Does Cloud Computing Mean You Are Out of Work?

I was recently asked on Twitter if I thought that cloud computing was going to mean less work for IT Pros.  Here are my thoughts in bullet point format for easy consumption:

  1. The computer meant less work for all kinds of office workers who’s jobs were replaced by computers.  However companies that brought in computers became more efficient, grew as a business, and quickly had more (better?) work for those employees to be doing.
  2. Java/C# is more efficient (from a labor perspective) and less error-prone than C/C++ which is more efficient and less error-prone than assembly.  We use these better “tools” to produce better and less error-prone programs with a lot less effort.
  3. When NT started to replace Novell it left a lot of systems administrators who did not update (upgrade?) their skills with limited work options.  In this industry we are expected to almost continually be updating our skill set.  When anyone working in technology stops learning they quickly become less and less relevant.

Do I think that a drastic shift to cloud computing will mean those at the bottom of the IT Pro totem pole will be in trouble?  Yes.  Does that bother me?  No.  The IT Pro profession is not going anywhere.

  1. The cloud vendors are going to need people to run their clouds, and they are going to need highly skilled, highly paid, and highly respected IT Pros to do that job.  IT Pros that install the operating system from a CD need not apply.
  2. I am an IT Pro but by and large the job I do is not being replaced by the cloud.  I architect IT solutions to meet business needs.  Cloud Computing has just given me another tool to offer my clients to meet those needs.
  3. The IT Pros that right now do a job that a script could do in a fraction of the time are giving us all a bad name.  If I was paying someone to create accounts all day I would not be happy.  I would much rather pay someone like me (and hopefully you) to automate that process based off of HR data (just as an example).

Cloud Computing is a new technological challenge we are faced with.  Learn to adapt.  Stop trying to determine how to hold onto the job you have and start trying to determine how to get the next job that you want.

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