Are IT Roles Facing Extinction? A Rebuttal

Editor’s Note: On June 25, we ran the piece IT Roles Facing Extinction, which came from a Global Knowledge news article. This excellent rebuttal was submitted to us a few days later, and we have permission to post it here. 

For this reply, I’m assuming that a huge base of Global Knowledge’s customers are involved in the DoD. For those customers, your article couldn’t be further from the truth. I manage a virtual environment for six sites in the USAF; each with a classified and unclassified enclave, so I feel I can speak to this intelligibly:

I. Programming

Outsourced programming is a very, very touchy subject with the DoD. If it is found that even one line of code was written by Israeli or Russian programmers, there is a high chance that it will not be accredited. For this reason, many contracts are awarded for programming support for the DoD. I literally get hundreds of emails each month due to my development experience on my resume (not to mention my security credentials).

As for mobile apps, they are growing in the DoD (albeit slowly), but they are not likely to be a significant source of programming dollars in the near future.

II. Datacenter

The military has thousands of datacenters worldwide. The DoD GIG is the world’s largest network. To assume that datacenters will go away is, I’m sorry, naïve. Due to the sensitive nature of DoD data, there will ALWAYS be datacenters to host that environment… and a lot of them.

Discounting the military piece, do you think that the virtual infrastructure that maintains this virtual environment literally lives in the clouds? Of course it doesn’t. It runs in very large datacenters. Those datacenters require technical administrators in droves. As thin clients expand, datacenters will grow even more. If initiatives like Microsoft’s Virtual Desktop take off, then there will be less PCs in the home and work center and more in the “cloud”. These servers still need to be managed regardless of whether they’re virtual or physical.

III. Data Technology

Again, with the DoD, data tech is critical to mission systems. Oracle, SQL, and to this day… even dbase administrators are highly sought, hard to find, and highly compensated.

IV. Security

It is my opinion that, even for a DoD client, outsourcing security is a ridiculous idea. I’ve spent many years performing Certification and Accreditation (C&A) for DoD information systems. It is a huge job that is very rarely done right. Every time it is not done right, bad things happen. If you have worked information assurance (IA), you would know it is growing exponentially… both in the gov’t sector as well as the private sector. In fact, many corporations are mimicking the DoD DIACAP approach to IA and C&A. With the amount of high-visibility breaches (from companies that DO utilize the cloud), it would be negligent to not take an internal approach to security. Vulnerabilities (especially unpublicized ones) are a valuable commodity, bought and sold to the highest bidder.  Entrusting outsiders to your weaknesses is a recipe for disaster.

Guest Author Chris Cabuzzi, CISSP, CASP ESC/HNID, SCE/ARES Site Lead

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1 comment

  1. nc Reply

    I am glad that someone like Chris still know what IT means. Behind every virtual technology is a physical one. People always will be needed to interact with technology be it virtual. BTW without physical systems there is no virtual systems. So it is naive to actually spend the time to write an article like this. That’s what was said about the use of PAPER 20 years ago. Paper is being used more now than ever.