Last week Apple officially launched its much anticipated iCloud service at the Worldwide Developer Conference in San Francisco. CEO Steve Jobs made reference to a $1 billion iDataCenter, suggesting that Apple has big plans for the future of Cloud Computing.
This just further highlights the fact that Cloud is here to stay, so what exactly does that mean for the future of IT — and IT professionals — in the job market?
Cloud computing will undoubtably help companies cut IT costs while also possibly improving performance levels and efficiencies. While many companies have concerns over security and data confidentiality, the advancements in technology over the next few years will make it impossible for companies to deny the benefits of cloud. With greater demand, IT professionals will need the requisite skills to add value, and for some, this might mean a change in skill set and specialism.
Post-recession, many IT projects that had been put on hold are back on track and over-worked, over-stretched technology teams are hoping to benefit from additional resources and head count. Unfortunately, the IT skills shortage resulting from increased demand means that many companies cannot access the talent they need. Once implemented, cloud should alleviate some of these challenges. Professionals once dedicated to server functionality and maintenance will need to be reallocated to focus on solution architecture, business systems analysis, security and business intelligence. Over the long run, the adoption of cloud may result in skills shortages in these other areas.
Systems administrators in particular need to re-evaluate their skills and find opportunities to add value in other areas of the business. While some opportunities will exist with companies providing cloud platforms, other IT professionals will need to re-purpose themselves to other areas of the business. Already many Universities and technical schools are shifting their training programs to incorporate cloud and other advancements in technology. For those already in the business, the need to adapt and keep skills sharp has never before been so important. Today’s IT professional needs to be two steps ahead to remain current.
The shift to cloud may also prompt the need for additional project managers and consultants on an interim basis to help companies prepare for the shift, along with permanent staff to manage the program post-implementation. Professionals will be able to focus their attention to business strategy and end-user training to help companies leverage the efficiencies of the cloud. The fear that the in-house IT professional will disappear is therefore unfounded. Technology is leading the recovery and as long as companies and IT professionals remain current, opportunities abound.
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