One in Five IT Pros Thinks Their Job Will Be Gone Within One Year - Cloud to the rescue?

This topic was created by Drewc .

  1. Drewc Gold badge

    One in Five IT Pros Thinks Their Job Will Be Gone Within One Year - Cloud to the rescue?

    So says this survey from Star, a UK-based cloudy- hosting biz. Star's answer? Embrace the cloud.


    The IT department’s role can evolve from its current focus on day-to-day maintenance to a longer term view that embraces ideas, knowledge and innovation, adding business value and securing the careers of IT professionals.


    So that's all it takes then - a shift in skills and responsibilities?- Not the death of the IT department as we understand it?

    1. Denarius Silver badge

      Re: One in Five IT Pros Thinks Their Job Will Be Gone Within One Year - Cloud to the rescue?

      more like gone to India or some 3rd world hell hole, like USA as its economy implodes after a few more bonkers bankers bonuses. There is the usual round of slash, slice, dice and downsize followed by the" bugger, we need more staff" process that has a 3 year cycle.

      As for cloudiness, ha ! a few techies may evaporate, but the security and network jobs will proliferate, as will the customer managers, incident managers, qualty auditors and other non-technical groupies.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    It's not a case of losing jobs, it's probably not even reskilling for lots of people, just refocussing. Shifts like these are good for industries and their dependants.

  3. Trevor_Pott Gold badge
    IT Angle


    Reskilling will help some people; but the key here is the sheer volume of companies that can now be managed by a single meat sack. Some folks will do well by migrating skills towards cloudy giggery-pokery. But the absolute tonnage of meat required to keep all the interwebular widgets running will decrease dramatically over the coming decade.

    Fewer nerds will be needed than exist today. The nerds that exist today are all being told “reskill or die!” Competition will be fierce, remuneration will plummet. Eventually, we’ll reach a point where the expectation is that people with 4 years of post secondary and 10 years of field experience work for sum($poverty_line * 1.10), and this is a transition that simply won’t be accepted by folk used to making sum($poverty_line * 3.00) or higher.

    Jobs will start to leave industrialised nations. India and China are both out – they cost too much – but there are several skilled centers popping up in Africa that will fill the bill. Ordinarily this would be no cause for alarm; the quality of service would be so low that 5 years later it would all come back home. But it won’t.

    Fact is; technology is advancing to the point that – by and large – you don’t need English-speaking, well trained, highly-skilled meat to run it. Mostly, gear looks after itself. If it doesn’t, well…it’s disposable! Just throw the offending thing away and buy a new one. Commoditisation magnified by “self-healing” technology.

    Engineers are safe; someone has to design this crap. Circuits need to be engineered, software still requires immense skill and talent to write properly, and someone has to design that cloudy whatsit to not die. (Or at least do something useful like fail to backups when it does.)

    But the sysadmin? Our time is limited. The coming decade will (with some exceptions) see the end of my kind. Those of us lacking an iron ring, who are passable at development but really dislike it…we’ve no future here.

    So…reskill? Yes.

    But not within IT.

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      Re: *snort*

      Oh, and before anyone tells me I'm full of it, my response is simply "time will tell." I used to be able to make a living as an SME sysadmin for a single company. Now, I run the IT for half a dozen organisations, act as consultant for at least two dozen more and have started and Internet Presence Management company.

      A year ago, any income from The Register was a cute bonus. Something that I invested in buying a new ASUS Transformer, or a stack of software licences so that I could turn around and write more articles. It was a hobby that almost paid for itself.

      Today, that income is absolutely essential if I am going to look after my family. I haven’t had a raise (at my day job) in 4 years. When the massive inflation for the Edmonton area is taken into account, I have in fact taken a significant pay cut.

      To maintain a modestly frugal middle class lifestyle whilst paying off student loans and having any hope in hell of saving for an even modest retirement, we need a household income somewhere in the 120k cdn range.

      If she makes 40k – about national average – then that means that I have to stump up 80k. I have 10 years of professional experience as a systems administrator. At least 5 of that as some flavour of higher management with added project management blue crystals. I have been fixing computers in one form or another since I was 8 years old. 80k for that level of experience is not something I consider out of bounds.

      Instead, I have to effectively work 3 jobs (16-18 hrs, 7 d/wk) to pull in ~85k. It is quite literally killing me. Sadly, I am still doing better than most sysadmins in the Edmonton area, as most are unemployed. (Outsourced to Manila.) Those that aren’t are lucky to get ~60k with 10 years of experience.

