Your Future in IT – A “Brave New World” for the IT Professional

 Jan 21, 2016

I was reading an interesting article the other day called “Major Changes Coming from Microsoft Will Impact Your Career” by Jeffrey Schwartz, and it got me thinking about what exactly does the future hold for the average IT Professional, especially as we have already started the next evolutionary leap in the Microsoft roadmap – the 4 year major release cycle that Microsoft has been espousing for a long time now.

Windows 10 is leading the charge here and what a shake-up that has already given us, what with the ability to bridge both the old desktop and the newer “tabletised” user interfaces (but integrated properly this time), the new approach to updates, Windows Store and Universal Apps, and the much tighter integration with cloud technologies for a much more mobile and versatile world. And don’t forget we are already in the beta/pre-release phases of major new product releases such as Windows Server 2016, System Center Suite of products, SharePoint 2016, SQL Server 2016, Exchange Server 2016 etc. etc. etc.

These products will all have the same level of change to the way we have done things in the past that Windows 10 has had in the desktop/mobile/tablet world, and I haven’t even started on the cloud with such technologies as Microsoft Azure and Office 365 (and their competitors such as Amazon, Google and Apple) rapidly being integrated into both our business and personal lives.

So in that Brave New World that is knocking down our door at the moment, where does the IT professional fit? Well simply put they fit where they have always fitted – adapting to new technologies and markets and providing the services required of the next upcoming business model.

Now that is not to say roles will not change – they will and quite drastically too –Jeffrey’s article gives some great advice on how some of those roles are changing and where they are headed for the IT Professional. (Just as an aside, I totally agree with the comment in Jeffrey’s article when he quotes Pluralsight Curriculum Director Don Jones commenting that “It’s PowerShell or bust….That’s the future” – but for anyone concerned with Windows Server administration or support etc. that future is here NOW.) But when you get down to it that is what the IT professional has always done since before the days of punch card programming and electric typewriters – skill up on the latest technologies and move on.

Yes, I can remember repairing those electric typewriters so I have been involved in this industry for a very long time and I can tell you that is what IT Professionals have always done. The IT world never has been one where you can afford to sit on your laurels so to speak, you do have to continually keep updating – and broadening - your skills. In-depth knowledge of the latest technologies is what drives – and pays – the modern day IT Professional – it’s called experience and in this world that will always be a valuable asset.

I have also read a number of articles lately where the doomsayers are predicting the end is nigh for the IT Professional, what with the wholesale migrations “to the cloud”, the benefits of server consolidations and the automation of past “rote” roles (such as “user” administrators), along with the “consumerisation” of business technologies etc., but I most definitely disagree here – there will always be a huge (and growing!) demand for IT Professionals, - but the roles are changing.

For example, we moved years ago away from a field service techie repair model to a consumerised “if it’s broken replace it” and the “Managed Services” model for IT support. But the IT Professionals are still needed to provide those Managed Services, to build and maintain all those huge cloud datacenters and provide support to the consumers when their latest devices aren’t as intuitive as first thought. And I’m not the only one that thinks this – CompTia – in a series of recent articles entitled “IT employment surges by 70,500 jobs, unemployment dips to 3.4 percent” and “IT Jobs Market Shows Signs of Strength” said “Most facets of IT employment show robust signs of health, with the largest gains during the first half of 2015 recorded in IT services (up 2.4 percent) and software (up 1.5 percent)” and “Job postings for IT occupations increased 20 percent during the second quarter 2015 compared with the previous quarter. Cyber-security jobs, software developers, data scientists, Web developers and network architects showed the largest increases…..”

So the IT world is not disappearing, it is doing what it always has, and that is adapting to new environments.

The big growth areas that I see moving forward? – PowerShell for all you Microsoft jockeys, cloud technologies, cloud services and their management – Office 365, Azure, Exchange/SharePoint Online, and InTune from Microsoft, and their competitors such as AWS and Google as well as how to integrate them in hybrid/migration scenarios, and Virtualisation – both Hyper-V and VMWare are going to be underpinning the cloud for a long time yet. My big tip for all IT Professionals is to broaden your horizons – particularly in the end user environment you will need to be skilled across many platforms and even more devices. And for the developers, this Brave New World is mobile and App driven, as well as being web intensive.

This, of course, means that training has to be a big part of the IT Professional’s world, so with the big “Brave New World” of IT looming large in front of us are you skilling up NOW for your own future?

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About the Author:

Gordon Cowser  

With over 22 years real world and training experience, Gordon is our most senior IT Infrastructure trainer. His expertise includes but is not limited to; Microsoft Server and Client OS, Messaging, Collaboration, Active Directory and Network Infrastructure. Gordon also specialises in SharePoint technologies training in both technical and end user aspects. With his extensive skill-set he brings a thorough mentoring capability to the classroom where he can advise on technical issues and challenges often beyond the scope of the course curriculum. A very approachable and experienced training professional, he has the ability to establish credibility fast with students at all levels.

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