Goodbye, sysadmins; hello, software developers

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Goodbye, sysadmins; hello, software developers

02 Dec 2013 | TheServerSide.com

Here's the good news for coders and software developers: The emergence of the cloud has made their skills and capabilities more valuable than ever. The big trend for 2014 and beyond is that big companies will be eager to pay top dollar for those cloud-savvy coders who know how to write scripts and libraries that can be used to automate and manage enterprise systems. The bad news? System administrators are now more irrelevant than ever. If you're a sysadmin, you might want to start learning a cloud-based application programming interface or two.

The fact of the matter is, as organizations move more resources into the cloud, more opportunities arise in which development, deployment and administrative functions can be automated programmatically. "The skill set is actually moving more towards development and less towards system administration," says Peter Roosakos, principal and founder of Foghorn Consulting. Combine the cloud computing trend with other forms of automation -- like continuous integration tools, such as Jenkins and Hudson -- and the need to have a team of administrators tapping away at a keyboard day in and day out goes away.

"When we were doing ops in the old world, we had sysadmins who did sysadmin tasks, hands on keyboard," Roosakos says. "With the new tool set out there, what you're really doing is you're codifying your infrastructure." And of course, codifying an infrastructure is something that developers do, not sysadmins. So, the good news is the fact that in 2014 and beyond, developers will be in more demand than ever. The bad news for the IT industry as a whole is that one new developer, on contract for a month, might end up replacing five to 10 full-time employees doing systems administration. It's not a zero sum game, as programmatic automation means that overall fewer IT professionals will be needed.

For more insights on how cloud computing, Amazon Web Services and automation-based technologies are impacting the industry, listen to TheServerSide's full interview with Foghorn's Peter Roosakos.

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