Welcome!

Related Topics: @DevOpsSummit, Agile Computing, @CloudExpo

@DevOpsSummit: Article

IT Admins and #DigitalTransformation | @CloudExpo #IoT #SDS #DevOps

The evolution of the IT administrator role

What Changing Times Mean for IT Admins
By Vidya Vasu

Just as writing has come to mean texting, blogging or any form of digital writing, the cloud today means one or all of the three Cs: computing, connectivity and communication. And just as nearly all thought to putting pen to paper has disappeared, all reference to the natural cloud is long forgotten. The three Cs have altered the way we consume services. The adage, "change is the only constant," holds true in the IT landscape like no other, forcing IT admins to constantly learn new skills and make strategic decisions.

The changing times demand that IT admins become business-aware and are equipped to transcend to roles beyond enabling IT. For instance, a typical IT admin may need to play the role of a developer, a quality analyst or a data analyst, even while remaining in control of IT operations. Moreover, with 74 percent of enterprises moving into multi-cloud environments, another area IT admins may need to tackle is cloud heterogeneity. Market consolidation, the exponential rise in cloud adoption, and digitalization practically mandate blended expertise for IT admins of today and the roles that await them in future.

On top of all of that, IT admins are on the cusp of yet another digital revolution - dubbed by some as the third digital revolution - where they will have to keep up with market conditions to stay relevant. Until recently, it was widely speculated that IT admin jobs would be wiped out with these developments. Undeniably, traditional IT admin roles will fade away, but they will be replaced by far more exciting roles that deal with the cloud and digitalization. With the emergence of IoT and so many businesses being driven by user behavior, IT admins can foray into roles such as cloud architects, IoT architects, DevOps specialists and data scientists.

The impact of the digital revolution on the transition
Information technology and business are inseparable, as this survey by Computerworld confirms, whereas it used to be that virtualization aligned IT with business. According to the survey, 42 percent of the enterprises surveyed want to hire professionals who have combined tech and business backgrounds that will allow them to articulate the value of IT in meeting business goals.

This transition has replaced the uncertainty around IT admin jobs with the certitude of the same people being involved in IT in ways like never before. If an IT admin is now responsible for sourcing and deploying solutions to manage infrastructure or services, analyzing and troubleshooting problems, an IoT architect, according to Drue Reeves, research director for Gartner, "is responsible for the vision, strategy, architecture and shepherding of IoT solutions from inception to deployment."

IT admins step up to meet these challenges
Adapting to cutting edge challenges is nothing new for IT admins. In the 2000s when virtualization gained traction, IT admins stepped up their skills to manage IT and the new variables introduced by virtualization. The current transition is merely another opportunity for IT admins to learn new tools, technologies, processes and methodologies. The last decade has seen it all: components connected by wires, wireless technology, virtualization, mobility, cloud, wearables and now IoT. To rise to these challenges and grow, IT admins will need to extend themselves by learning about business, analytics and DevOps, not to mention developing a deep understanding of how every change will impact business.

Skills for the new role
IT communities are abuzz with discussions on what new IT roles will entail. The good news though is that IT admins are already aware of some aspects of these roles. Learning, deploying and implementing solutions; managing IT infrastructure on the LAN and WAN; and troubleshooting performance issues and bottlenecks are great examples. And, in some enterprises, IT admins are already involved in evaluating the flexibility, accessibility and cost of business applications.  Most skills are acquired on the job, and there's nothing to worry about. On a broader level, during the transition, it's best to follow a multi-pronged approach of learning basic development, operations and analysis. Here are some suggestions to get started:

  • Take a do-it-yourself approach to learning, including basic tasks such as getting an AWS account, creating cloud instances and using a few cloud-ready tools to manage them.
  • Get an Opscode account and use Chef to deploy and manage applications or servers.
  • Get the hang of configuration and build tools like GitHub, Jenkins and Docker.
  • Learn about business intelligence, data science and cloud analytics tools for analysis and reporting.
  • Actively participate in communities that discuss technology, tools and trends.
  • Acquire soft skills as interacting with teams and users becomes a necessity.

Like so many searches on minor health issues that lead people to results on life-threatening ailments, the search for the future of IT jobs leads to voluminous information and can be as overwhelming. Getting acquainted with the concepts, trying a couple of tools and actively engaging with peer groups on relevant communities can make it easy to gear up for the roles in store.

Will IT admins remain relevant?
Yes, however there may not be IT admins in the traditional sense. Instead, they will fit into different molds, as their jobs demand. Their roles will not just be about enabling or keeping IT together but will also be about enabling business. Going cloud and digital will keep IT admins challenged. They will be on the constant quest for knowledge to keep pace with the changes cloud and digitalization bring. However, there will be one constant through all the transitions: their tryst with technical challenges and their ability to meet them. No matter what titles they go by, for this one reason, IT admins, in their new roles, will still be known as IT superheroes.


