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As COVID-19 continues changing norms across industries, the impact is emerging in the IT industry. Many companies are moving their IT services are moving to the cloud as a way of enhancing service provision. Although companies were already shifting their operations from onsite to the cloud pre-Covid-19, the shift has been accelerated by the coronavirus pandemic as well as lockdown and social distancing measures put in place to limit infections. This change is suddenly being felt as many players are now laying off their staff. For instance, IBM, under its new chief executive officer, is cutting off several jobs as a result of these changes. Although the number of staff that will be laid off is still not known, the Wall Street Journal reports that it is likely to be in thousands out of its original number of 352,600 as of the end of 2019.

Although it may appear that technician-level jobs in data centers, network administrators, systems engineers, and storage engineers among others are facing the danger of being laid off, the truth is that these jobs are moving towards companies that provide infrastructure-as-a-service. Sadly, IT personnel in organizations that need to migrate their services to the cloud are the endangered species. Experts believe that more changes are on the way as companies seek to consolidate their services and operations. The new approach to consolidation is aimed at taking advantage of virtualization and adopting a cloud-like experience on-premises approach, according to some experts. Despite these changes and layoffs, data center technicians will continue to be in demand. It is often difficult for companies to find and hire these professionals to fill specific roles.

As the data center jobs appear to be facing some challenges, traditional data center jobs are evolving into different professions, such as DevOps engineers, hardware, and infrastructure engineers, among others, therefore, changing the traditional IT operations and software development. However, although most companies are now outsourcing their services, they are keeping their staff because they still need people that will ensure they have some sense of control over their data. On the other hand, companies that deal with more sensitive information and highly secretive firms are finding outsourcing their data, and IT services uncomfortable.

The pandemic has substantially shifted the needs of companies with regard to technology, as many organizations now find it feasible and healthy for employees to access workplace resources from home. Of course, not everything can be accessed via the web, and not every industry can benefit from this shift. Regardless of this, companies that depend on on-premise systems are now changing their strategy as the cloud appears to be the future of technology.

As companies move towards subscription of super cloud services offered by major players such as Amazon, Microsoft, and Google, we should expect more jobs to be lost. These companies will take away traditional jobs that were reserved for IT personnel in organizations as these subscribing companies move towards cheaper yet effective options. The services offered will include hardware and software as well as networks and services, all of that will eliminate the need for IT personnel.

Although these job losses are a sign of tough things to come, they can be used as a source of inspiration by the IT professionals. Nobody wants to live without a job, but if it ever happens, professionals should turn it to their advantage by shifting to another area. Recruiters, on the other hand, need to be flexible and willing to retrain their employees to find work. This will ensure that they do not lose their source of income. Even as companies celebrate the goodies that come with cloud computing, they should also take a moment to help people pushed aside by the rush to migrate services to the cloud.   

Last modified on Monday, 06 July 2020
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Scott Koegler

Scott Koegler is Executive Editor for PMG360. He is a technology writer and editor with 20+ years experience delivering high value content to readers and publishers. 

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