Technology is Changing IT Roles. Are You Keeping Up or Falling Behind?

Constant change and turnover in tools, technologies and skillsets is a given in the modern world of information technology. IT roles and responsibilities continue evolving in response to the digital transformation that’s ongoing in most organizations. Small, medium-sized, or large organizations must cope with change as they seek to survive—and hopefully, thrive—in this ever-shifting landscape.

Let’s examine IT’s biggest and most recent changes, and discuss how to best adapt to ensure you don’t fall behind.

Virtualization Gives Way to Cloud Services

A decade ago, the shape and scope of IT was thoroughly reworked by virtualization. Companies and organizations switched from server- and client-based computing to virtualized clusters, resulting in the convergence of virtualized storage, networking and computing in highly-leveraged data centers. IT professionals’ focus shifted from managing operating systems and discrete client-server applications to managing hypervisors, virtual machines and virtual infrastructures.

Ten years later, IT is remaking itself once again, as the focus shifts full-bore to cloud computing. Behind the scenes, many of the same building blocks are at work (VMs, SDN, VSANs). But there’s a new face on top of the “as-a-service” movement (SaaS, PaaS, IaaS) that is moving IT more in the direction of policy-based DevOps. In this latest incarnation of IT, concerns about governance, compliance and security drive technology forward. Enterprise architects work with specialists from many areas—business, applications, storage, networking and more—to enable on-demand access to new infrastructures as they’re needed, and to tear them down and turn them off when they’re not. 

IT professionals need a whole new world view, along with new sets of knowledge and skills, to get the job done. And these changes don’t quite happen overnight, but they still happen quickly. The ability to easily transition to new roles is often dependent on how quickly training can be arranged. If you have training readily available, you and your team will already be one step ahead.

 

Cybersecurity Isn’t Just for Security Professionals

Cybersecurity used to be a narrow silo reserved for specialized practitioners. These days, security is something that all IT pros must understand, along with best practices to help establish and maintain security, data privacy, and safe computing across all IT disciplines. Going forward, security needs to be baked into designs, architectures and infrastructures for all of IT, with all players in the IT field doing their part to create, design, configure and maintain security throughout the IT lifecycle.

 

Doing More with Less

Even as cloud computing pushes aside virtualization, businesses and organizations are striving to run leaner, as they pivot toward more automation and policy-based controls. This means that IT personnel can no longer specialize in narrow, segregated niches such as networking, databases, analytics or applications. They must be able to wear many hats and integrate elements across multiple specialties to put systems together from the cloud services they stand up and consume.

This, too, requires new skills and knowledge to put such things together. IT pros must understand:

• How to specify what’s needed based on business goals and objectives. 

• How to find and evaluate the alternatives available.

• How to compose solutions to meet those needs. 

What’s emerging is a culture of constant learning—where what’s been learned before helps to guide and shape what’s happening right now. But there has to be a constant infusion of new information and intelligence to formulate and improve upon best practices. Getting the job done is not just about teasing out problems and solving them. It’s about collaborating across the organization to understand what users need. It’s about collaborating with other business functions, and with partners and solution providers to ensure that goals for productivity, profitability and market position can be met both internally and externally. This requires a profound commitment to developing skills and knowledge, both soft and hard. A commitment must be made to keep up with change and make the most of scarce resources.

As with information security, cloud computing is another white-hot IT area that touches all aspects of business, from communications and productivity, to data acquisition and analysis. IT pros should avail themselves of the wealth of online learning opportunities in this space, and be thinking how their current job responsibilities could benefit from a cloud-focused certification.

 

A Multi-Disciplinary View of IT

Information technology’s role in business is changing as a result of its increasing importance. As IT shifts from a cost center to a provider of essential information and services, it also moves away from the realm of the expeditious and tactical to that of the strategic and mission-critical. As this mindset shifts, so must working practices and capabilities of IT organizations. Tools, techniques and practices from the world of governance, process and project management, and systems engineering, are taking over how IT gets done. And because things keep changing all the time, as new tools and technologies emerge that need to be evaluated, tested and (possibly) adopted, learning and developing new skills and knowledge remain essential to the IT function. In IT, lifelong learning is no luxury—it’s a dire necessity!

 

Keep Your Skills Sharp, No Matter What Changes Lie Ahead

The need for constant training and skills development is the basis for Global Knowledge’s new Ultimate IT Skills Collection. With unlimited access to over 550 On-Demand IT training courses, this collection can be used to prep for certification exams, deepen existing skills or gain new information about technologies you’re unfamiliar with. 

Nobody knows exactly what IT training they’ll need in the next year. The IT landscape is ever-changing—so why not be ready for minor or major shifts? The Ultimate IT Skills Collection provides access to a wide array of quality content for a full year. As new technologies emerge—and trust us, they will—you won’t be scrambling to make additional purchases. You’ll already have all the training you or your team needs.

 

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