Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be SysAdmins

07 Jul 2015 . The Future #cloud #AWS

I was sitting at the Amazon AWS Summit in Chicago last week and I was thoroughly impressed with how much cloud has evolved in a very short time. What struck me most is how Amazon is taking the building blocks of their basic services (EC2, S3, etc.) and piecing together much more advanced services while at the same time leveraging economies of scale to sell the new service at a reasonable cost. They have also commoditized things like databases where they have taken care of scaling, tuning, replication, backups, etc. It has gotten to the point that companies can build an app and scale it for a large audience almost instantaneously all while paying rates commensurate with their utilization and avoiding large up-front capital expenditures.

If you are currently a mid-career system or database administrator you are probably fine but if you are the early stages of careers in those field I would think very hard about evolving your skills beyond managing servers, operating systems, databases, even network gear.  I don’t foresee a collapse in demand for these roles but a slow dwindling over the next 10-20 years.  There will always be a need for top-line talent but the pool of available positions will likely shrink as new companies leverage commoditized services in the cloud rather than field teams of IT professionals.

You may agree or disagree with my assessment but business has a way shifting to strategies that lower costs and increase ROI. If cloud keeps going the way it is there is little doubt that the future’s successful companies will move there and shrink parts of their IT organizations.