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3 IT Roles That Will Decline By 2020

With the rise of technologies such as virtualization and the cloud, roles within the IT sphere are changing. Here are several that we think could decline as companies look to automate and streamline more of their IT processes.

We also take a look at how some of these roles are going to evolve — and the skills you might need to keep up with the changes. (Spoiler alert: Getting up to speed on DevOps will be huge!)

1. Systems Administrator

System administrators, commonly known as sysadmins, are primarily responsible for the configuration, operation, and maintenance of computer systems. Sysadmins have long been a staple of server rooms, but as IT shifts from physical hardware to the cloud, the demand for people to configure and maintain servers has declined.

As a result, sysadmins need to be mindful that their job description could be changing. Installing a bare metal server in a data center now might not be one of their responsibilities. Many tasks they previously performed are handled today using cloud technology and services.

If you’re a sysadmin, you definitely need to get up to speed with virtualization and the cloud, as well as consider adopting a DevOps approach. And if you were to switch to a DevOps engineer/architect track, you should be able to back up data and applications in virtual environments and develop application development pipelines for code deployment for cloud resources.

2. Network Engineer

Also known as computer network architects, network engineers work with routers and switches, creating fast and reliable networks for organizations, which include LANs (local area networks) and wide area networks (WANs).

With many organizations moving their systems to the cloud, the need is reduced to have someone managing on-prem LANs or WANs. If you’re a network engineer, you’ll need a comprehensive understanding of network virtualization and will want to learn to code for software-defined networks (SDNs) to survive and evolve in this industry. Much like a sysadmin, you also might want to consider a career in DevOps.

3. Server Hardware Technician

Server hardware technicians traditionally are the first line of defense for a company’s physical server hardware. But today, organizations can use cloud computing services such as Google Cloud Platform, Amazon Web Services, and Microsoft Azure to store and maintain their servers.

And more companies are consistently choosing this path — which could lead to a quick and steady decline of server hardware technician roles. Virtualization eliminates the need for hardware technicians on each server. Meanwhile, the cloud reduces the need to know the ins and outs of the underlying hardware.

Keep an Eye on Outsourcing

Other IT roles that could experience declines or drastic changes include programming- and security-based roles. That might seem surprising, as IT security is paramount for any organization; and programming is one of the buzziest roles in IT.

But companies are always looking for ways to reduce costs. So, on-prem security roles could conceivably be outsourced, particularly for small businesses. In addition, programming jobs could be facing a decline in the U.S. as companies outsource to countries that pay lower wages.

The Future of IT

IT has evolved leaps and bounds from dial-up internet and pagers. Now, virtualization, the cloud, and storage make up the new normal for this ever-changing industry. So, as technologies come and go, jobs are eventually going to need to follow suit.

But don’t let this get you down! New jobs are going to arise as technology changes and evolves. With good training, you can be the IT pro who fulfills new demands in the industry. The key to it all is to always be learning and adapting quickly.

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  1. Edward Keating says:

    #2 Network Engineer? When the company is unable to access their cloud databases, who you gonna call?
    You will still need network engineers to maintain and manage both wired and wireless networks within the enterprise. Very few non-network engineers know how to set up and maintain wireless networks and adding additional access points adhoc is one common way that the performance is degraded unintentionally.
    Having been a wireless network engineer in two-way radio, cellular, microwave and WiFi disciplines for 35 years, I can state with some expertise that this won’t go away anytime soon. Have a problem after setting up your small business WiFi and not getting the throughput you expected? How close to that smart meter reader is your wifi router? Did you know that they use the same band (2.4Ghz), but have competing technologies which can interfere with each other? Check out 802.15.4 vs 802.11 channels and see what you can find out. ComEd in my area uses Zigbee channel 18, which is in the middle of channel 6. Will interfere with 802.11n on that channel. (looks like it is sending 3200 byte packets to 802.11 receivers).
    A wired network engineer will also be able to fix the router loop that was generated when someone decided to add another network connection (for throughput) to the internet. Using wireless backhaul to avoid stringing cables? Hope your support person knows how to setup and configure that new access point which needs to be deployed in the next building over. You might not have the same issues as before (like incorrectly installed vampire taps on thick Ethernet) but new issues related to upgraded technology will still require a network engineer to set up and monitor so that a hacker in another country doesn’t take over your network because you used a less secure management interface..

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