Digital Planet: How Cloud computing is changing IT job roles

IT job roles and responsibilities have changed as a cloud-based delivery model has become the norm for IT infrastructure. For the majority of IT jobs, cloud proficiency has become standard, a pre-requisite key word for every resume.

A quick search for “cloud” skills on job sites like Monster.com or Dice.com reveal more than 800 jobs hits. These numbers have grown exponentially in the last few years.

CIOs are increasingly implementing cloud in their IT environments. Finding the right individuals or educating current employee base is key to their cloud strategy’s success or failure.

The vice president of IT for a goods distribution company told me few weeks ago that his board told him, “Our Company is not in business of infrastructure management.” This illustrates where the future of hosted IT infrastructure is going. His biggest challenge was not only to find a hosting partner but also to educate his team on cloud services and benefits. He had to hire new employees with a cloud computing background.

He found that along with a move to cloud, he had to rethink some of the roles and responsibilities within his organization. Here are few examples of job roles with additional responsibilities that cloud brings:

  1. Vice President of IT/Chief Information Officer

IT executives are now tasked with making the decision on going to cloud versus keeping processes in-house. The VP of IT or CIO is also in charge of outsourcing strategies and choosing between IaaS/PaaS/SaaS cloud models along with public, private or hybrid cloud strategies. And they have to manage budget, IT manpower limits and business requirements. VPs of IT and CIOs will need to assess CAPEX spending versus a monthly recurring cost model in cloud. They have to evaluate cloud providers’ cost models, services offered and experience in the field.

  1. IT Managers/IT Directors

In a cloud environment, IT directors and managers decide on automation needs and standards for cloud services. They work with cloud vendors to assess workloads and governance models.

  1. Security Architect

Security architects evaluate the company’s data security in public hosted or shared private environments. They create and design secured layers in the cloud for data and user security. Security architects also perform risk assessments and mitigate vulnerabilities for cloud applications.

  1. Network Engineer/Architect

Network engineers and network architects decide on cloud networking infrastructure and how their corporate network connects to the hosting provider network. They also handle complex network problem resolution. They’re also responsible for creating a flexible networking solution that can scale to multiple cloud vendors.

  1. System Administrators

Sysadmins choose and design the right infrastructure and understand vendor setups, data centers, etc. They’re responsible for the scale-in/scale-out infrastructure decisions based on business application usage. Sysadmins decide service levels on available infrastructure by cloud provider and automation for patching and other routine jobs.

  1. Developers

Developers integrate cloud features in business application development. They use cloud tools to develop a platform and a service for business users.

Over a period of time, a majority of these jobs have grown from their legacy roles into larger roles in cloud-enabled environments. This has created cross competencies with opportunities for alliances within organizations and with external vendors. It has also enabled granular decision-making capabilities at a micro level with multiple options than previously available.

Cloud-based IT infrastructure delivery has facilitated increased flexibility, agility and serviceability at each level of job hierarchy. A staff with the right knowledge is the key to moving toward this new paradigm.

By Prashant Bhatnagar

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