The winds of change are blowing in the world of information technology. They have been for awhile, but speeds have picked up in recent years due to global markets demanding more efficiency out of most companies and industries. Coupled with the rise in remote service technology, it’s easy to see why most business leaders are choosing to minimize their inhouse IT support and infrastructure in exchange for less expensive outsourced management. Does this mean a switch in plans for aspiring and existing network engineers? Likely. But rest assured, our jobs aren’t going away anytime soon.
There are two primary agents of change: economy and technology. Once upon a time companies big and small were willing, able, and happy to build up their IT departments. We were in a digital revolution, after all, and nobody wanted to be left behind. Jump a decade and a half later – setbacks in global economic projections and an uptick in alternative options for business operations has many companies second-guessing the necessity of their massive and typically costly IT wings. Outsourcing development at discount rates became possible. Moving the company’s digital nervous system to a remote colocation facility for reduced operating costs started to be a more accessible option. All the while, jobs and careers are getting mixed around too.
The short-term outlook for network engineers may not exactly come off as ideal. More and more companies are slashing IT departments in exchange for these aforementioned cost-effective options. Everyone from administrators to designers are potentially on the chopping block. This means less available network engineer positions available in the immediate future. For those believing IT jobs were bulletproof in bad economies this can come as a stab, but it’s not as bad as you think.
Poor weather doesn’t last forever. First-off, perceptions on the global economic outlook are shifting more and more towards the positive again. People, and ultimately companies, are cooling their jets over the whole austerity thing. IT departments yet to be hit by cost-cutting measures by this time next year are unlikely to be changed too much in the years to come. Don’t get your hopes up but there may even be much-needed pay raises in 2015 for network engineers.
The industry is only being altered by the winds of change, not destroyed. Aspiring network engineers, or those let-go by a belt-tightening operation in exchange for less-expensive remote IT management, are going to find jobs in the very places they originally saw their replacement: web hosting, data centers, and colocation.
It’s true an inherent element of cost-effective IT is essentially replacing a human with software and hardware, and thus mathematically it’s impossible for a single data center to employ the same number of men and women whose jobs it eliminated. Thus you may be questioning the validity of the optimism right now. But consider growth.
The global economy is growing as much as its improving. This means there are more startups and future business empires being founded every day. Many of these companies will of course need an experienced team of IT professionals, network engineers included. The rest will come to depend on web hosting, data centers, and colocation, driving up demand for these services resulting in more and more of them springing up.
The next few months to a year may continue to be a little overcast for IT professionals battling against outsourcing. But it’s merely a transitory period. Give it time and opportunities in network engineering will be as much in demand as they’ve ever been.