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Networking

Video How Will IT Workers' Roles Change in the Next Five Years? (Video) 138

We asked Sarah Lahav this question. She's founder and CEO of service management and help desk software company SysAid, and a staunch supporter of Sysadmin Appreciation Day, so keeping an eye on the future of IT is essential for her company, her clients, and the friends she's made in her years as an IT person and -- later -- IT service company executive. As she says in the interview, "[Some] people say that the IT person will not exist because everything will go to the cloud. And the other half claims that people from the IT [department] will have new skills. It wouldn’t be the same IT person as we know him now, there will be focus more on firewalls than on fixing computers and stuff like that." Is she right? Is she wrong? Or will changes in IT people's roles be so different from company to company that there is no one right answer?

Slashdot: I'm Robin Miller for Slashdot. This is Sarah Lahav, who is in Israel and is the CEO of SysAid, one of the world's many IT service desk operations. We're told it's a good one, but we're not here to talk about competitive service desks, believe it or not, but who's going to need them and how and anything else in IT will change 5, 10 years from now. Because, Sarah, what does moving into the cloud mean to your clients, your customers?

Sarah Lahav: It's a tough question to be honest. I'm thinking most cases, it’s a journey of security in new frontiers. For a lot of years, people are saying cloud is here, we are in the cloud, but here on a daily basis, we see with people making the decision to move to cloud, we’re still struggling with the basic, which is understanding resources, software solutions, even regards to services that they can get. We’re still in, in my understanding, in the basic.

Slashdot: Yeah. And I wonder because here's something somebody said to me – tell me what you think of it – He said the cloud, there is no such thing, there's merely other people's computers.

Sarah Lahav: Simplifying the whole concept of the cloud, it’s true, but coming from a – I used to be an IT person back in the days. And IT people, their main focus is around security, it was much simpler when we used to see the computer and we knew it was behind the firewall.

Slashdot: Yeah.

Sarah Lahav: And we’ve actually not seen it, we don't have even control of the electricity switch. One of the main things that people are afraid is somebody else has the control of that electricity, which is a simple thing, and we don't have plans to recover from somebody else walking around to our service and just shutting the electricity down. I can understand if it’s somebody else's computer, but given the face of confidence in giving the major thing in IT to somebody else for me it’s more than that.

Slashdot: What can the corporate IT user, your customer, or the person on their own, what can they do to prepare for changes in the next 5 or 10 years?

Sarah Lahav: That's a big question that we deal around the industry a lot. And well divided. People say that the IT person will not exist because everything will go to the cloud. And the other half claims that people from the IT will have new skills. It wouldn’t be the same IT person as we know him now, there will be focus more on firewalls than on fixing computers and stuff like that. I do think that there is a certain challenge, okay, and I accept that and I attended the Gartner event that spoke the same kind of scenario on the HSBC events, so probably heard about it there.

And I think that – this is in my opinion, it would sound a little bit not logical but DevOps and speed are everything. I understand you cannot know everything – you know databases and everything there, probably that you could know. But once you see a problem, the faster you’d get to it – the faster you have your team fix it or apply a change or do something, the better. The only thing you need to change in my opinion is that you would be able to... the minute you understand something you say, “Let's go!” – a speed approach. To fix it really, really quickly, that will be the key.

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How Will IT Workers' Roles Change in the Next Five Years? (Video)

Comments Filter:
  • by NotDrWho ( 3543773 ) on Friday July 17, 2015 @01:44PM (#50130819)

    If (H1B == true) then great
        else bad

  • There are many definitions of "the cloud". My personal favorites:
    cloud = server(s) managed by someone other than you in another location

    Other than some common generic services you still have to engineer solutions to fit your business needs. Anything you want to have you have to specify and pay for. The cloud does not magically/automatically provide backup/fail-over. You have to set these up and pay extra for them.

    IT can succeed or fail in the cloud just the same as it can in your own private data center

    • by Anonymous Coward

      there are multiple definitions of IT Worker... be it sysadmins or desktop support or middleware admins, email admins, network admins etc.

    • I think the definition of "the cloud" that has emerged is "servers managed by someone other than you, managed to the extent that you are not aware of or concerned with the actual hardware."

      So the difference between having someone host your VM and having your VM hosted in "the cloud" is essentially just, "the way in which it's hosted makes it so I don't know, and it doesn't matter, which hardware it's running on." It's about the level of abstraction of management. If I have a couple of virtual hosts in my

    • by khasim ( 1285 )

      Other than some common generic services you still have to engineer solutions to fit your business needs.

