Last July, I wrote a post on the need for contractors to keep their skills updated based on clients’ willingness to adopt cloud-based solutions. Some have asked me if, since things were changing at such a fast pace, if they should be worried. I decided to write this to go more in-depth to the July post.
The first important thing to understand is that the drive for cloud solutions (applications, infrastructure, data, etc…) is mostly “human” driven versus technology driven. Yes, it allows selection of best-of-breed solutions (SaaS, IaaS, PaaS) and creates greater computing and application elasticity, but it comes first from the need for more agility, greater business flexibility and cost containment. Those are the big drivers. And those drivers are way more important than if it was only a technological fad, because they answer fundamental business issues.
What we are seeing is a normal evolution, not a revolution. In that respect, IT contractors will have to adapt to the changes by elevating their skills but most importantly, their way of practising their trade pertaining to that service/technological transition.
On the infrastructure side, system administrators will not lose their potential contract tomorrow morning. But they will certainly need to understand how cloud solutions enable clients to change the way they “interact” with technology. As an example, some of the basic system admin tasks (configuration, sizing, etc…) will clearly not be needed. As with other functions, they will be part of the provided cloud service. System administrator will need to understand the use of cloud configuration tools, Open Source or proprietary, and also security issues related to the use of the new cloud platforms. Additionally, they will probably spend more time taking care of service agreements and less time maintaining the service, which entails enhancing their soft skills. As for network administrators, their job will probably evolve to become cloud administrator.
On the security side, the move of core business processes and data to cloud solutions will push security specialist to stay on top of new security models and technologies.
On the application side, given the flexibility provided by solutions in the cloud, there will be even more pressure on the actual trend for rapid delivery on business requirements.
In general, moving to the cloud is more than a virtualization mind shift. New paths will be presenting themselves and options will be there. Whether you deepen your technical skill sets to design those new services or become the liaison between business and IT, you should look forward to the change. Much of what you have today will be transferable.
Rain or sunshine? It is for you to decide how proactive you want to be in this “service” model transition.