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Cloud Jobs: Skyrocketing is an Understatement

IT Jobs Today

The feared scenario for the administrators is that everything will be outsourced to the cloud providers and there will be no more demand for them. For the past couple of months I’m trying to convince my fellow system administrators and network engineers that this simply is not the case. I am not the only person who is thinking this way. IDC’s latest report says that compared to today, about 14 million new jobs will be generated by cloud computing until the end of 2015.

We need to stop and think.

As IT administrators, we have our own skills: we troubleshoot (and masochistically love it), we can work with very complex problems, we are managing things that are unbelievably connected to each other, each with its own set of difficulties, we are integrating applications. The most important thing is that our environment is under constant change. Just think about what you are doing two years ago and compare it to now. Let me tell you the story on my side. Two years ago I was trying to find out which filled up C drive has caused the server to crash and in turn caused the Intranet application to fail and how could I possibly connect to the server to clean up the drive. Today I am helping my colleagues to manage the datacenter: I inform my Exchange Admins to check particular databases for free space, my Lync Admin to check the front end server and the like. And the filling up C drive? I am already informed in advance and I cleared it up; the application never crashed again.

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See the change here?

We’re changing, as everything is around us. Since the change is everyday we sometimes fail to understand it. We cannot rationalize that the change that we experienced during the last two years did not swallow our job and it will not swallow for the next years given that we embrace the change. We need to adapt.

As IT professionals we can adapt faster than anyone: this is our core competency. Can you imagine yourself not adapting to Active Directory concepts when it appeared in Windows Server 2000? You would be dead. I’m speaking about the same thing today. If we cannot adapt to the cloud, we will be dead tomorrow. So what are the doomsayers telling us?

What they are telling is, if you do not have any servers in your datacenter, you will be essentially “jobless.” They see IT only as hardware and operating system maintenance. I disagree: if that would be the case, there would be many IT pros unemployed by virtualization implementations.

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The IT pros today (virtually all of use) will have different job descriptions tomorrow as I have already said. Here is what I see in the near future:

  1. Exchange 2010 SP1 Install Check

    Many Messaging Admins will prefer managing users rather than feeling the cold sweat running down their spine whilst applying these hotfixes and the service pack.

    Server/Enterprise Admins: If we choose to work in the infrastructure level, we will either be managing our servers in the private cloud or in the public cloud,

  2. Server/Enterprise Admins: If we choose not to work in the infrastructure level, or our company has migrated 100% to the public cloud, we will be monitoring service levels, performance levels and/or managing contractors,

  3. Mail/Instant Messaging/Sharepoint Admins: They will no longer be interested in what the new hotfix will have some “implications” on the Exchange environment. They will rather be thinking about the user quotas, user management, document management etc.. While someone else in the infrastructure level will be thinking about the performance, they will be thinking about providing better service to their enterprise,

  4. Network Engineers: Their workload will be more stressful. Since the cloud is almost all about connection, they need to provide and support 100% uptime,

  5. Database Admins: I don’t see any change for them. Today they are reporting their performance requirements to the server admins and tomorrow they will be reporting to the cloud providers; public or private,

  6. Database Developers: Again I don’t see any change. And I don’t think they will think a second where they are developing their Business Intelligence: either their own computers or in the cloud.

  7. IT/Enterprise Architects: This is a business/system analyst’s job transformed to the system administrator. I expect some system administrators to shift to the business side and work on business – IT integration (I have discussed it in detail under “Where is IT Heading to” article).

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It is clear that when we embrace the change, new opportunities will unfold. Armed with our knowledge in the datacenter, we will be more powerful in the cloud. We will no longer be interested in many of our trivial tasks today. And I strongly recommend you the same, to rethink everything from a new perspective.

I am very excited about the cloud future. I am sure you will be too.

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