How to Upskill Employees to Fill the Tech Skills Gap

Having an in-person element for tech training programs allows employees to hone myriad soft skills, such as creativity, problem solving, and communication, while also learning to code.

As technology continues to transform industries, the need for skilled IT workers to fill positions continues to be a challenge. A survey found that 60 percent of U.S. employers with job openings have those positions vacant for 12 weeks or longer, costing organizations more than $800,000 annually. Organizations must reevaluate the way they train their workforce and how they can upskill their existing employees for these new jobs, and keep pace with the technology that has become crucial for every position.

The common solution of transitioning to digital training platforms because of their cost effectiveness, speed, and simplicity doesn’t address all the challenges surrounding the issue. I work with a tech training organization in rural California and we’ve seen a vast number of working professionals take tech courses to gain new skills their professions demand. In other cases, professionals looking to switch careers or increase their earning potential turn to tech courses to gain new skills. Many organizations likely employ people who would like to upgrade their skill set in order to climb the ladder, and there is an opportunity to leverage their interest in tech skill to fill talent gaps from within and drive the business. 

A recent survey showed that 84 percent of workers believe they have been affected by the skills gap, and 51 percent would quit a job that didn’t provide the necessary training. Based on these statistics, it’s safe to assume almost all organizations not only have a growing need for tech training skills, but risk losing current employees who fear falling behind if such training isn’t offered. 

The Human Element

So how do companies go about upskilling their own staff with tech skills? There are different educational paths companies can undertake. Online courses are one option; a more traditional route of an in-class setting is another. My experience and a growing body of research show that an in-person training program is more effective and more desirable for employers looking to create employees who are ready to move on to the next level of their careers.

Trainees aren’t just learning how to code. Organizations are training/investing in the future leaders in their companies and these managers are going to require more than just tech skills. Having an in-person element for tech training programs allows employees to hone myriad soft skills, such as creativity, problem solving, and communication, while also learning to code. While that’s not the primary reason they are taking coding courses, having a well-rounded employee who is able to find creative ways around problems and communicate effectively is an added incentive. 

In addition, having employees learn in a classroom setting increases the likelihood of retention and understanding. Having someone on-hand to answer questions and challenge their understanding is not possible with an online course. 

When it comes to upskilling employees and providing them with training that will keep them engaged while also filling the growing demand for tech skills within organizations, consider the human element of training. It may be the overlooked part of a training program that will help organizations remain competitive in the coming years.

As CEO of Geekwise Academy (, Bethany Mily directs the day-to-day operations of the accelerated training program, focused on providing real-world technology skills to students of all ages. She sits on Fresno Unified School District’s Career Technical Education Advisory Board and is a member of several educational design teams to help districts develop innovative programming. Contact her via e-mail at: or on LinkedIn at:

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