Cloud Computing is one of the biggest catalysts of change within the IT Industry. On the one hand, it provides businesses and organizations a way to be more productive, cost-effective, and to reduce the burden of data management. On the other hand, it has struck fear in a large number of networking professionals and systems administrators, due to the misconception that cloud computing will make the environment completely automated and self-functioning, therefore making traditional IT positions redundant. Worse still is the misconception that cloud computing means that there will no longer be any network to manage within the company.
While it is true that cloud computing, like any major technological evolution, will bring both disruption and change, its effects are not as apocalyptic for the careers of traditional IT guys as they make it out to be. For one thing, even though more than 50% of enterprises today are planning to move their IT environment to the cloud, the transition itself will take a lot of time and will go through several stages, from operational, to technological and ultimately to organizational stage. Traditional IT positions will not be gone in one fell swoop.
Additionally, cloud computing is not necessarily fully automated. The IT tasks are just moved to a different location, and it is in that new location where IT positions will be available in abundance.
On the company side, there is still a need for systems administrators and IT staff. As said above, the cloud is not fully automated, and non-IT end users need someone to train and guide them with the usage, as well as to serve as the median in case something is wrong with the service. However, the shift in the industry also means that the skill sets needed for managing the new cloud-centric IT will be different from what IT guys are used to, but it’s not such a big departure that they won’t be able to learn and adapt fast enough. Traditional IT professionals just need to set aside some time to learn new standards and study new IT tools, but it’s nothing that we haven’t seen before in other industries that have experienced paradigm shifts.
One of the biggest challenges for IT guys, is that the new cloud-centric industry removes the silo effect on departments and different organizations, so there is an increased importance on “people” skills – which is something that used to be lacking in IT organizations (and in some cases deemed unnecessary if an individual possesses enough technical aptitude).
The ray of hope for traditional IT professionals come from the fact that enterprises don’t really want to get rid of the IT departments. Rather, they aim to find a way to evolve or change the department into a more strategic business unit in their organization. In this line of thought, change and disruption brought by cloud computing is not a bad thing, as it doesn’t make the IT department unnecessary, but instead makes them more critical to the business.