The cloud computing industry is enjoying an impressive boom, with the global market share of top cloud infrastructure providers reaching $63 billion in the first quarter of 2023 alone. With a compound annual growth rate of 16% expected from 2023 to 2032, IT professionals should be prepared for a big change in their roles within the IT industry.
As found in a new study by market intelligence firm, the International Data Corporation (IDC), IT professionals are about to embark on the second major shift.
The first occurred between 1997 and 2002—when the .com era and ubiquitous connectivity gave rise to the mass recruit of networking experts and web developers. The new paradigm shift is all to do with cloud technology.
The myriad of cloud technologies, platforms, and as-a-service products has seen many IT professionals undertaking mixed roles. Their jobs combine traditional development tasks with operations that had little to do with development.
IT services involve one or more of the following roles in the current IT industry, as found in the above study. These include (but are not limited to) DataOps, DevOps, DevSecOps, ITOps, MLOps, systems administrators, platform engineering, and site reliability engineering. Some of these roles have a strong operational component.
ITOps professionals rely on technology and dedicated methods to provide routine and scheduled tasks, as well as unscheduled support activities, to ensure the smooth running of IT systems.
They may spend half of their time simple dealing with business users to discover their requirements, provide support, and provide secondary business roles.
System administrators are in a similar boat. As they are in charge of configuring, maintaining, and ensuring the smooth running of computer and other systems, they also spend a large percentage of their time liaising with business users.
At meetings, they aim to elicit the user's main aims and work out and communicate the systems adaptations that enable clients to achieve all their goals.
The study indicates that IT professionals who undertake the most purely operational roles will need to make the change to a more technical or focused role that could involve software development work.
For instance, the roles of system administrators and IT operators are projected to decline at a CAGR of -7.8% and -8.2%, respectively, between 2022 and 2027. On the other hand, newer roles such as those of MLOps and DataOps are projected to have impressive CAGRs of 17.9& and 20.1%.
The statistics are a wake-up call to IT professionals, in that they suggest the importance of developing the skills needed to transition into this type of role.
MLOps and DataOps have a bright future owing to their role in automation and machine learning. What's more, their rise to the fore has been in the works for a long time.
Around two years ago, Forbes writer, Dale Markowitz, warned businesses to prioritize operationalizing and scaling machine learning to drive business value—or go bust! Machine learning models make predictions by finding patterns in data.
However, when that data becomes stale, the models built upon it crumble. At about the same time as the Forbes article was published, BMC's Ram Chakravarti issued similar advice to companies regarding DataOps.
Data is such an important part of business that businesses need to rely on agile engineering and DevOps best practices to transform new insights into actionable deliverables.
DevOps and DevSecOps roles are also predicted to be strong players over the next few years. DevSecOps will flourish because growing threats to security have led to a need for early, efficient protection—the kind that can significantly reduce costs and boost quality.
DevOps tasks are focused on automating tasks and workflows to improve business and employee efficiency. Through this tool, users can find pain points and bottlenecks in their development lifecycle, and automate processes to lighten the load on developers and IT teams.
DevOps roles are crucial in the current industry, although in the near future, they will in large part be absorbed by those carrying out platform engineering roles. Training IT professionals in these and other key roles will be necessary, to ensure a smooth transition and reduced need for business to recruit new employees.
The evolving cloud landscape is reshaping IT roles, indicating that operational roles like those of system administrators and IT operators will soon be in decline, while roles like MLOps and DataOps will continue to surge. IT professionals must swiftly acquire new skills to navigate this transformation and ensure a seamless transition into their new roles.
As such, companies should prioritize retraining and upskilling, so they can continue to enjoy optimal employee retention and avoid the costs with hiring new specialists.
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