There’s much said and written about the transformative impact of advanced and new-age technologies on businesses. Technology is seeping deeper into the basic fabric of life with every passing day. Already, a number of businesses have been completely overhauled by new technologies, and several others continue to adopt these upheavals. One of the hot topics of debate, now, is the implication this has on jobs.
Technology is changing the face of job markets
Taxi drivers, accountants, retail-floor workers, salespeople — you name it, and there are employment categories that have witnessed significant impact already. In several other domains, workers are having to change the way they work, acquire a lot more specialized knowledge, or acquire functional knowledge of a lot more related domains. Amidst all this, however, a reality that has flown under the radar for some time now is that the jobs of IT workers are also endangered and under risk of extinction in the not too distant future. It’s odd, yet true, that the perpetrators of constructive change via the force and power of technology are also the ones facing the risk of becoming obsolete. This guide attempts to lift the veil off some of these IT jobs and roles that are facing the heat.
Windows system administrators
The biggest change in the nature and demand of IT jobs relates to the speed at which computer languages and basic technologies are being replaced by their upgrades and alternatives. For instance, about a decade back, being skilled in Windows server administration meant stable and high-paying IT jobs. However, the increased adoption of Azure and Linux-based systems means that these Windows system and server administrators either need to upscale themselves in newer technologies, or need to look elsewhere. As more and more enterprises replace Windows systems with alternatives, the requirements of Windows administrators is on a rapid decline, and this decline in requirement is further fueled by the increasing simplicity of new age Windows systems. We’ve also tried to present the larger lessons hidden behind these market realities.
Programming experts in outdated computer languages
This is an interesting aspect of the impact of better technologies on IT jobs. Consider Cobol, for instance. A huge number of legacy systems used in financial institutions and organizations run on this language. And, because of the critical need for round-the-clock support and maintenance, Cobol experts continue to earn top dollar for their services. However, as these institutes begin to replace legacy systems with better tools, many of these jobs will be obliterated. Moreover, the number of Cobol experts required in the jobs market is not going to grow, and the pace of decline will increase slowly but surely. We took Cobol as an example; the same logic holds true for most traditional computer languages that have failed to upgrade themselves, and have fallen out of favor for commercial use.
Java and .Net have replaced C and C++ in most commercial application development. So, many computer languages have ceased to be platforms for new developments, and just exist because of maintenance requirements. The trend will be present for the times to come, and even languages and systems that are novel today (and programmers and developers who are expert in them) will stare at fates similar to that of Cobol. WordPress, LAMP, and PHP were the buzz a few years back, and are steadily being reconsidered because of availability of alternative frameworks and languages such as React, Scala, and Angular.
IT, network administrators, storage disk administrators, database administrators
The massive cloud migration undergone by large enterprises as well as small and midsize businesses has changed the dynamics of the market for IT roles such as infrastructure and network engineers. Because so many aspects of infrastructure, storage, database, and network management are managed at the vendor side, the corresponding requirements at the enterprise side have been offloaded. The increase in requirements on the IT vendor side are not correspondingly huge, because these firms have the capability and drive to automate menial maintenance and troubleshooting, resulting in smaller IT team sizes.
IT engineers who’ve only worked on the hardware side of router and storage disks management are facing difficulties in either sustaining their jobs, or being able to understand the changing face of these IT practices because of the cloud revolution.
Instead of completely vanishing, these jobs have been transformed, and now require deeper understanding of cloud computing. Capable IT experts with knowledge in core concepts, can be absorbed, to some extent, in IT-related roles on product design, vendor-relations management, and business intelligence teams. However, for most of the others, the only option is to quickly upgrade skills to remain relevant for employment. At the core, this is a shift from on-premises IT expertise to on-cloud IT expertise.
The impact on ITeS jobs
The impacts of machine learning, AI, and micro-automation span across ITeS (IT-enabled services) as well. Not long back, SEO, social media marketing management, and webmaster were distinct roles; now they are clubbed into one profile of “digital marketer.” Even roles such as Big Data administrators and analysts are shrinking and fitting into single profiles, which will eventually reduce the headcounts in enterprises. Data, on one side, is most important, but there isn’t any equivalent representation in terms of the number of database handlers and data researchers required in an organization. As tools for analysis become more sophisticated and intuitive, these jobs will continue to shrink, necessitating incumbents to become proficient in better and more value-adding technologies.
What works today may not work in the future
Today, coders and programmers who are knowledgeable in IoT operating systems and languages are in huge demand. However, as IoT markets mature, these developers will face the same challenges that have rocked the boat for programmers in traditional languages. Also, because of the advancements in machine-written codes (powered by machine learning and artificial intelligence), the global requirement of programmers and coders will decrease within the next decade.
The writing on the wall is clear enough. Anybody employed in IT roles has to stay up to date with the latest developments, and become more flexible in their skills and areas of expertise to stay relevant and valuable in this quickly shifting job market.
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