Tech industry experts are saying that tech jobs with desktop support in the Information Technology department will be declining sharply thanks to cloud computing. Why is this happening? A large majority of companies and government agencies will rely on the cloud for more than half of their IT services by 2020, according to Gartner’s 2011 CIO Agenda Survey.
Makes tons of sense considering the advantages of cloud computing: easier updates, synched and secured files. If you’re in need of a primer of what cloud computing is and how it would be helpful, check out this video:
Does this mean that IT support will become obsolete? Will IT people become jobless or has desktop support turned into a dinosaur? Not exactly. But we can expect that IT people will extend their skills to cloud management. It makes sense considering the power of what the cloud can do. Google’s Gmail, Microsoft’s Office 365 and Adobe’s Creative Cloud are all good examples of apps running in the cloud.
So what happens to server admins? Is their time up? John Rivard, Gartner research director said that, while there will still be roles for people who want to specialize in general IT support, those professionals are going to need a grasp of corporate demands “or the business will bypass them”.
“The cloud is an ability to commoditise the non-differentiating aspects of IT, and increasingly IT’s role in differentiating the business is bigger and bigger,” says Rivard. “The kinds of roles are definitely going to change: you’re going to see much more automation, more cloud capabilities and less hands-on administration. Across the board, every organization that I talk to is asking How can I use less of the resources that I have on the run, and more of it on driving the business?”
This will mean that more IT people will get more into business analysis as more companies will need to know which apps will work best not only for the employees but for the business itself. Currently, there are development teams that refine use cases and requirements to build the next version of the web app. So, does this mean that IT will get into more programming and development? Most likely. And as more part of an app become more specialized to be built (i.e. Database, Business Rules, etc.) for developers, they will need the infrastructure to built it on. This is how IT guy can stand out.
“There are not going to be fewer people involved in IT, but they will be involved in IT in different ways,” says COO Howard Elias at storage giant EMC. “If you are a server, storage or network admin, there may be fewer of those dedicated – what I call siloed component – skillsets needed.”
IT professionals looking to transition into one of these new, more business-orientated roles will also face competition not just from other techies, but from business analysts, programmers, database engineers and user interface designers who’ve trained to fill these positions as well as those who’ve amassed experience over the years.
However, Rivard says that there is an older generation of IT guys that is working towards retirement and will leave many open positions that will slow down the eventual turnover to cloud computing. “You’ve got the baby boomer retirement that’s going to take a significant part of legacy staff off the map. Also I don’t think we’re producing enough graduates on the technology or the business side, so I expect there is going to be a competition for the talent,” says Rivard.
IT is in a constant state of flux with technologies coming and going every year, said Rivard, and so expects IT professionals to be able to handle the coming change.
So, are you an IT guy? And if you are, is your company or business slowly moving towards the cloud computing or do you foresee less companies making the leap to the cloud?