September 15, 2020), and aims to celebrate all IT pros and recognize the expanding range of technologies they manage and the rapid pace of change they face.

This year’s findings revealed nearly two-thirds (64%) of surveyed IT pros were instilled with a new sense of confidence, despite contending with challenges such as reduced budgets, greater decision-making responsibilities, and longer hours caused by their organizations’ response to the pandemic. Likewise, just under half (46%) feel empowered to bring more ideas to the table while 58% say they now feel more prepared to succeed in similar unexpected situations.

“The success of organizations during this unique time is due in large part to IT pros’ preparedness and inherent ability to adapt and manage through substantial change,” said Rani Johnson, chief information officer, SolarWinds. “2020—and the unexpected COVID-19 pandemic—is proof positive IT pros are built for moments like these. What’s particularly encouraging is IT pros’ perception and expectation IT will be included in more business-level decision-making moving forward. The dedication of IT pros around the world to ensuring business resiliency and continuity over the past several months serves to elevate and empower the IT community to work alongside business leaders to meet bigger organizational goals.”

This newfound self-confidence, combined with IT pros’ achievements during this time, will completely transform how IT is viewed by the business in the future. IT may earn a more prominent voice in the C-suite, as 40% of surveyed IT pros believe they will now be involved in more business-level meetings. Likewise, IT’s role will be up-leveled due to the vast upskilling more than a quarter (26%) of IT pros underwent during this experience. With 31% admitting there’s a need to rethink internal processes to better accommodate the rapid change of pace required post-COVID, it’s highly likely a focus on IT pros’ upskilling will continue into the future.

“As always, with new responsibilities comes the need for new skills. While almost half of survey respondents felt they received the training required to adapt to changing IT requirements, nearly one-third experienced the opposite, and are at risk of being left behind as IT teams continue to grapple with how best to support the new normal,” said Johnson. “At SolarWinds, we understand that for IT pros to reach their potential requires sufficient tools, resources, training, and budget. We aim to provide IT pros what they need to tackle the challenges in front of them head-on, whether it’s through our comprehensive offering of easy-to-use, affordable IT operations management solutions, or through resources like our Customer Success Center, MSP Institute, SolarWinds Academy, and THWACK® community of over 150,000 registered members. We hope this new normal, one that sees IT departments align more closely with the C-suite, will bring with it even more support for IT pros—and make their jobs easier as they continue on their journey to supporting business continuity.”

Key Findings:

The IT Pro Day 2020 survey: You Were Built for This polled global technology professionals who participate in the SolarWinds THWACK user community to shine a light on how their roles, responsibilities, and day-to-day experiences were shaped amidst the ongoing global pandemic. 

IT pros said they’ve gained an increased sense of confidence in their expanded roles, responsibilities, and ability to adapt to unexpected change in the future, despite contending with more challenging working conditions over the course of the pandemic.

  • Respondents said longer work hours due to stretched teams (29%), more responsibility (28%) and decision-making requirements (28%), and a general increase in job-related stress (22%) were the leading ways in which day-to-day roles evolved in response to the impact of COVID-19.
  • Still, almost two-thirds (64%) agreed this experience—including changes to their day-to-day tasks—has given them a new sense of confidence in managing unprecedented change.
    • 46% say the work they accomplished has empowered them to bring new ideas to the table.
    • 58% say they now feel more prepared to succeed in any similar unprecedented situations in the future, while another 29% report feeling prepared to manage change but require additional resources, training, and support. 
  • Given the achievements of IT pros during this period, 40% of respondents say they believe IT will be included in more business-level meetings and decision-making moving forward.

The implications of COVID-19 accelerated IT pros’ ongoing efforts to upskill in critical competencies, such as systems management, network management, and security policy and compliance.

  • Over a quarter (26%) of IT pros said it was necessary to learn new skills to support their organizations’ transitions to a remote workforce.
  • The top skills IT pros reported as the most important for development:
    • Systems management (55%)
    • Network management (50%)
    • Security policy and compliance (43%)
    • Hybrid IT monitoring/management tools and metrics (28%)
  • 47% said they received the training they needed to learn these new skills; however, a quarter (25%) are still waiting for those training resources to be made available.
  • The breadth of skills IT pros needed during this time shows how silos are disappearing, as roles start to blur together. In fact, as explored in the SolarWinds IT Trends Report 2020: The Universal Language of IT, today there is more crossover between traditional roles than there has ever been before and we will continue to see these lines blur until most silos are completely gone.

In the coming months, IT organizations must undergo technology, process, and team transformations to accommodate the new IT requirements associated with extended remote-work scenarios post-pandemic.

  • Over two-thirds of respondents (71%) felt supporting a remote workforce struck a balance in which certain aspects of day-to-day management were better, while others were more challenging.
    • 31% agree there’s a need to rethink internal processes to better accommodate the more rapid pace of change required post-COVID.
    • While 18% of respondents reported their toolsets and technologies fell short in addressing the unique challenges of remote workforces, nearly one-third (28%) of IT pros flagged a need to consolidate existing solution suites (and their vendors) to simplify management, maintenance, and cost of upkeep.
  • Although the majority of IT organizations successfully managed the transition to remote work and played a critical role in ensuring business continuity, IT pros expect several trends to shape the future of their respective IT organizations:
    • Greater cross-team collaboration (53%)
    • More responsibility (46%)
    • IT inclusion in more business-level meetings and decision-making (41%)
    • Tighter budgets (even post-economic recovery) (26%)
    • More opportunity to upskill/attend trainings (25%)

The findings are based on a survey fielded in July 2020, yielding responses from 122 IT practitioners, managers, and directors from public- and private-sector small, mid-size, and enterprise companies who participate in the SolarWinds THWACK user community.

IT Professionals Day

IT Professionals Day annually recognizes and celebrates all IT professionals, regardless of discipline. Whereas holidays, such as System Administrator Appreciation Day, recognize one category of the profession, IT Professionals Day honors not only system administrators, but network engineers, database administrators, information security professionals, developers, MSPs, IT support technicians, and all other professionals serving in IT-related roles. Please visit to learn more.

Bekki Barnes

With 5 years’ experience in marketing, Bekki has knowledge in both B2B and B2C marketing. Bekki has worked with a wide range of brands, including local and national organisations.