Learning & Development

The Future of Learning Investment for Technology Companies

QA has analysed its own data to to reveal what is impacting trends today, and what we expect to influence learning investment in the future.

A part of QA’s 2024 Learning Insights series.

For technology companies, it is often trite but true that “innovation is the currency of progress.” Our internal QA expert Jeremy Price describes technology as “a downward-moving escalator: if you just stand still, you’ll fall behind.” Thus, continuous learning and upskilling is paramount – but in what areas? And what tech training do we predict will rise to the fore in the coming months?

As the largest tech training provider in the UK, QA has analysed our internal data of thousands of companies. This article explores the trends shaping the investment landscape in learning and development (L&D) within the technology sector to reveal what is impacting trends today, and what we expect to influence learning investment in the future.


A shift toward sustainable growth, not an AI bubble.

The ethos of 'growth at all costs' was out of fashion in 2023. Global headwinds, including high inflation and economic uncertainties, prompted UK tech companies to continue their path toward digital transformation but pivot to “a real focus on ROI as companies weighed up spending to achieve cost savings against expenditure for gaining potential longer-term benefits”, as HSBC’s Roland Emmans, Head of UK Tech Sector and Growth Lending, put it.

Software and Managed IT Services were resilient during 2023. We expect to see a tech resurgence for companies who can practically apply the transformative potential of Cloud, AI, and Data.

This means focusing on the talent and tools to harness Cloud, Data, and AI – building sustainable solutions that resonate in the market, rather than resting on an ‘AI bubble.’

According to Deloitte, analysts project a significant growth in public cloud spending, exceeding 20%, alongside a heightened demand for cybersecurity solutions. Moreover, investments in AI are poised to reach unprecedented levels, with economists forecasting a global expenditure of $200 billion by 2025.

Talent reshaping the landscape

In the race towards technological supremacy, the scarcity of skilled talent looms as a critical impediment. Recognising the imperative of upskilling, tech companies are swiftly pivoting towards investing in the latest advancements in cloud services, data analytics, and cybersecurity regulations. The mantra of 'smart, sustainable, and AI-assisted growth' underscores the industry's resolve to navigate the evolving terrain of technology.

While instructor-led learning (VILT) remains popular in the UK, we see the demand for constantly current skills and applied learning in cohorts. QA’s digital subscription service (Cloud Academy courses and labs) and applied workshops are quickly rising in popularity as a ‘blended’ solution to tech relevance and upskilling.


Bridging the Gap - Upskilling for the Future

While AI dominates headlines and earnings calls, the translation of interest into learning investments remains incomplete. Despite the burgeoning curiosity surrounding AI, investments in foundational areas such as data science and AI remain relatively subdued. This is already shifting in early 2024 as companies define their AI strategies and embrace learning to achieve mission-critical milestones.

Applied Learning: More than Tech Certification

The L&D tide is turning in favour of hands-on, applied learning methodologies, emerging as indispensable tools for skill acquisition and innovation. Not just tech companies, but the market at large is looking for more than mere certifications. We see this in the development of Microsoft’s Applied Skills, QA’s ‘Practical Application’ Course series for IT Service Management, and the hands-on labs within our VILT and on-demand learning offerings.

Cloud Ascendancy: A Path to Modernisation

Cloud services are a focal point of learning investments. As the linchpin of modern technological requirements, the cloud serves as an enabler for machine learning, AI, and generative AI. Moreover, recent AI-related cloud services and tools – such as Amazon Q to make it easier to build in AWS and new tools within Azure AI Studio for GenAI quality and safety management – offer bleeding-edge capabilities that contain real promise for tech companies and the economy at large.

But these new services are just one piece of the puzzle; another is to learn and leverage them within the strategic goals of the business. This imperative of applied learning resonates deeply, driving the adoption of practical workshops and cohorts to foster experimentation and innovation.


Navigating the Path Ahead

Cybersecurity and Agile methodologies are slated for significant growth, underpinned by a heightened awareness of security imperatives and the need for agile development practices. Cloud and virtualisation continue to dominate the investment landscape, alongside a burgeoning interest in the softer skills: QA’s Managing, Leading, and Personal Effectiveness portfolio.

The Imperative of Practical Application

Again, the clamour for practical application of IT knowledge reverberates across the industry. “Customers crave practical application of IT knowledge,” says Capability Lead in IT Service Management at QA, Paul Wigzel.

“We predict ITIL 4 will remain the standard framework for Service management. But we’re also seeing rumblings of discontent that standard service management training is great at helping businesses and individuals understand the subject but fails to help people understand HOW to put that knowledge into practice.”

In response, QA’s new paradigm of 'Practical Application' courses are expected to gain even more traction – along with hands-on labs, instructor-led labs, and cohort-based workshops – equipping individuals with the tools to translate knowledge into tangible outcomes.

To find out more about how QA’s learning solutions can help you upskill and reskill your talent, contact us today.

Written by QA, with insights drawn from anonymised learning investment data and industry trends.

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