I started my career in software development. I wrote codes, performed system analysis, and software quality assurance. Then I switched to system and network administration, and infrastructure architecture. While the roles of software developers may not change that much (software programs need to be created), the roles of IT administrators, architects, analysts, and IT departments in general are changing. This is due to cheap hardware, smarter software and appliances, and the availability of the cloud.
I still remember some time ago when I would spend a lot of time troubleshooting a system. Today, due to redundant systems, off the shelves and online applications, and the use of appliances, troubleshooting times have been reduced to a minimum. When a component breaks, it’s easy to replace it.
IT companies are now selling converged network, server, and storage in a box which eliminated the need for elaborate architecture and implementation and has simplified IT operations.
With virtualization and the “cloud”, more and more applications and IT services (infrastructure as a service, software as a service, etc.) are being available online.
When it comes to IT, companies now have various choices – host their IT services externally via public cloud, build IT systems in house, or use the combination of the two.
Thus, the future role of IT professionals will be like brokers. When the business comes to them for a need, they should be able to deliver quickly and provide the best IT solution. They should be able to determine when to use the public cloud and when to use internal IT systems. The key is to understand the business. For instance, it may not make sense to put data in the cloud if you are concerned about security or if your company is regulated by the government. If your company is small, it may not make sense to build a costly IT infrastructure in house.
Successful IT professionals are not only technically savvy but also business savvy.