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The pandemic has forced many organizations to reconsider their IT Ops. Business leaders have realized that to achieve resiliency and business continuity, they need to accelerate their digital transformation, thus increasing their reliance on IT and other emerging technologies. Key amongst these technologies are the cloud and big data tools.

As a result, new careers in IT Ops are emerging. These careers encompass roles dedicated to helping companies embrace cloud computing and big data technology. As more and more organizations place their focus here, it will be crucial for enterprises to have the technology and tools needed to thrive in the coming years.

Understanding IT Ops

IT operations, or IT Ops, refers to the set of services and processes performed and managed by an organization’s IT department. The overarching term typically includes the utilization and management of all IT resources such as hardware (computers, laptops, networking devices, etc.), software (software licenses, applications, online services, etc), and personnel (IT managers, technicians, data scientists, etc.).

IT Ops staff take on multiple roles, from internal IT processes like tech management, quality assurance, network management, device management, and infrastructure management, to external and customer-facing operations like providing support and expertise for their IT products and services.

The modernization of enterprise technology has been a major focus for IT operations, especially if their organization is at risk of lagging behind their competitors. IT Ops also provide guidance to other departments, particularly in conveying the need to acquire current and emerging technologies to replace their old ones.

Emerging Trends & Blossoming Careers in IT Ops

Perhaps the most important trend as far as careers in IT Ops are concerned is the great shift to the cloud. The majority of companies have moved their business-critical operations and applications to the cloud. A recent study by IBM showed that 95% of IT leaders plan to adopt multiple cloud strategies with the goal of accelerating their IT modernization initiatives.

These companies require big data stacks to keep their IT infrastructure and processes running smoothly and to fully maximize the benefits to generate handsome returns. With its role and impact on enterprises exponentially magnified, IT Ops is undergoing a boom like never before.

  • More Ops in the IT Landscape

New careers in IT Ops are emerging as the field becomes increasingly sophisticated and subdivided. The progress of IT and other related technologies have given birth to multiple operations models such as DevOps (development operations), DataOps (data operations), and MLOps (machine learning operations).

The existing definition of IT Ops has become broad and outdated as various departments now have their own IT processes and rules. The rapid pace of modern business, the ever-changing and constantly progressing technology, and the glaring need to accelerate reaction time to unique business needs demand new and separate operational methodologies.

While separated by definition and purpose, these methodologies, or operational models, are still connected to each other by IT. For instance, DevOps combines IT Ops with the best practices and methodologies of software application development (R&D) and quality assurance (QA).

  • CapEx to OpEx Budget Shift

Cloud computing enables businesses to pay for IT services as they need them. The great cloud migration has shifted IT spending from capital expenditure (CapEx) to operational expenditure (OpEx). As enterprises move to the cloud, they leave behind data centers, physical servers, and other expensive networking facilities and equipment in favor of a flexible and scalable cloud-hosted infrastructure.

However, moving from a well-governed CapEx model to an extremely fluid OpEx spending model has its challenges. Cloud environments, for one, are largely distributed and fragmented. This makes it tough for finance teams to keep oversight at all times. Without solid governance and monitoring, enterprises can easily mismanage their cloud spending and rack up unsustainable costs. Businesses have to come up with a sustainable cloud spending model to help manage spend and ensure a successful and safe transition. IT Ops can play a big role in getting this transition right.

  • Business Units Paying for IT Services

As enterprises strive for transparency within their IT spending, accurate chargebacks will be the norm moving forward. Organizations will implement a sustainable spending model that includes a system of records that allows for granular costing of IT services based on user consumption. By tracking resource and service consumption by user, IT departments can provide other business units with cloud bills that are accurate and transparent.

IT Ops teams are crucial for gaining an accurate understanding of a chargeback framework.

IT Ops is Here to Stay

The business landscape has evolved, and IT demands have changed.

Perhaps the biggest change of all is that IT is no longer solely in charge of production and development. Other operational models have emerged. Their responsibilities and functions are now overlapping with traditional IT teams. Especially as business units are creating their own apps and supporting themselves more. IT Ops is now a part of almost anyone’s job that works with data.

