IT professionals will need to be flexible and willing to self-train if they are to be successful, according to HP's head of innovation.
Ian Brooks was speaking to IT apprentices aged 16 to 18 at the National Skills Academy for IT's IT Gold Standard Apprentice Event in London. The event aimed to give the youngers, who already have the technical skills, a masterclass in soft skills such as public speaking and networking.
"Going forward, the kind of career I had, with 28 years in one company, is probably not going to happen.
"You have to self-train, you have to read, you have to study. You can't expect to be spoon-fed anymore. The world is moving too fast to spoon feed the information. You earn your success in life," said Brooks.
Brooks preferred to take an applied learning route into IT, first doing an ordinary national diploma in technology, electrical and electronics engineering at North Oxon Technical College, before doing a degree in engineering, electrical and electronics engineering at the University of Bradford.
He therefore encouraged the practical route into the IT industry being pursued by apprentices.
"I think for some people it's very clear what they want to do very early on [and they are] sufficiently motivated by academic work [so they go to university]," said Brooks.
"But other people want to do more applied work, more hands on work. [For example] applied learning about how to work with other people, how to deal with problem solving - not just technical skills."
Technical skills were of little use without soft skills, Brooks said.
"You need to have a good idea and you have to engage others," he said. "Without soft skills, you have a good idea that nobody is listening to."
There were around 80 apprentices, part of a programme run by the National Skills Academy for IT in partnership with BT and training provider NITP, at the event in London.
Each one is currently employed in paid apprenticeships with small and medium sized companies in one of three roles: IT technician, software or web developer and database analyst.
A total 425 apprentices are on the programme across the UK, employed by around 360 SMEs.