Is cloud causing a perfect storm that will have a dramatic effect on IT jobs?
What are the symptoms, and what jobs are impacted?
If the last decade of 2000-2010 was all about virtualisation, then this decade is all about public, hybrid and private clouds. Both trends have an impact on the IT jobs landscape, but my experience and viewpoint tells me that the clouds are going to have a dramatic effect on the IT job landscape.
Many commentators are already stating that the future for on-premise IT is uncertain, and certainly in decline. That is going to have a direct impact on jobs.
First of all, workloads are moving to clouds meaning there is less for everyone else to do. If I run my enterprise workloads (or whatever) on Google, and I just need a couple of software administrators to manage the SaaS apps – why do I need all those network engs, DBAs, and all the others? In fact, if I can get the app users to admin their own apps then what happens to the traditional central IT functions?
Secondly, these “web scale” cloud operators run IT better than enterprises. This is *without question*. They have better availability, better security, better everything than your average IT shop. I recently read the Kelly Review in to the Co-operative Bank debacle: go get it and start at page 54 on the IT transformation project. The examples of bad practice are seen in many IT shops around the world. If you ran a public cloud like this, it would fail. Ergo, successful public clouds do not have these bad practices and they are fundamentally better places to run your workloads for most people, whether old stuff or cloud-native new stuff.
Thirdly, as traditional skills decline there is a need for new skills. Rather than know how to operate a HP Server’s KVM, now you need to know how to operate the Azure console. Instead of drawing up Visios for how this port connects to that port, now you need a more agile method for documenting how this application interfaces with that API. Instead of writing word documents for manual configurations, now you put your Powershell automation scripts into GIT and have them self-document.
Clouds. Software. APIs. These are the things that people need to grok.
The impact is going to be seen that enterprises need to change their IT org to reflect this new reality. Not everyone can repeat or mirror what AWS, Microsoft, Facebook and Netflix do. But you don’t have to, because you can use their services and they do it for you. All you need to do is change your IT org to interface to these providers.
So you need some cloud consumers, architects who can glue the services together, with a preference for using PaaS for all new projects and using cloud-based SaaS apps like Office 365 online instead of a 9 month project to install Sharepoint and everything else on-premise.
Change is coming faster and faster so if you’re an IT guy, plying your trade installing software and glueing stuff together you better start on your journey for being a cloud administrator. This will affect at least five major roles:
- Systems integrators and outsourcers – they already now focus on cloud because the old SI and SO contracts are a shrinking, low-margin business.
- Certifications – trainers, certification programmes of vendors. There is less to certify on, and it is less complex.
- Recruiters – if there are less roles, and less variance…
- Vendors – we are already seeing shrinking server and network sales, and large companies like EMC are software appliance-izing all their products and consolidating under one software API. Vendors are already not only losing deals to cloud, but they are not even being invited!
- Traditional administrators – the old days of documentation and manual configurations are going, and there’s less and less IT to manage, replaced by cloud interfaces.
Private cloud is mostly, today, a last gasp attempt for tradition IT folks to keep their jobs but there is a new type of private cloud coming that HAS to be deployed in the same manner as public cloud – it won’t need IT folks who want to customise it. So even that method of avoiding change will soon be closed.
If an organisation decides all of the above is not true, not happening, or is not relevant to them (perhaps a large financial institution?) and they continue as-is, I can’t help feel that it’s a denial position and not in the best interests of their business. The resistance to cloud is being eroded, even hedge funds are turning their face to the cloud to save millions.