Bill Kleyman is a virtualization and cloud solutions architect at MTM Technologies where he works extensively with data center, cloud, networking, and storage design projects. You can find him on LinkedIn.
Several years ago, engineers were tasked with knowing and understanding specific technologies which they were tasked with administrating. These small groups would be asked to collaborate within themselves. Rarely would they deviate and involve other groups. Manager and project leaders were the ones communicating with higher-ups and transferring data on an as-needed basis. With the introduction of cloud computing, distributed data center environments and new technologies, IT professionals are being asked for more. This doesn’t only mean knowing more technologies, but the personality demands have shifted as well.
In working with numerous organizations and hiring firms, it’s clear that the ideal data center or IT professional is someone who diverse, creative and oftentimes most importantly – personable. In this ‘Part 1’ post, we examine career paths for novice and experienced IT professionals by looking at some of the new demands and requirements being placed on the IT industry.
- Be creative. When working on a project or a team, don’t be afraid to share ideas, thoughts and experiences. The ability to increase efficiencies through a creative thought process is a prized trait which is certainly sought after.
- Expand ‘outside of the data center.’ In a distributed infrastructure world, the ability to go beyond the walls of a data center is a must. This means knowing how systems interact with one another, how certain technologies can impact data center operations and even creating new efficiencies in an existing environment.
- Know how to communicate. Probably one of the most important traits being discussed by hiring managers – efficient communication is a must. This doesn’t mean simply being able to talk. This means taking in information, relaying it effectively to others using that data to make effective decisions. Furthermore, effective communicators know how and when to say ‘no.’ This doesn’t mean just outright saying ‘no’ to ideas or thoughts. Rather, this means knowing how to challenge people to help improve the project or plan.
- Collaboration, teamwork and DevOps. Teams are no longer isolated. A meeting with multiple disciplines in the room is becoming the norm. The ability to collaborate and work well with others is a needed trait within many organizations. This speaks volumes to DevOps. The ability to bridge gaps between communication lines is a big plus. Collaborating not just within data center teams, but with infrastructure and software development professionals will lead to more successful cross-platform deployments. The role of a DevOps professional is to bring teams together for effective communication helps increase efficiencies within many facets of the organization.
- Understanding business process. Knowing the technology is certainly great. However, many hiring managers are looking for professionals who can speak the language of business. When a technology is deployed, it’s important to know how it will affect the business process. Even more important is having a future vision for a given technology. By understanding the business process, IT professionals can better deploy technologies which will directly meet business goals.
- Becoming a thought-leader. One of the worst things in the IT world is complacency. IT professionals must always be willing to learn new technologies, how they operate, and how they can potentially affect a given environment. By having a good understanding of the various tools at hand, administrators are able to make better decisions and recommendations with their own infrastructure. Study how efficiencies, better processes and trends in the IT world can positively or negatively affect your organization.
Although some of the above demands may seem like common sense, the reality is that these traits are needed and sought after in the IT world. Remember, every environment is unique so requirements can shift around. Also, there will also be a need for individuals who are technological experts at a given technology. Still, for true career progression, the ability to communicate, collaborate and being a thought-leader can help push IT professionals further.
Industry Perspectives is a content channel at Data Center Knowledge highlighting thought leadership in the data center arena. See our guidelines and submission process for information on participating. View previously published Industry Perspectives in our Knowledge Library.