How cloud computing changes IT job roles

The ever changing nature of cloud computing technology is altering IT job roles. Cloud computing affects how IT organizations respond to business requirements, and that is reshaping the nature of many IT job roles with a profound effect on IT staff and leadership.

What differentiates cloud computing is the level of control and access IT staff have over the technology solutions they put in place. Currently, IT staff have significantly less control over cloud computing solutions than the legacy data center systems they’ve managed for years.

Most of us know that cloud computing changes the model of IT from “install and maintain” to “broker and communicate.” This is the fundamental difference between traditional datacenter IT and a cloud service-based IT approach. As this move to services proceeds, the knowledge, skills and abilities of most IT job roles are transforming at an alarming rate.blog1

In my role as Practice Director for Cloud Solutions at Global Knowledge I’ve been tracking the most frequently changing roles within IT, driven by this change in control. Following I explain the shifts I’m seeing across the North American IT landscape.

Cloud Architect

Enterprise architecture must now include cloud computing architectures and providers. Today’s enterprise architects must understand Platform, Infrastructure, and Software as a Service (PaaS, IaaS, and SaaS), including the players and solutions that are available on the market. This means tighter integration with developers as well as leadership on adoption and use of cloud computing.

Cloud Security Specialist

Most agree that cloud security is perhaps the most important issue when moving to public or hybrid cloud. Cloud security specialists must understand new attack vectors, new security models and countermeasures.

Cloud Engineer

Network engineers are evolving into cloud engineers. The classic data center network engineer implements, maintains, optimizes, and provides operational support for network hardware, software, and communication links of the enterprise. These now span one or more cloud infrastructures too. Cloud migration is less product-specific and requires more analytical skills coupled with broad technology management knowledge in capacity management, planning, demand forecasting, and trending analysis.

Cloud Developer

Cloud development has new languages, structures, concepts and APIs (application program interfaces.) Rapid application development, continuous delivery, and responsive mobile and web (software as a service or SaaS) applications are what drive cloud computing. But cloud also offers a new way to develop and distribute those applications – platform as a service, or PaaS. PaaS introduces the concept of self-provisioning applications that allocate and de-allocate resources based on demand.

Cloud Support Analysts

Those in front-line customer-facing support roles need new skills too. Remote workers, bring your own device (BYOD), and cloud-based applications with limited control and visibility are the new normal. Existing support processes and tools are not sufficient. Cloud support must integrate social media, and they span multiple technologies in multiple configurations in multiple environments, from multiple providers.

The Rest of IT

As you can imagine, the change in control over IT systems causes changes that affect the entire organization: Systems Administrators and/or Database Administrators (DBA’s) are becoming Cloud Administrators. Service Managers, typically fluent in ITIL, are becoming Cloud Service Managers, and Project Managers Cloud Project Managers.

IT leaders today have not only technology issues, but also managerial issues due to employee onboarding, career development, and job advancement. Job descriptions need updating and regarding, compensation and supervisory support systems must keep pace.

IT leaders must guide and support their teams through this transformation. Maybe there’s at least one more new role for IT: Cloud Transformation Specialist.

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Written by Hank Marquis

Hank Marquis, PhD FBCS CITP, is the Practice Director for Cloud Solutions at Global Knowledge where he’s responsible for helping clients with the IT and business process, role and job changes needed to shift to cloud. He focuses on improving organizations’ agility through the fusion of Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud (aka SMAC or SoMoCo).

One comment on “How cloud computing changes IT job roles
  1. Hello Hank,

    I like your overview of IT activities related to the various cloud services platforms. From this overview we see clearly the impact of cloud computing. In general the IT Professional is losing control from a operational and technological point of view. However I think that form a strategic point of view the IT Professional / IT department may get more influence. This might also be mapped in a similar overview. This would give the IT Professional guidance in how to develop his/her career. I invite anyone to come up with an an idea to map the new tasks and responsibilities for the IT Professional.

    Regards,
    Harald de Vries

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