So Many Roles in IT

When I was growing up, I was fascinated by computers and technology.  Back then, I knew what programmers were and that was about it. At some point I learned about DBAs but I put that into the programmer bucket since I heard they wrote scripts to manage a database. I always knew about sales and at some point I found out about technology sales but just the thought of commission-only sales still gives me stomach pains.

My first real job out of college was at the Apple Retail Store.  I worked there for almost 4 years and slowly learned from my coworkers and customers about some of the many jobs and roles in IT.  At some point, that Apple Store closed for about two weeks for renovations. Near the end of the renovations, a guy came to work on the network rack.  I can only guess what he was there to do but it fascinated me.

With new technologies constantly being created, new roles are being created to manage those technologies.  Some of those technologies stay around for a while and others quickly disappear. The technologies that stay around for a while will eventually fade away but they never seem to fully go away.  Since they never seem to fade away, those roles never seem to fully go away.

An example is Cobolt.  It seems there will always be a need for Cobolt programmers even though it has been decades since anyone wrote new Cobolt code but someone has to maintain those ancient Cobolt applications.

Now when I think of the IT industry, it’s usually just IT infrastructure and even that is huge now.  Networking, servers, voice, virtualization, data center, security, storage and wireless now adds video, containers, SD-WAN, automation and the cloud.  Each one of those sections has numerous sub-sections and some roles combine multiple of those topics listed above.  We still haven’t even mentioned where everyone starts, the backbone of every IT organization, the helpdesk.  Finally there is the Network Architect that has to bring it all together.

The IT department provides more than just email.  Now it is expected to provide so many services and be available from anywhere on any device at any time.  It will take all these groups working together to make it happen. In order to do that we need to be more friendly to our fellow IT folks, building up walls around our territories is counter-productive (See the Datanauts podcast for more silo-busting).  Also, we need to be welcoming and help train others.  The machines are coming for your job but before that happens, there is a lot of work to do and we need all the help we can get.

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