Also, the growing ubiquity and adoption of machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) is a major trend in the IT world. Business organizations are increasingly relying on AI and ML to perform repetitive tasks.

By 2022, 20% of workers will be working with AI to do their functions. By 2025, AI will perform 50% of the tasks once assigned to data scientists, effectively addressing the acute shortage of experts.

These seismic changes provide new routes for careers in IT Ops. IT specialists now enjoy multiple opportunities to embrace new ways of working and integrating with other departments. IT Ops can still add value to organizations through new roles that embrace the cutting-edge of new technological trends.

Examples of Evolving and New Careers in IT Ops

Data and Analytics Manager. The data and analytics manager, as the title suggests, manages the data and analytics center of excellence. The position entails supporting the delivery of data and analytics across the enterprise. They are also called upon to contribute to the strategy and vision for data and analytics, create roadmaps, communicate with senior stakeholders, and shoulder responsibility for resources and budget. Apart from gauging team performance, data and analytics managers also track and monitor the impact of data and analytics on their business objectives.

Data Engineers. Data engineers are tasked with finding trends and opportunities in data sets. They build algorithms to simplify access to raw data. They also look for ways to derive value from raw data that are in line with their enterprise’s or client’s objectives.

Another responsibility of data engineers is to optimize data retrieval and provide stakeholders with ways to understand data, such as dashboards, reports, and other visualizations.

Bigger enterprises typically have multiple data scientists or analysts in their roster to help interpret and communicate data. But in this new landscape where small businesses now have access to data, a data engineer can perform both roles.

Data Analysts. Data analysts are those who are thoroughly experienced and knowledgeable with statistical analysis and find insights to help support particular aspects of their business. Typically, they are domain experts, or work closely with one, searching for ways to improve business processes and functions using the insights they discover.

Data architects. These are data visionaries who take business requirements and translate them into technology requirements based on their organization’s strategies and goals. They are also tasked with creating data standards and principles for their organization’s data management framework.

Data architects are fully aware of how various data and analytics scenarios affect their overall IT architecture. They often work with enterprise architects to create strategies for their data and analytics architecture and its supporting platforms.

Lead Information Stewards. Enforcing information governance policies crafted by the information governance unit is the main role of lead information stewards. They make sure all information governance policies are implemented and adhered to. In effect, they monitor information personnel and assets against those policies.

The Future of Careers in IT Ops

The monumental changes in the IT landscape in addition to the increasing importance and strategic value of data and analytics have resulted in new challenges for enterprises and their IT and data and analytics leaders.

Nontechnical business users are disrupting traditional IT roles. IT’s growing prevalence and utilization in every department and across the enterprise has given birth to hybrid IT roles, many of which feed into the new generation of careers in IT Ops.

Among the factors that contribute to the birth of these new roles are:

  • The need for an executive-level data and analytics leader to derive value from, and monetize, their enterprise’s data and analytics.
  • The unprecedented growth of business-domain-led analytics.
  • Opportunities arising from the need for different and more complex expertise and skills in technical areas like artificial intelligence.
  • The growing reliance on real-time analytics which requires a new set of skills and approach.
  • Increasing calls for data management autonomy.
  • New roles to address data management evolution plus the growing demand for data access.
  • The need for experimental models or prototypes for new data, which ultimately leads to governance models that are more adaptive.

The Pepperdata Advantage

Pepperdata provides IT Ops teams, whether in traditional IT Ops roles or new ones like DevOps, with the applications and features that allow them to see into their IT infrastructure, acquire real-time updates on their big data stack performance, and automatically scale their compute resources to keep their IT infrastructure running at optimal pace while keeping costs manageable.

With Pepperdata, data and analytics experts working across IT Ops have a real-time picture of all their big data stacks and clusters. They’re also empowered with a full understanding as to why issues occur on top of just what occurred. With superior visibility and observability, Pepperdata equips the data and analytics experts of the future with the technology they need to make data and analytics work for them.

To get a closer look at jobs in IT Ops and DevOps, check out our recent interview with our very own Software Engineer Shekhar Gupta. He shares how his time at Pepperdata has been so far, how being a Pepperdata software engineer has impacted his life personally, and more.