Will Cloud Computing Put IT Professionals Out of Work?

Will Cloud Computing Put IT Professionals Out of Work?

You don’t need me to tell you that Cloud Computing is all the rage in IT shops around the world. And no wonder–the prospect of lowering costs, pay-as-you-go-pricing, and unlimited elasticity would make any CIO smile. As a consultant, I can assure you that talking to IT executives about the Cloud is no longer a question of whether or not to move to the Cloud. It’s more a question of when and how.

But not everyone in the IT shop is fired up about Cloud. We still run into resistance. From compliance officers worried about legal and security issues? Sometimes. But the real source of resistance are the IT personnel themselves. Techies are often the greatest roadblock to Cloud adoption.

What’s going on here? You’d think that the techies would be all over Cloud. And truth be told, it’s hard to find a techie today without his or her own Amazon Web Services account. But when it comes to the enterprise Cloud strategy, the techies are digging in their heels.

The concern, of course, is that moving enterprise IT to the cloud will put the techies out of work. If you’ve been spending your career configuring servers, then Cloud means never having to touch a physical server again. All those years of experience down the tubes, right?

Not so fast. It’s true that Cloud Computing promises to be enormously transformative. But the demand for good techies is not going away. True, your role may change. You may have to gain some new skills. But if you’re a techie worth his/her salt, then you’ve made a career learning new skills. Are you using any of the same tools or technologies you were using ten years ago? Of course not.

Perhaps the greatest fear is that Cloud means automating the operational environment, so if your job is taking care of that environment, then automation will jeopardize your job, just as auto assembly line robots put factory workers out of work. But don’t forget: you’re not a factory worker. You’re an IT professional. You deal with changing technology all the time.

After all, it was the techies who programmed those factory robots. And it’s the techies who write the automation scripts that take advantage of Cloud environments.

We’re still in the very early days of Cloud scripting–maybe some basic virtual machine configurations and the like. But the sky’s the limit. We’ve gone from single computer environments–“the computer is the computer” to distributed computing environments–“the network is the computer,” and now we’re just beginning to learn how to build software that drives Cloud automation–“the Cloud is the computer.”

It’s a great time to be a techie. If you’re any good, your job won’t be at risk. If anything, demand for techies is only going to increase. Maybe it’s time to ask for a raise!


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