IT Innovation Starts in the Cloud

 The cloud is often seen as a direct threat to IT jobs because it automates those rote, mundane tasks that make up the majority of an IT pro’s workday. The reality is that the cloud will not displace active IT pros; rather, it will create more IT jobs, according to the IDC. For IT pros, the cloud simply means a change in the way they work, not an elimination of work. Here’s what the data says about the evolution of IT and what the move to the cloud means for the IT crowd.

The Industrial Age of IT

According to Gartner research director, Gregor Petri, the cloud will be to IT departments what industrialization was to small-scale, manual labor. “A traditional craftsman might manufacture one pin a day. A pin factory, however, created 48,000 pins a day using ten men,” writes Petri. The cloud, quickly and cheaply, automates processes that used to take a lot of time and staff.

The cloud will not displace active IT pros; rather, it will create more IT jobs

For IT departments, this means an elimination of all those rote tasks that make up an average workday (e.g., provisioning additional storage, rotating backup tapes, setting up servers for app deployments, etc.). While Petri acknowledges that for some people (particularly IT pros) this might be “very scary,” he believes it doesn’t necessarily mean those workers will find themselves out of the job.

As editor for Ars Technica Peter Bright so aptly and succinctly put it, in the cloud “the result is not that IT becomes redundant; it becomes more strategically important than ever.” When the cloud automates mundane IT tasks, workers can focus on projects that move the department forward (e.g., develop custom apps, implement new workflows, or collaborate with other departments to make custom IT systems).

Cloud skills made simple

That said, there is a growing need for IT pros with experience working in a cloud environment. According to the IDC, there could be as many as 7 million cloud-related jobs in IT worldwide by 2015. While cloud-related skills make up the majority of total growth opportunities in IT, it doesn’t have to come at the cost of displacing current IT pros; the solution could be as simple as retraining existing employees.

Active IT pros can learn critical cloud skills and get the necessary certifications for free while they’re working. Resources such as the Microsoft Virtual Academy make it simple for those working in IT to adapt to major trends (like cloud) and keep up with an ever-evolving tech landscape. With a little familiarity, IT pros can be confident that the cloud won’t displace them, but, rather, it will increase the value of their roles and make their jobs better.

IT pros move it forward

It’s the nature of the industry to change; however, it doesn’t happen overnight and it’s a learning process for everyone. The cloud provides an opportunity for IT pros to get out of the weeds of nonstop rote tasks and work on projects that move the company forward. After all, it’s up to IT pros to help keep your business on the leading edge—now they’ll finally have the time to do it.