At this point, you understand how hyperconverged infrastructure works and, if you’re like most, you’re wondering what impact it has on IT staffing. After all, if you go all-in on this technology, you’re fully eliminating the storage silo in the data center, a shift that has obvious ramifications, especially for your storage staff.
That’s why it’s important to understand that IT is undergoing what amounts to a seismic shift in how IT needs to operate. The days in which IT infrastructure support groups are broken into individual groups are coming to an end as businesses seek to streamline and make more efficient the overall operation of the department. Instead of hiring subject matter experts with narrow but deep expertise, businesses are beginning to take a more general approach by hiring people with wider experience, but not quite as much depth in expertise. Therefore, as the infrastructure gets simpler to deploy and to manage, it becomes far easier to staff infrastructure positions this way. In short, the market is seeing the rise of the Infrastructure Engineer.
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The Infrastructure Engineer
Today’s “infrastructure engineer” is really just yesterday’s “IT generalist” in that they have a wide breadth of knowledge about various aspects of IT or the data center, but may not have roots-deep knowledge of every single area. Infrastructure engineers are able to procure, deploy, and administer various technologies, but may not have – and may not need to have – the depth of knowledge that resource-centric specialists possess. This makes infrastructure engineers more flexible and easier to adapt to business and technology changes.
This provides several major benefits to an organization. First, over time, the data center can be managed with fewer people. You no longer need to have individual teams, with redundancy on each team. Now, it’s possible to have one or two teams — a network team and an everything-else team — that handles it all. Second, this new paradigm opens budget lines that IT can leverage to focus more on business-facing activities. This is the holy grail for the business because business analysts can help drive top line revenue rather than consume expense budget.
The challenge though is getting from today’s structure to tomorrow’s. There will be obvious disruption to the department and to people’s careers. However, in the world of IT, it’s critically important that staff take charge of their own career and stay current on their skills. Your organization should do everything possible to retrain people and to ensure that they have modern skills that best meet the needs of your business, but, again, people – particularly IT pros – will need to take charge of their own training.
The Training Dilemma and Personal Career Growth
“But I haven’t been trained on that new technology” lament many an IT pro.
The problem is that, one way or the other, you won’t be staying in your current job forever. If you stay current, your job will (hopefully) evolve with you. If you decide to sit still or just wait for others to attend to your professional development, you will fall behind and become irrelevant and will eventually be forced out. I’ve seen it happen over and over. This is a real issue and I hear it all. the. time. The only person that can manage your career destiny is you. Training budgets are constantly slashed in many orgs, but you’re still expected to know what’s coming and what’s here. It may not feel right to you, but if your company won’t pay for training, you need to figure out how to do it yourself, or you’ll waste away. Technology innovation isn’t going to slow down, so you need to speed up.
Hyperconverged infrastructure and other emerging constructs are not the problem, but they do reveal weaknesses in people’s career growth strategies, or lack thereof.