IT Employment

How the 5 hottest tech jobs are changing IT

The IT industry is shifting. Here are five jobs coming to the forefront and how they are transforming the IT department.

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 iStock/mikdam

As powerful forces like the cloud, mobility, and big data reshape the IT industry, the job roles within it naturally grow and evolve.

Mark Myers, director of cloud services at Datalink, explained the increasing need for business and IT to get on the same page. He's noticed five roles in particular that are shifting in that direction, and he recommends a three-year plan that could help as companies try to change IT into service providers.

"My whole message to IT right now is pull your head out of the sand and realize that in some ways, internal IT is now competing for their jobs," Myers said.

1. Business analyst

While the role of business analyst can change from company to company, Scott Wolf, a business analyst in the payment processing industry, described the traditional definition as bridging the gap between business people and IT.

Myers talked about the way the role is changing: "IT has met with the business [units], but they've never really had a role that had authority to drive what IT should be doing to meet the business needs, because they never had anybody who truly understood the business."

For Wolf, building relationships ends up being one of the most important parts of his job. "I have to be respected by the business, the developers, and outside vendors. Establishing successful relationships there is key," he said. Myers said that most likely, someone already within the company would be a good pick to fill the analyst role.

2. Infrastructure architect

Keith Stevenson has been an IT architect for five years. "When I explain it to my family and other people who don't work in IT, I say I figure out which technology Lego bricks we need and how to click them together in order to deliver a service or a project," he said.

The IT architect, in conjunction with the business liaison are important roles in aligning IT with business, Myers said.

Stevenson sees a large part of his job as translation. "I need to be able to relate to the business analyst and the business needs of the organization and be able to translate those needs and requirements into concrete things that my IT specialists can then do their thing with it," he said. As far as how the role is evolving, he said if done right, it's not a role that will be made obsolete by the cloud. "You need architects, even if you don't own any of your hardware."

3. IT programmer

Myers said IT needs a group of its own programmers that can write the APIs, write the automation, and bring all the components together.

"While there are programmers as software developers who are typically a part of IT, the infrastructure team now needs a set of IT people, who actually understand how to program the infrastructure," he said.

An infrastructure programmer could come from within the infrastructure team or, Myers said, from a whole brand new discipline of people who are actually learning how to program the IT infrastructure from a service delivery point of view.

4. IT generalist

In the 1990s and 2000s, Myers said, IT had three pillars - storage, service, and network - but now the trend is shifting back toward converged infrastructures. A generalist can understand each of the three areas and work closely with the infrastructure architect and specialists to make everything work.

This is similar to the business analyst in that it's about connecting the dots and filling in the gaps, but instead of translating between the business and IT it's about translating between different technologies and vendors to make different solutions play nicely.

5. Applications liaison

"As the data center evolves, and as network devices become more programmable, the applications can and should take advantage of that," Myers said. The applications liaison is someone who understands IT infrastructure and can work with the applications development team, "helping them leverage all of the technology that they have that the applications can utilize."

This role would most likely fit with someone already in the industry, versus someone freshly trained. "I don't think that's something you can just casually teach in school," Myers said.

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About

Erin Carson is a Staff Writer for TechRepublic. She covers the impact of social media in business and the ways technology is transforming the future of work.

13 comments
grayknight
grayknight

I find this almost funny. The state decided to reclassify their programmers as business analysts. Though, they are programmers first still. There are fewer IT positions now than what there were two years ago. The IT Architect probably does their own programming, as they aren't hiring someone else to do it. I'm a Senior Developer (web mostly), though I've had to learn and do about everything from one end to the other. Repair machines, setup servers, understand networking/storage/etc. Hopefully there are some companies out there with people in actual useful positions. Maybe someday that'll trickle down to smaller companies :)

Rann Xeroxx
Rann Xeroxx

An IT person trained and understands virtualization, both on prem and in the cloud.  There will be some big moves in these directions in the next 10 years, you need an inside person(s) to help guide you through the vendor BS to find the right solutions for your industry.

Matt Haswell
Matt Haswell

Given the splash and probable trajectory of that goldfish then I estimate it will bounce off the glass lip of the second bowl and die gasping on the floor. Just like some of the jobs mentioned in the article. In another 20 years it will be realised that people doing actual work are more useful than people going to meetings about planning the discovery sessions that are apparently relevant to the business according to people who don't know IT.

hits007foru
hits007foru

In House Blended e_Learning. The biggest asset any organization has is it's staff. Having them well trained will keep them from changing jobs and performing better at what they know and do best. WIN WIN for both Employer and Employee 

sbarman
sbarman

Once again a tech pundit forgot security. Remember, security is not a zero cost option! That's ok, the more you people forget about us and the more folks like Target, Neiman Marcus, and others mess up, those like me will have a job. After all, someone has to clean up the mess brought on by the Business Analyst for a system that was not properly designed by the Infrastructure Architect with security in mind with software written by a programmer mostly with lazy programming practices (bounds checking, anyone?) that is all being recommended by an IT generalist is a jack of all trades and a master of none! 


Can we get Ralph Nader to translate "Unsafe At Any Speed" to the modern computer industry?

Jonny Davey
Jonny Davey

Ben infrastructure architects sounds something I'd like

Nahuel Arosemena Siburu
Nahuel Arosemena Siburu

New technologies and new high concepts to planning overseeing and run a small business.-

Anwar Bham
Anwar Bham

Same roles different definitions really lazy writing

Joe Brown
Joe Brown

I think overlooking security is a mistake

mogwaipr
mogwaipr

Security is the very first thing one sets up after deciding the nodes in a cloud's domain