David Linthicum wrote an interesting article in InfoWorld recently about the ongoing debate among IT pros as to whether cloud computing would cut or create jobs. When you think about it, the cloud is supposed to build efficiency, which should lead to new ways of doing things. That could lead to the need for fewer bodies in IT, but is it a given? Not necessarily and it really depends on your company’s cloud strategy.
Private Cloud Requires Care and Feeding
In fact, it doesn’t need to mean that all, especially if your company goes the private cloud route. In this case, there will still be servers to maintain and software to write. There will still be end users to placate and educate. There will still be storage to maintain and updates and enhancements. In short, life will go on.
Public Cloud Is Another Story
SMBs are clearly using public cloud tools like Google, Amazon and Salesforce.com to handle traditional IT chores. But the fact is these businesses were never going to be huge employment machines and they might have used outside services or consultants anyway. The larger companies using a service like Amazon or Rackspace for virtual storage or network overflow, or even a service like Salesforce.com for CRM could have some impact on jobs, but I’m not convinced it will be a huge one.
Times They Are A Changin’
As Linthicum points out, change is inevitable in this business, and the debate might be less about the value of cloud computing and more about fear of change. My take is that very few if any companies will ever transform their entire IT department to the cloud. Just as mainframes still exist along side client-server and Software as a Service (SaaS), there will always be legacy hardware and software to deal with.
Nobody’s going to change over night, and for most companies change comes very slowly. Even when the change-over happens, existing technology won’t suddenly disappear. In the end, like much of the debate we hear around cloud computing, there’s not much to this. Sure, some jobs will probably go–not too many Cobol programmers anymore, I imagine–but as they do, they are replaced by new ones.
If you’re threatened by change, you might want to consider a new line of work because technology is always going to change, whether it’s the cloud or something else.