      And even those generic services will still need someone to provide them. Whether that person is directly employed by your company or is an employee of the "cloud" company you're contracting with.

      People who "know how it works", or IT people will still be needed regardless.

      Most definitely. Particularly when there is a problem with your company's Internet link and everything "in the cloud" is unavailable.

      Or

    • Here's a job that's IT-centered but doesn't give a fuck about cloud or non-cloud: Data analysis.
      Big Data (buzzword, yeah I hate that too) absolutely requires highly technical IT people who "get" (understand) data. Management and MBAs are just eyeballing some graphs but when deep dive analysis comes on, they're as lost as Hansel and Gretel in episode two of "let's take a walk in the park, kids".

    • The Cloud is great. It allows regular people to describe a service without ever having to understand it and without ever being expected to define it. Managers love it, it's less expensive and you certainly couldn't be expected to be accountable for what happens in the Cloud. That's what in the Cloud means right? It's a service over which you need no knowledge or control.

      Then again you can be obtuse and call Cloud a Measured service with On-demand self-service, Broad network access, Resource pooling and Rapi

    • I am a Cloud Architect.
      People ask me what Cloud is/means.

      "In a nutshell, the Cloud means You Don't Own It."

      If you outsource to IBM (and other physical plant providers as well) in a "traditional" datacenter, you the client actually own the hardware legally (in most cases). If you want, you can come lift and shift it out of the datacenter. In a cloud environment, you don't own it. Potentially not even the data you have stored in the cloud, as some people have found out.

      During my long 25 years as a Sysadmin, t

  • Dredging deep here, Dice. But I guess she's female, so it's perfectly in keeping with your new tradition of a Friday fedora-tip to the SJW menace.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Most software development is moving to cloud-centric. Look to see less application development and more add-o/plug-in roles. The days of inhouse apps are dwindling as pressure is being put on companies to run leaner. There will always be support roles, hardware issues to address and servers or networks to maintain though diminished. "Remember the good ole nineteen eighties" ELO.

    • I don't really care much what they call it or where the server sits, but I'm fairly fucking disturbed by the trend of cloud service vendors making their services end-user-centric... by which I mean the services are meant to be purchased and administered by the people who will be using it, not by vendors.
  • by rikkards ( 98006 ) on Friday July 17, 2015 @01:56PM (#50130933) Journal

    The level of complexity in an IT worker's job has dramatically changed easily in the last 10 if not the last 5 years).

    • The level of complexity in an IT worker's job has dramatically changed easily in the last 10 if not the last 5 years).

      Huh? Things are getting much simpler. Today you can code to web standards instead of having browser dependent code. Today you can run 20 servers in one box. Today you can safely assume that your clients have decent bandwidth. Less complexity on your job means that today you are getting a lot more done.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        >> Today you can code to web standards instead of having browser dependent code. Today you can safely assume that your clients have decent bandwidth.

        Are you from the future? Because that's not the truth in 2015...

        • >> Today you can code to web standards instead of having browser dependent code. Today you can safely assume that your clients have decent bandwidth.

          Are you from the future? Because that's not the truth in 2015...

          That's pretty funny. Do you surf amazon.com? Or newegg.com? Or target.com? Or any other retail web site? Lots and lots of images on each page. Many many megabytes. They assume you have good bandwidth. They sure aren't losing customers because they require good bandwidth.

      • Things are getting much simpler.

        Not from where I'm sitting. Instead, the complexity goes up every year as they keep trying to do more with less. I'm fine with that as means I get paid more since they still need someone who understands how it all works.

        • Not from where I'm sitting. Instead, the complexity goes up every year as they keep trying to do more with less. I'm fine with that as means I get paid more since they still need someone who understands how it all works.

          well then it IS simpler because you are getting more work done with the same amount of effort.

          • It's more productive, that's not the same thing as simpler.
            • if the same amount of work gets you more results, then the things you are doing are simpler, because you are doing more of them with the same effort.

              • Logging in to 500 servers and making a small settings change using a text editor is simple, but not very productive. Setting up then using a configuration management system to script an update to do the same task is more complex but a lot less total work. Productive != Simple.
      • you can code to web standards unless you have customers. If you have customers, you have to code to whatever craptastic version of Internet Explorer or Firefox they have locked themselves into.
        • If you have customers, you have to code to whatever craptastic version of Internet Explorer or Firefox they have locked themselves into.