Vidya Vasu is head of the ManageEngine community and Free Tools.

More Stories By ManageEngine IT Matters

ManageEngine believes IT management can be simple and affordable. Our authors share insights and how-to tips for SMBs and large enterprises. Over 120,000 companies around the world – including three of every five Fortune 500 companies – trust our products to manage their networks, data centers, business applications, and IT services, and security. We take a straightforward, customer-centric approach to IT management software. Our customers' needs drive our product philosophy. And we've built a strong, in-house R&D team to support our product team and turn customer requests into product realities. We look forward to hearing from you.

Latest Stories
While some developers care passionately about how data centers and clouds are architected, for most, it is only the end result that matters. To the majority of companies, technology exists to solve a business problem, and only delivers value when it is solving that problem. 2017 brings the mainstream adoption of containers for production workloads. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ben McCormack, VP of Operations at Evernote, will discuss how data centers of the future will be managed, how th...
Why Federal cloud? What is in Federal Clouds and integrations? This session will identify the process and the FedRAMP initiative. But is it sufficient? What is the remedy for keeping abreast of cutting-edge technology? In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Rasananda Behera will examine the proposed solutions: Private or public or hybrid cloud Responsible governing bodies How can we accomplish?
There is huge complexity in implementing a successful digital business that requires efficient on-premise and cloud back-end infrastructure, IT and Internet of Things (IoT) data, analytics, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Digital Applications. In the data center alone, there are physical and virtual infrastructures, multiple operating systems, multiple applications and new and emerging business and technological paradigms such as cloud computing and XaaS. And then there are pe...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MIRAI Inc. will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MIRAI Inc. are IT consultants from the public sector whose mission is to solve social issues by technology and innovation and to create a meaningful future for people.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Keisoku Research Consultant Co. will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Keisoku Research Consultant, Co. offers research and consulting in a wide range of civil engineering-related fields from information construction to preservation of cultural properties. For more information, vi...
Today most companies are adopting or evaluating container technology - Docker in particular - to speed up application deployment, drive down cost, ease management and make application delivery more flexible overall. As with most new architectures, this dream takes significant work to become a reality. Even when you do get your application componentized enough and packaged properly, there are still challenges for DevOps teams to making the shift to continuous delivery and achieving that reducti...
Most of the time there is a lot of work involved to move to the cloud, and most of that isn't really related to AWS or Azure or Google Cloud. Before we talk about public cloud vendors and DevOps tools, there are usually several technical and non-technical challenges that are connected to it and that every company needs to solve to move to the cloud. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Stefano Bellasio, CEO and founder of Cloud Academy Inc., will discuss what the tools, disciplines, and cultural...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Massive Networks, that helps your business operate seamlessly with fast, reliable, and secure internet and network solutions, has been named "Exhibitor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo ®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. As a premier telecommunications provider, Massive Networks is headquartered out of Louisville, Colorado. With years of experience under their belt, their team of...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enroute Lab will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Enroute Lab is an industrial design, research and development company of unmanned robotic vehicle system. For more information, please visit http://elab.co.jp/.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cedexis will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cedexis is the leader in data-driven enterprise global traffic management. Whether optimizing traffic through datacenters, clouds, CDNs, or any combination, Cedexis solutions drive quality and cost-effectiveness.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ryobi Systems will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Ryobi Systems Co., Ltd., as an information service company, specialized in business support for local governments and medical industry. We are challenging to achive the precision farming with AI. For more information, visit http:...
Today traditional IT approaches leverage well-architected compute/networking domains to control what applications can access what data, and how. DevOps includes rapid application development/deployment leveraging concepts like containerization, third-party sourced applications and databases. Such applications need access to production data for its test and iteration cycles. Data Security? That sounds like a roadblock to DevOps vs. protecting the crown jewels to those in IT.
What is the best strategy for selecting the right offshore company for your business? In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, will discuss the things to look for - positive and negative - in evaluating your options. He will also discuss how to maximize productivity with your offshore developers. Before you start your search, clearly understand your business needs and how that impacts software choices.
21st International Cloud Expo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Me...
Real IoT production deployments running at scale are collecting sensor data from hundreds / thousands / millions of devices. The goal is to take business-critical actions on the real-time data and find insights from stored datasets. In his session at @ThingsExpo, John Walicki, Watson IoT Developer Advocate at IBM Cloud, will provide a fast-paced developer journey that follows the IoT sensor data from generation, to edge gateway, to edge analytics, to encryption, to the IBM Bluemix cloud, to Wa...