"Will my job as an IT professional still be needed if my employer moves the IT infrastructure to the cloud?"
Many IT professionals deal with this question as soon as the employer has declared the strategic goal "We are migrating to the cloud". The technological enthusiasm for cloud technologies often leaves no room for the rising fears of employees.
One of the reasons named for the adoption of cloud technologies in business is the ability to reduce the number of IT staff. With the elimination of local IT infrastructure less personnel are required for running operations.
Since most of the times the reasons for the move to cloud technologies is are not explained by decision makers, the members of the IT staff feel helpless. This helplessness is stimulated by negative feelings caused by personal prejudices against "the cloud".
There is no reason to feel helpless.
I do not want to play down the feeling of helplessness in your personal job situation. But there is no reason to simply surrender to it.
The adoption of cloud technologies is not evil by default, nor is it the only solution for an organization's IT department. However, cloud technologies offer new possibilities and thus much more flexible operating scenarios than are possible with a purely local IT infrastructure. It should also not be forgotten that cloud does not automatically mean that IT components and data are processed by third-party service providers. You can also use the flexibility of cloud technologies as a private cloud in your on-premises IT infrastructure.
Here you as IT staff come into play. Your employer needs you to be cloud aware, know how to adopt and how to use cloud technologies. You need to be able to rate the cloud concepts provided by external cloud consultants. This not only applies to the classic IT administrators, but to database and application administrators as well.
The technological options of storing data, operating applications and providing services in the cloud are constantly changing. This automatically requires continuous learning. In the classical IT approach, software changes often occurred only in a 2-year interval, e.g. by installing service packs. The use of cloud services challenges us with constant innovations, simple changes, but also deletions in weekly intervals. And it does not matter if it's Software-as-a-Service, Platform-as-a-Service, or Infrastructure-as-a-Service.
Understandably, these frequent changes, and especially the rate of change, are stoking fear about your job.
But what about the future for IT professionals in a cloud-based world?
There is no reason that the coming changes of the adoption and use of cloud technologies scare you. Your employer needs well-trained and trusted staff for the daily operation of cloud technologies. You have a key advantage over external cloud consultants, you know the needs and requirements of your colleagues in the company. You can help shape the adoption and operation of cloud technologies in the enterprise. Find your personal key subject in the numerous cloud technologies and make yourself an expert for your IT department.
“Be passionate and bold. Always keep learning. You stop doing useful things if you don't learn.” – Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft
Ideally, your job is not just a profession but even a mission. Your daily work should be fun. If you have the feeling that your employer and thus your workplace does not adapt to the modern requirements and technical change does not take place, then I have only one advice for you: Change your employer. Especially if your personal IT training is not encouraged. Get your IT and cloud knowledge up to date and make use of Internet resources to shape IT change in your IT department. The following sources are listed as a starting point. Many of those sources are free of charge.
- Training offers by Microsoft Learning
- Free training at Microsoft Virtual Academy
- Microsoft MOOCs on edX
- Microsoft Professional Program
- LinkedIn Learning
Have the courage to change. Learning new technologies is not nearly as difficult as you would think. Learn about new technologies at your own pace.
And if you learn about a new technology, have the courage to get certified. As a first certification I recommend the certification as MCSA: Office 365.
- MCSA: Office 365
It is perfectly normal for you to feel a sense of helplessness when changes, such as the introduction of cloud technologies, are announced. But there is no reason to be petrified. See it as an opportunity for your professional development.
Take advantage of the many free and paid offers to learn about the various cloud technologies. Find your subject area and establish yourself as an expert in your IT department. Your employer relies on technically qualified employees. And finally, you have the courage to change your career.
And do not forget: The Cloud is not a place . . . . the Cloud is a thought.