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Will Network Automation Put Me Out of A Job?

December 8, 2021

NO!

I could have stopped there, but then the blog would have been pretty short, so let me add some additional color and justification for my short answer. Automation and its impact on jobs have been a popular topic for 25 years, and it started not long after a similar 25-year discussion about “the rise of computers replacing jobs”. So for 50 YEARS, we have been scratching our heads wondering if our jobs are safe after new IT technology has been adopted. And the recent incorporation of “automation” into the network operations venacular, now called “network automation” is no different. Simply put, network automation will not put anyone out of work. In fact, it is the proper response to a hugely dated and non-defendable approach that most orgnizations are still executing, decades after their networks became core assets.

Now your first thought to the title of this blog might have been ‘of course’ jobs will be lost as ‘machines take over. Simple logic, right?  Well, no, not that simple, and in fact history has proven just the opposite. Take look at the chart below and you’ll see that jobs are up and to the right. And the chart for 2010 through 2020 is no different, up and to the right.

US BLS IT-jobs 1990 thru 2011

With the exception of the “DOT COM” implosion and the World Financial Meltdown crisis of 2008,  jobs in IT have been rising continuously for all of the past 50 years! Year after year, new IT jobs are being created and filled. And as IT infrastructures grow in size and complexity, more staff is needed. The skills needed are evolving, so as technology advances, long-term IT professionals continue to learn new things and adapt their day-to-day processes, but their contributions get more pronounced. More impactful. They find that their jobs become more strategic as they shed the tedium and mundane from their daily roles.

What is the takeaway? Automation helps everyone and the number of IT professionals that are needed goes up. It’s a Win-Win. Smarter technologies including network automation create new job opportunities.  The IT machinery can take over the repeated processing of common tasks, let’s now refer to this as “Network Automation”, but the intelligence required to guide the machinery is still very human. The expertise to solve problems is based on their knowledge, creativity, and experience. And being able to create, refine, capture and share that expertise in the form of network automation becomes the responsible and much more strategic response to current infrastructure needs.

Net-Net: Nobody’s job is going away because of Network Automation… in fact, Everyone’s job becomes more satisfying, more successful, and more impactful BECAUSE of it.

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