      I should have listened to my father and been a welder. In Alberta, that’s far better pay (~125k) for far fewer hours.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Re: *snort*

        I see "cloud computing" as similar to "paperless office". It looks real good to marketing & moneybags (and manglement in general), but application in the real world won't fly over the long haul. Adding more levels of complexity and more potential security risks just don't fly in my mind. In point of fact I've already moved a couple clients away from "cloud" to entirely in house. Noce to get paid for something I advised against (cloud) and then get paid again in an "I told you so" ;-)

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge


          My current particular field, problem analysis, has actually taken an upturn since the advent of the cloud.

          Previously the worst case scenario was you would have to work with a couple of silo'd teams and an internet supplier to assess a problem.

          Now it's a whole raft of different people managing systems:

          local staff

          outsourced managed networks

          outsourced managed systems

          cloud based services

          multiple ISP's

          It's getting more complicated to resolve difficult problems, not easier. So yes, a shift in focus is required, but I'm still using essentially the same skills as before.

  4. Dominic Connor, Quant Headhunter

    Economics rears its ugly dismal head

    This is your elasticity of demand mate.

    If achieving various things with IT gets cheaper, then people will do more and in IT as with most other things, decrease the unit price often means that consumption goes up faster than the drop.

    It depends whether you think there is some finite set of things that can be usefully done with IT in your business. A printer that goes 50% faster may make no difference to your life at all, and if the end of month accounts take 1 second instead of 30 who gives a toss ?

    In that mode, you're a maintenance outfit, replacing dead desktops and refilling the toner, occasionally adding/deleting a user from the system.

    But you're only really in that mode if your business is itself stable, if growth consists only of more of the same, then it's rational to have a maintenance crew.

    But few businesses are like that, there are new opportunities in mining customer data to see what you can sell them,.sending them texts when you find that you're not going to deliver the goods on time, optimizing the price structure using dodgy models, correlating your ad spend with sales, etc

    ...and all this stuff is getting cheaper and sometimes possible for the first time.

    Cloud requires you to trust the vendor far more than most people see as rational.

    They can go bust or decide that since they have all your data they can increase prices hard, or both. One really stupid example was an American vendor we used who decided to ban rude words. Sadly we had a manager called Cocks, they deleted his details from the system, took serious shouting to get him back. That's just a silly case, but Cloud vendors comply with the worst common denominator of multi national laws and cultures.

    Ultimately business is competitive, you can't beat others by being the same, you have to find some way of gaining an advantage, else the others will do tha to you.

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      Re: Economics rears its ugly dismal head

      Which goes right back to my overall comment. "Tech is enabling a single admin to admin far more" - thus one admin can admin multiple SMEs that ten years ago each would have had their own. And yes, I believe wholeheartedly that the pace of advancement regarding administrative automation far exceeds the rate of technological progress elsewhere in IT.

      In short; yes, businesses like to do "new things." But newness is now a commodity available starting from $4.99 per user per month. With a sexy dead-simple control panel.

      I run 16 networks; over 2500 people. I have three other sysadmins helping me; one is dedicated app support for one company. The other two between them to administrative scut work for three orgs/1200 people.

      And yes, I am constantly introducing new tech to meet business growth. R&D and project management have come to completely replace the job of being a sysadmin. But that is exactly my point! 10 years ago, this collection of companies employed 25 IT bodies. Now it employs 5. Soon to be 4. And the pace of change has – if anything – increased.

      You can reskill all you want, but the absolute number of available jobs is diminishing. The number of skilled professionals is rising, as we are still cranking out IT bodies from post-secondary faster than they retire.

      That means a massive downwards force on wages and working conditions. And it means the best of the best will survive the fight; those who continually upskill. Fight hard to learn more so they can earn less.

      Maintenance simply has nothing to with it. Maintenance is almost entirely automated at this point. We’re five years past that. We are at the point of automating innovation. Now there isn’t a need for such.

      Just hand over your $4.99 per user per month.

      1. Arrrggghh-otron

        Re: Economics rears its ugly dismal head

        Well my first foray into the el reg forums is thoroughly depressing...

        1. SiempreTuna

          Re: Economics rears its ugly dismal head


          What worse: hard to argue with the general concensus that WE'RE ALL DOOMED!

          Even the security analysts, incident analysts, cloud computing types etc etc. You really believe those jobs can't be done cheaper in Mumbai or Moscow?

          Or you think that it isn't all about the price?

          That's so endearingly naive - it's like you don't believe accountants are making the decisions.

          1. Dominic Connor, Quant Headhunter

            Re: Economics rears its ugly dismal head

            Some here have talked about cheap Asians, but they aren't as cheap as they were and a growing numbre of people are findintg that their absolute rate of pay in China is greater than it would be anywhere else. Cheap China is ending and India is going that way too.

            Also there are major costs in doing business in India, China or Russia.