          Really? You "have" to? No, you don't. You put up a message and you tell your customers to upgrade their browser. Compromising your security to deal with customers who refuse to upgrade is not in anyone's best interest.

          • "Sorry boss, you have to forego this $300,000 a month in income because some guy on the internet said we don't have to support IE7" - unemployed web developer
      • The web is not all of IT.

        There are backend/backoffice functions that keep getting more and more complex. SAP comes to mind, and while Hadoop and it's relatives are cool, they are more complex to deploy than a single big Data Warehouse.

        Getting all the moving pieces to play nice is a full time job, at least for me. I have found that the more power you get the more the apps need it. It is a continual arms race of capacity and complexity against demand and utility.

    • Most of it is self-inflicted. In fact, most of it is eagerly, self-congratulatorily self-inflicted.

  • Having about 20 years of experience in IT, it hasn't changed much. Sure, there's the World Wide Web, but before that we had FTP, Gopher, Telnet, and LANs. Cloud storage isn't really any different than network home drives. The tech will change (cheaper, faster, slightly easier for the end user), but at the end of the day, you're still installing software, answering end-user questions, adding servers to the network, maybe repairing hardware, etc.
    • Sure, there's the World Wide Web, but before that we had FTP, Gopher, Telnet, and LANs.

      None of those old things were frameworks for client/server application development. You could hire a team to write a networked app in C or C++ and it took months and months. With modern web tools you can get an application up and running in a few minutes.

      Cloud storage isn't really any different than network home drives. The tech will change (cheaper, faster, slightly easier for the end user), but at the end of the day, you're still installing software, answering end-user questions, adding servers to the network, maybe repairing hardware, etc.

      Um, if you are doing things in the cloud, you're not adding servers to your network and you're not repairing hardware.

      • Are there cloud tools that write your business logic for you? That's the time consuming part, not the scaffolding. A few minutes might give you a bare bones website but it won't build your complex website and database or automatically connect to all the other systems it might need.

        • Are there cloud tools that write your business logic for you? That's the time consuming part, not the scaffolding.

          yes, there are. if you have a warehouse full of parts or a doctor's office or an online store, there are plenty of tools available that you can use.

          A few minutes might give you a bare bones website

          we are talking about full integrated application suites here, not textbook examples. If you look in your industry you will probably find 10 providers that have canned applications that they are selling to your competitors. Do you have a grocery warehouse? A hospital? Do you rent cars? What about an apartment complex? I could go on and on... If you need sof

          • we are talking about full integrated application suites here, not textbook examples. If you look in your industry you will probably find 10 providers that have canned applications that they are selling to your competitors. Do you have a grocery warehouse? A hospital? Do you rent cars? What about an apartment complex? I could go on and on... If you need software for one of these applications, you have no business rolling your own. You go out and get a full-on software suite that takes care of it all. You can either buy it outright or you can pay for it as a service, your choice.

            And the first thing the users will tell you is "That's great! But can you make it do this one simple thing?"

            • And the first thing the users will tell you is "That's great! But can you make it do this one simple thing?"

              Do you even work in the IT field? This is what we call a "revenue opportunity". If they really want it, they will pay you for it.

              • And the first thing the users will tell you is "That's great! But can you make it do this one simple thing?"

                Do you even work in the IT field? This is what we call a "revenue opportunity". If they really want it, they will pay you for it.

                I can tell that you don't, if you think that people want to pay for anything in IT. After all, there's millions of people in Southeast Asia who'd be glad to do the job. For wages that would starve anyone in the First World.

                Oh yes, and it has to be delivered in 3 days. Because All Yo Have To Do Is...

          • Yeah we have plenty of them. We also have unique requirements too and old systems that won't go away. I've worked in IT for 20 years and managers have always been buying packages that then need to be heavily customised because they believed the salesman. Every business is different and generic systems aren't always the answer.

  • by roc97007 ( 608802 ) on Friday July 17, 2015 @02:10PM (#50131025) Journal

    ...that the company will buy IT as a service from the most cost-effective supplier, most current IT personnel will be laid off (a few will be repurposed), and then users will discover shortly after cutover that calling the (now overseas) helpdesk has suddenly become an exercise in frustration, because of the language barrier and because the helpdesk person often knows less about computers and about the environment than the customer, because the business model dictates that you can pull people off the street, hand them a stack of procedures, and they become IT personnel. (This works as well as you imagine.)

