[Excerpt] IT skills are more necessary than ever for competitive strategic initiatives. With the rise of shadow IT (unauthorized IT within organizations) and the ever-increasing skills gap in the IT labor market, companies need to invest in training and developing their IT technicians’ skills, no matter where they sit. With IT workers being a large part of the contingent workforce, they are susceptible to becoming underdeveloped and often lack the skills required to succeed in their positions. Typically, organizations have been focused on hard skills, but soft skills have become a requirement for IT departments. In typical working arrangements, soft IT skills are learned through on the job experience. Experiences such as relevant training and mentoring mechanisms offer opportunities for IT professionals to develop and refine their soft and hard skills. However, in highly outsourced environments these skills are less likely to be developed. Furthermore, with the development of new and exciting fields such as cloud, AI, and blockchain, IT technicians must develop new, rare, and difficult skills. According to Gartner, 20% of companies will need to allocate 10% of their IT staff on AI-related projects by 2020. With very little available talent in this space, this need will be difficult to fill.