            Corruption is a major cost and in all three countries contracts are just this side of useless since in China there basically isn't any "law" at all in the sense it is used in civilised countries, Indian courts can take decades to handle things that take a week in the UK and are corrupt and Russian courts would actually be fairer if they simply auctioned the verdict.

            Infrastructure in India & Russia is a disaster area, telecoms are like we'd see if BT had remained a monopoly.

            In the UK you can register a company online in minutes and for nearly industries you don't need a permit at all, much less a a permit that requires a bribe merely to get the form.

            One hilarious irony is that immigration *to* China, Russia and India is a pain, a mix of bureaucracy, racism and corruption mean that getting skilled staff into these places can be really hard, harder even than the BNP's inhouse paper the Daily Express wants for the UK.

            But a btg thing is the cost of non-locality.

            Skype isn't as good as having a coffee to talk through an issue, sending goods by boat is slow enough that the market for them may have changed radically by the time they get there which is a big term for a retailer. You can air freight iPads because of their cost/weight but that's insane for most other goods.

            Note that I've not adopted left wing racism in this posting. I don't believe that just because I'm white that somehow I'm going to be better at making "advanced" goods and am inevitably a more skilled worker than an Asian, a position taken by the deluded pushers of the UK's rightfully dying manafacturing sector.

            In China a skilled production engineer can earn a serious multiple of not only the average Chinese wage, but also be one of the highest paid people he knows and will be part of the decision makmmking process.

            His UK equivalent earns shit money and the nearest he will get to decision making is high handed pareonising emails from junior accountants.

            That means that smart Chinese kids choose manufacturing far more often than British ones, so that we have the high end of 1/4 of the world's populaton competing with the bottom 25% of the 1% of the world that live in the UK.

            Who do you think is going to win that ?

            1. jake Silver badge

              @Dominic Connor, Quant Headhunter

              Interesting rant.

              But from a global perspective, a rather provincial one.

              Carry on, all, nothing to see here.

            2. Drewc (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

              Re: Re: Economics rears its ugly dismal head

              The unskilled working class man (it's usually a man) faces more competitive pressures from eastern Europeans working in the UK than from Chinese manufacturers, I think. We have so lost that game.

              In the States people are talking about back-sourcing or repatriating jobs from China to the US. But that will be only a trickle - the jobs that depend on JIT, that have high value-add, that require customer service with American accents. With tech manufacturing - you got to be in east Asia.

              But China has to change its game too. demographics are against it and companies chasing the cheapest employees are looking to Vietnam or the Phillipines - anywhere with a huge reservoir of young labour.

  5. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

    Latin America is becoming "a thing" here too. Service jobs are leaving in droves. Good high-paying white-collar jobs are heading south where the labour is cheaper, and they speak the same language (and have the same culture) as the ever-growing Hispanic-American population.

    Naturally, this is a bigger issue in the US than Canada. Here in Canada we are being tugged at by three sides: the first is a loss of manufacturing jobs to China. (Big ouch for Canada, manufacturing was huge here until just recently.)

    Secondly, we're losing our resources post-processing jobs to America. This is a massive blow to our economy. Something like 25% of our workforce is tied up in resources post processing. Unfortunately, the American jobs-creation and economic security strategy appears to be "demand that Canada export all its jobs to the US or they won't buy our resources." When we say "okay, piss on you then, China will buy them" the US ambassador issues a very angry statement and three days later our government pulls a 180.

    The third prong of our job loss is to Europe (Ireland!) We're positively bleeding white collar jobs to the cheaper European markets here. We’ve had some exporting of things like call centers to Manila (who hasn’t,) but in truth the bulk of the non-resource jobs don’t go to Asia, they go to Ireland.

    The hell of it is, the Americans are so desperate for Oil that despite all of that we’re still one of the strongest economies in the world. So long as people south of the border still fry half their brain cells before they’re 18 and vote republican, we’ll just keep cutting down all our trees/pulling oil out of the ground/pulling rocks out of the ground and selling it to them.

    It’s literally the definition of a boom and bust economy. We have outsourced any form of economic diversity and redundancy we had. Eventually it will come back and bite us in the ass in a truly monumental fashion, and we will start to envy Greece.

    That in mind, I – like everyone else in my country – hope the boom lasts long enough to hoard money/resources/property/etc. before the crash. Retire young, be super-frugal and then watch the whole thing burn down around us.

    But I’m sure when it all blows up, they’ll solve it with tax breaks for the rich. I’m told that solves everything. I’ll have to take that one on faith though. I can't find any evidence in the past 50 years to back that assertion up. This being the internet though, a hardline "Palin/Santorum for planetary government" type will be along soon to tell me just exactly how it works.

    Beer, because, well...ah **** it.

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