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Jobs of the Future: Opportunities in the IT Sector

By James Stanger, Senior Director - Products, CompTIA | Wednesday, 09 Aug 2017, 10:17 IST

As the world becomes more digitalized, com­panies are transforming to use technology more intelligently and more strategically. This is leading to the creation of new jobs in the IT sector even as some earlier ones evolve or get obsolete. When we talk about jobs of the future in the IT sector, the terms “evolution” and “transformation” are critical. Many of the names of future job roles already exist. Yet the responsibilities and tasks within those job roles will morph and change over time. For instance, the job role of security analyst is currently well-defined. This individual focuses on us­ing Secure Information and Event Management (SIEM) tools, studying threats, managing vulnerabilities, and responding to incidents. In the future, the job role of “security analyst” will probably remain the same, but new skills or approaches will be required for this job.

The following are a few key job roles of the future in four different spheres of the IT sector –Infrastructure, Development, Security and Data. But, they will morph over time:

Jobs in the Sphere of Infrastructure
Technical support/Help Desk/Service Desk Worker: The technical support role is increasingly described under the term “Information Technology Service Manager (ITSM).” An ITSM’s job role has moved beyond “break-fix” support, for over ten years, now. It has evolved from PC support to network trou­bleshooting, mobile phone device support, log in and authen­tication support, and sophisticated troubleshooting. This is a fast-growing job role and is more vital to companies than ever before. This job role can be fulfilled by internal IT workers, or by workers who are part of a Managed Service Provider (MSP), as described below.

Cloud: A chronic shortage of cloud-savvy workers con­tinues. Surveys show that more companies wish to move to the cloud, but are hindered by the lack of skilled, knowl­edgeable workers. Automation, Orchestration, and more so­phisticated uses of virtual machines lead the way for cloud- based implementations. The job role has morphed over time. New requirements include more knowledge about security, containerization, how to use cloud technolo­gies to control costs and conduct migrations. Migrations, interestingly, can be from Enterprise (installed systems) to the cloud, and vice versa. In the future, migrations from one vendor’s cloud solution to another will be increasingly common.

Additional Job Roles:
Systems Engineer / Cloud Virtualization Engineer: A per­son who creates and manages virtualized platforms. Some­times also called a cloud and computing service manager.

Linux Administrator: An individual who knows Linux, but who also knows how to use these systems to virtualize various solutions (including Windows servers) on Linux.

Cloud Architect: He creates busi­ness solutions, which include security solutions, and sophisticated Enterprise Resource Management (ERM) and Cus­tomer Relationship Manager (CRM) implementations.

Jobs in the Sphere of Development
Data Programmer: Regardless of lan­guage, programmers will be asked to work with data more and more. This means that instead of just creating se­quential programs, programmers will also need to analyse data, consider busi­ness problems, and then interpret data and turn it into information. A pro­grammer, then, must become more business-savvy than ever before.

Automation Developer: Program­mers will be expected to automate vari­ous repetitive skills in the workplace. Therefore, the job role of automation engineer will become increasingly im­portant.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) Devel­oper: Programmers will increasingly be asked to either help create the AI of tomorrow, or leverage AI services for business purposes. Workers will also be asked to create applications that self-im­prove. Key concepts will include “Deep Learning.” The languages of the AI pro­grammer /developer will include Py­thon, C++, Java, Prolog, and LISP.

Cloud Developer: Responsible for using existing cloud technologies (e.g., Amazon Web Services, Azure, and Soft­ware as a Service) and create new solu­tions.

Jobs in the Sphere of Security
Security Analyst: This is an increasingly vital and fast-moving job role. It will continue to morph over time. This per­son is very much the “blue team” worker who protects systems from hackers.

Vulnerability Assessor: Also known as the penetration tester, this individ­ual will increasingly be asked to work alongside security analysts. These as­sessors help to penetrate systems and do threat modelling. They are the “red team” worker, in many cases, who helps do test incursions into systems to see where defences have failed.

Business Continuity / Disaster Re­covery: This job role or skill is vital in helping companies plan for man-made or natural disasters and events. Individ­uals currently focus on creating plans to recover from ransomware or terrorist attacks, as well as events such as floods, hurricanes, or events that cause any sort of major business interruption.

Jobs in the Sphere of Data
Analytics: The world of the Internet of Things (IoT) brings us a tremendous amount of data. Companies are moving fast to learn invaluable lessons from this data.

Big Data Jobs: “Big data” means data that is seemingly random, variable, and comes in at a tremendous volume. Such data is not pre-organized. Examples include the ability to sift through thou­sands of Web requests or e-mails in a day to find patterns. There will be a greater demand for Big Data Engineers, Big Data Developers and Data Architects.

Small Data Jobs: Small data means data that is organised, repetitive, and yet very useful. It may come in at a very fast pace, or slowly. An example of small data would be organised information coming in from an IoT device that is or­ganised under an XML structure. Such data can be easily compiled and inter­preted. For that, the system will need more Trend Analysts, Focus Group Fa­cilitators / Consultants who use tech­nologies to help process focused feed­back from groups of people. Instead of looking through random, unstructured, and unorganised data, this individual helps draw critical conclusions by work­ing with key groups of people to essen­tial job roles, regardless of IT function.

Project Manager
This is a key job role of the future. This is a job role that applies to all four parts of the job role framework. Today’s pro­ject manager works on traditional as well as DevOps teams. Tomorrow’s project manager will apply ever-more refined ways to initiate, track, and evaluate projects. This is because com­panies are fast learning that they can apply project management concepts to help speed time to market. More im­portantly, project managers will be able to help improve processes so that result­ing product (e.g., software, IoT devices) will have far higher of quality once they reach the market.

Finally, it is important to consider the role of the Managed Service Provid­er (MSP). An MSP provides critical IT services to a company on a subscription basis. These services fall under the four pillars of IT (Infrastructure, Develop­ment, Security, and Data). Jobs that will be provided by MSPs especially include Help Desk, Cloud, Security and Devel­opment.

Individuals who work for MSPs will perform many of the same tasks as internal workers. But MSP work­ers will provide them as a service to multiple companies. Managed-service jobs will also focus on specific tasks and technologies, rather than any one business solution. As managed ser­vice providers take hold, it will be very important for workers in MSP companies to know many different technologies. They will also need to learn how to listen very well to busi­ness requirements so that they can map technologies and solutions to meet business problems.

James Stanger
James Stanger is Senior Director, Products, CompTIA, and the voice of the world’s information technology industry. CompTIA is dedicated to advancing industry growth
through its educational programs, professional certifications and public policy advocacy.

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