Cloud computing can help or hurt your career

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It has been rumored that our IT organization is considering using cloud based technologies inside and outside the company. Is this good or bad for me?

As many people say, the only constant in business is change. I truly believe this is not only true for business, but for IT and the technologies that drive it. I’m of the opinion that IT related technologies have a half life of 18 months. That is to say, that the skill set and knowledge you have today is only half as marketable 18 months from now because:

  • New hardware and software versions are released, which reduces your currency in the technology
  • As technologies become more established, the competitive edge for those who know it are reduced because the technology is more well known
  • The introduction of new innovative technologies can quickly marginalize older technologies and quickly make them obsolete
  • Companies begin chasing newer technologies if they believe it makes good business sense

Cloud computing is one of those technologies that is truly taking the computer industry by storm. In fact, many refer to cloud computing as mega-trend like the introduction of PCs, client-server computing and the creation of the internet. Indications are that cloud computing is truly a trend of this magnitude.

Like all big trends in the computer industry, including those previously mentioned, there are winners and losers. That said, cloud computing has the potential to revitalize our industry. It has the potential to push some techies aside and for those who come aboard, bring others on the ride of their professional life.

Let’s begin with the downside of cloud computing from a career perspective. If the internal software you are supporting is moved to the cloud, it’s possible you will lose your job. This can be very ugly in today’s economy. This is the case because in essence, this type of cloud computing is a type of out sourcing, which is the fear of many professions.

On the lighter side, IT cloud computing based initiatives have the potential to:

  • Expand your skill set.
  • Change your IT group from a cost center into a revenue producer if your internally created cloud-based applications are sold externally by the company.
  • Expand the role of Business Analysts because companies are able to implement software applications that would have otherwise been too expensive to implement.
  • Spawn large new IT initiatives with the goal of rewriting and/or retrofitting existing software applications to work within internally created private cloud environments.

There have also been a large number of self-funded and venture capital backed software companies that need techies of all kinds to build their cloud computing based products.

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