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What 2017 will look like for IT admins

With change being the only constant in the IT landscape, particularly at today’s rapid rate of development, the new year will bring a slew of questions for sysadmins.

One of the most significant changes is what many are calling the “third digital revolution,” which will shift the focus of traditional IT roles to new roles that heavily involve cloud technology and digitalisation. The emergence of cloud technology has had an enormous impact on IT, changing the way we consume services both inside and outside of the workplace. 

Research from Veritas indicates that roughly 74 per cent of  UK enterprises with 500 or more employees are currently operating in multi-cloud environments.. This surge in cloud adoption, along with market consolidation and digitalisation, are ushering in a new era in which IT admins must bring a blended expertise into their roles. While some have speculated that this third digital revolution will result in a massive obsolescence of IT admin jobs, experts now predict that the fading traditional IT roles will be replaced by far more exciting roles revolving around the cloud and digitalisation. With more businesses now being driven by user behaviour, the IT admins of the near future will likely transform into cloud architects, IoT architects, DevOps specialists, and data scientists.

Disruptive qualities

Research from Computerworld has also indicated a growing desire for IT professionals with a firm business background who can properly articulate the value of IT changes to board members, as well as a general shift in the skill sets of IT professionals. If an IT admin is currently responsible for sourcing and deploying solutions to manage infrastructure or services as well as analysing and troubleshooting problems, then an IoT architect is responsible for the vision, strategy, architecture, and shepherding of IoT solutions from inception to deployment. 

While there is certainly a disruptive quality to these increasingly ubiquitous technologies, IT admins have never been strangers to change. A similar shift occurred in the 2000s when the rise of virtualisation saw IT admins increase their skills to manage the new variables it introduced. In the past decade, countless technologies have emerged and left their mark on the profession, from wireless technology to mobility and wearables.

 Going forward, IT admins must acquire a deeper understanding of business, analytics, and DevOps. The next year will see IT professionals sharpen their expertise through cloud-ready tools that deal with business intelligence, data science, cloud analytics, and other areas that are becoming increasingly important to businesses.

While 2017 won’t make IT admins obsolete as some have prophesied, it will definitely bring about a shift in what these roles entail. Their roles will go beyond the IT department and include more input to the business as a whole. Going digital and adopting the cloud will ensure IT admins are challenged. They will be on a constant quest for knowledge to keep pace with the changes these trends entail. One thing will remain constant through all the transitions, however: the admin's tryst with technical challenges and their ability to meet them.

Vidya Vasu, Head of community, ManageEngine
Image Credit: Sergey Nivens / Shutterstock

Vidya Vasu is Head of community at ManageEngine.