    Management and team leaders will beg the remaining IT management not to make their users call the helpdesk, in vain.

    Due to lack of effective IT services and the necessity to actually get work done, little pools of IT start to pop up around the company. It starts as a file share on someone's PC, and then an off-the-books PC becoming a dedicated resource (there's a rogue EXSi server not three feet from me) and developers start to remember old admin and dba skills. After awhile, the company IT infrastructure is still used for no-brainer stuff like mail and large storage appliances and relatively static work like billing is still done on big, enterprise-class machines, but more and more anything that needs to be flexible, or resources that need to respond rapidly to user needs, are done surreptitiously, under the table, with the funds being disguised as other thing.

    Then, when development itself is outsourced, it's left to the "development managers" and "offshore interface personnel" to maintain the still-used local resources, plus, usually, additional personnel to try to find some use for the code produced by those offshore resources, who have no real context of what the code is being used for.

    (Parenthetically, the problem is not confined to IT. A company of which I have experience who has outsourced their accounting, still doesn't realize that after three years the offshore accountants still don't know the difference between California and Canada, and think the transaction must be correct if they don't get an error when they hit "return". The remaining 10% of retained accountants are kept busy correcting mistakes and doing the work over again.)

    Anyway, the point being, some IT people don't choose to fade away, they go underground. They find that users can be very thankful of a helpful person who can communicate well and has knowledge of the company and what the user is trying to accomplish. Who isn't following a script but genuinely trying to help, with the expertise to do so. I have a title that sounds like a different job, but I'm still doing admin and customer support. When I'm not at my regular job, I have a side business providing home support for people who are tired of "I am being here for helping you turn it off and back on again".

    So yeah, I guess IT has changed.

    • ...that the company will buy IT as a service from the most cost-effectiveXXXXXXXXX cheapest supplier,

      FTFY.

      And you forgot about the part where your company shows up on the evening news because all of your most critical data has been leaked to former Soviet-block countries. After a mysterious 6-hour service outage.

      But it's "cost effective", right?

      For the guys who collected the bonuses and bailed, anyway.

      • Yes. I wrote "cheapest" first, and then changed it to the more ...shall we say "businessly correct", "cost-effective".

        In our case, it's more likely that the data will be leaked to our competitors. Which raises a different question -- a *lot* of our company confidential data is now going through or being stored on "cloud" services. In some cases, those services are supplying both us and our largest competitors. At what point does it become, um, cost-effective to discretely sell a company's data to a comp

    • The company where I work has gone the Outsourcing route for their data centers.

      When I started at the Company, ten years ago, Data Center employees were FTEs (Full Time Employees) that worked for the Company.

      Then there was a change of CTO, and during that CTOs reign the Company FTE Data Center staff were aggressively and mostly eliminated, then replaced with Outsource IBM service staff. Additionally many IT EDI staff became Outsourced.

      Ten years ago, I worked with none (maybe one?) Outsourced IT staffer. Many

  • How many people have used the "cloud" and then moved away from it.

    • How many people have used the "cloud" and then moved away from it.

      how do you "move away" from the "cloud"? do you get a different address in cyberspace? do you have to give up on online shopping?

      • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

        You bring outsourced services back in house and run your own servers on your own network rather than paying someone else in Timbuktu to do it for you.

        • You bring outsourced services back in house and run your own servers on your own network rather than paying someone else in Timbuktu to do it for you.

          your joke detector is badly broken

      • by creimer ( 824291 )

        how do you "move away" from the "cloud"?

        I stopped using DropBox (cloud) and started using a file server (local). More storage space and less risk of being compromised by hackers.

        • I stopped using DropBox (cloud) and started using a file server (local). More storage space and less risk of being compromised by hackers.

          yeah those encrypted backup files magically get more secure when you copy them onto your own computer.

          • by creimer ( 824291 )
            Much more accessible if your Internet connection goes down for an extended period of time when you really need to get work done.
            • Much more accessible if your Internet connection goes down for an extended period of time when you really need to get work done.

              Depends on which side of the link you are on...

  • What would change?, hopefully there wouldn't be a video for asking stupid questions.
    • Once we've really gotten to the future, there will be speech to text - or at least editors that know how to type up an interview - so that we don't have to site through video interviews.

