There have recently been several articles on the changing face of the IT admin.  One of my favorites has been the article by Don Jones entitled “So Long, ‘IT Pro’”.  In it Don references a move being made by GE away from generalized sysadmins to engineers that build and support a product.  

Yes, we must code

Don shares that one core competencies that’ll need to be developed by sysadmins in this changing world is coding.  I couldn’t agree more, and this has been the thrust of many of my recent blog posts.  Scripting is coding, and we need to treat it that way.  If you cannot script tasks, you will find fewer and fewer opportunities.  After learning to script or code in one language, the next language becomes a bit easier to get your head around.

For example on my team, every sysadmin can use at least a couple of languages, from PowerShell to Ruby to C# to Go to Python to Javascript.  Not everyone does every language, but we can make our way through the various projects we have in play.

“No” is not the answer

Another great point that Don surfaces it that if we don’t adapt,  business has other options for infrastructure.  Cheap cloud services provide platforms that allow developers and business projects to sidestep sysadmins and our traditional “No changes” stance.  Companies are standing up “Cloud operations” or similar groups to get around traditional IT and the barriers we’ve set up (with good intentions of improving stability).  

We need to move from being a cost center to being a value add for the organization (which I talk about in one of the first Ops All The Things.).  Our business should view us as partners for delivering value to our customers or reaching new customers.

Let’s step up our game and fight the urge to say “No” to new initiatives and look for ways to say “Yes” and help make more awesome.