Automation offers paradox to IT shops

It’s hard to deny that many new technologies introduced over the last few years have made the average network manager’s life easier. With the rise of automation, tasks such as monitoring and troubleshooting can be carried out with ease and with little manpower resources, leaving IT managers and their charges free to pursue other tasks that they simply didn’t have time to carry out in the past, including the ability to think of their systems as they might be months from the present time as opposed to just minutes or days, or to become involved in more business-level discussions about the role of technology within their enterprise.

These developments are all convenient and helpful in terms of driving more productivity and efficiency out of IT systems and the people who manage them. They come with a price, however, and not merely a monetary one. The convenience of automation is necessarily accompanied by an attrition within the IT job market; tasks previously carried out by a network admin can, in many cases, today be performed by a piece of software. For example, virtualized servers can essentially configure and optimize themselves on the fly, adjusting to the capacity needs of a department long before that need is even evident to those in the department.

The cold reality for those in the IT admin field, however, is that machines are carrying out a good number of the tasks that humans once performed. The rise of the automated IT department presents a paradox: IT systems are undeniably running more smoothly and efficiently than they did in the past, bringing not only cost savings to corporations, but also that cherished “five-nines” type of uptime that IT has dreamed of for so long.

That upside brings with it a new reality for both established and younger IT personnel. Automation forces such pros to think about including more business- and people-related skills to their resum

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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