Is Your IT Job Safe?

Or is the uptake of cloud computing threatening to take your livelihood away? Last week, METISfiles joined webwereld to discuss the impact of cloud computing on IT professionals’ job security in The Netherlands. Participants included Jasper Bakker (webwereld) moderating the discussion, Corno Vromans, IT Manager Tilburg University, and Rogier Tharner, Technical Consultant Neomax.

The webcast focused on four themes: 1) can you save money with cloud computing? 2) is cloud computing threatening your IT job security? 3) is cloud computing more efficient? and 4) how to deal with the cloud.

What is our position on these themes? The METISfiles believes that first and foremost cloud is about agility, not cost (check out our Elastic Enterprise theme). We believe that CIOs need to take a long hard look at the business processes that IT is supporting and at the way IT is delivered. Our assumption is that IT supporting a highly standardized and common business process needs to be delivered as-a-service from a third party whenever possible. As a consequence, those IT jobs that are supporting these common business processes, for example managing a company’s dedicated email servers, will disappear quickly.

At the same time we believe that many IT customers will need to orchestrate a complicated and hybrid mix of cloud and non-cloud IT resources. Managing the infrastructure, platform, and software patchwork will provide for IT jobs for considerable time going forward.

Cloud computing is also about bringing back the importance of the “I” in IT. When “T” becomes a utility, companies can finally focus on the value of information to the business. IT jobs will become more business focused and less technology focused.

However, job security for life is quickly becoming a relic of the past and the IT sector is no exception. IT professionals have to realize that to stay competitive they will need to change employers more often or become an E-lancerpreneur. This is happening already. The Dutch statistics bureau (CBS) recently published its latest IT job statistics. Over the last 12 years the number of ICT workers grew – in line with the total Dutch workforce – from 213,000 in 1998 to 283,000 in 2010. Fixed contract workers decreased from 91% to 82%, flexible contract grew from 3% to 4% and freelance workers grew from 5% to 14%.

On top of dealing with a change in work relationships, IT professionals need to stay current in skills and knowledge or run the risk of being outsourced to a lower wage country or a lower wage (and younger) employee.

At the METISfiles we feel that the speed of technological change, globalization and the demographic shift have a deep impact on the way we live and work. The future of work and the flexible workforce are a major theme in our publications. If you want to contribute your ideas, please feel free to comment.

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