  • I wonder if we will see a swing from cloud computing back to a central managed system, similar to the mainframe concept (first go around), XStations (second go around), JavaSations (third go around), except using VDI and a remote desktop protocol, where the computer on the desk mainly is there to run remote apps, and instead of the apps being on the cloud, they would be moved back to the central datacenter for security reasons.

    I have a feeling we will be seeing some major breaches, perhaps a cloud provider

    • a return to having a core data center

      Really, you assume that individual companies can roll their own security better? You're dreaming. Look at target, home depot, hannafords, etc.

      • by mlts ( 1038732 )

        It can be done. For every firm that hits the news, there are plenty that thwart attacks, but attacks repelled don't make the news.

        Take one large, recent breach as an example. If they had any type of lockout or alerting protection on their Active Directory service accounts, the brute force on their AD accounts would have been stopped in its tracks. In fact, the AD default is a 20 minute lockout every few bad guesses.

        Target and others would have the attacks stopped cold by an IDS/IPS. No, these are not ch

        • their subnets should be isolated from the Internet for everything but security patches, alarms/traps, and other essential communication.

          in other words, leave lots of possible security holes

          Take a law firm. Unless there is an exception, their individual partner offices, floor, and entire building is locked at night.

          by cutting network access to say, 0700 to 1900

          Really? What a convenient reality you have. Most lawyers work 50 to 80 hours a week.

          it means that half the attacks mounted against the network would fail.

          this is a pretty pathetic way to avoid a network attack, assuming that it won't happen during business hours. it's like saying you don't have to worry about shoplifters because we lock the doors at night.

  • I've been doing systems work for quite a while, and The Cloud isn't making things easier for IT workers -- it's making them more complex as there are now more moving parts you don't control to consider. Our company is still mainly an on-premises shop because we deploy stuff in areas where The Cloud can't be accessed at a reasonable speed for a reasonable price. But, I would say that virtualization in general has made things a lot more...fluid...than before. What's needed now is more people who know integrat

    • the companies will find out after a while that it costs too much to get their data back and rebuild their own capacity on-site.

      huh? all they have to do is make their own internal cloud and migrate onto it.

      • Sure, but this would be after getting rid of 90% of their IT department, selling the data center, and realizing they have to pay Amazon or Microsoft a not-insignificant sum to move petabytes of data/VMs back out. Data transfer to the cloud is free, transfers out cost a lot of money.

        I have been through a couple of offshoring exercises. What usually happens is the company is sold a dream, the reality fails to materialize, and the company needs to just wait out the contract because they no longer have the expe

        • Data transfer to the cloud is free, transfers out cost a lot of money.

          are you saying there is some sort of premium charge if I run a SQL SELECT query from my own IP address?

  • We asked Sarah Lahav this question. She's founder and CEO of service management and help desk software company SysAid

    If you're not asking Gartner Group, I'm not interested - the answers simply won't have as much comedic value. ;)

  • I absolutely HATE the way you can't adjust the volume on the opening advertisement. It was enough to make me click away before the show started. Now I remember why I never watch these things.
  • What would it be like if IT geeks went on strike?
    Business and consumer technologies are usually hidden under SEP field generators. And without us geeks to unplug the AC adapter from your router, or to read the instructions on your screen and click the corresponding icon for you, the vast majority of idiot morons on computers would be fucked. Unless the general public decides that they need to actually understand the tools they use on a daily basis, and educate themselves accordingly, IT work will ALWAYS ex
    • What would it be like if (choose occupation here) went on strike?

      Don't feel so special, the world falls apart when the garbage men go on strike.

  • They just want to see things as less permanent, which means more easily managed people. In turn, that means people are worse off overall for lack of access to opportunities that go a more conventional route.

  • Greetings Sarah Lahav,

    Seriously though, whenever addressing a techie crowd, never use the ' cloud ' word. What people unskilled in the art don't realize is that a virtual machine in 'the cloud' is virtually (sic) the same as a rack mounted PC. You still need someone to install and configure your business systems and no one is going to do that for free, certainly not your cloud provider. As for the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of the firewall, someone else more advanced in the arts once put it better.
  • It doesn't matter if a webserver is hosted in a private data centre or 'the cloud' a company still requires someone to configure and tweak it. Most IT work isn't fixing faulty servers as it is tweaking them to complete business workloads. Cloud isn't going to change any of that. Outsourcing on the otherhand means goodbye to entry level positions. But can't touch high complex positions

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