15 May

How Automation in IT is going to affect Developer's roles

Posted by John Brandwagt

Automation in information technology has been going on for years. As much as it’s recently resurfaced as a topic of interest for many IT departments in the light of big data concerns and advancements in machine learning and artificial intelligence, few people have actually been paying attention to automation.


Yet the way automation is handled in most IT departments is now outdated. The different types of IT jobs have also undergone a huge change thanks to IT automation.

The Current Situation

Most IT automation is currently handled through scripts, and IT developers love them. They want to develop the best scripts possible, and most enjoy tinkering with scripts from friends and colleagues, all in the name of improving them. 

IT developers tend to leave relatively little documentation for the next person who uses the script, which makes it much more difficult to deploy the script and tweak it for a new purpose. 

This lack of documentation isn’t the real problem, however. Rather, it’s scripts themselves that will be the problem in the next few years. Scripting will become outdated as machine learning and AI continue to evolve alongside big data operations. 

The real task? Getting your IT developers to leave behind their beloved scripts and get on board with the new way of doing things.

The Path to the Future

In the future, IT automation won’t be handled by scripts. IT developers and coders won’t be required to write codes few others can understand. It will also have a huge impact on what an IT technician does now versus what would be expected of him. Automation is currently evolving toward a deterministic design, where there are clearly defined workloads for particular tasks.

Deterministic automation is just one stop along the road in the evolution of IT automation. As the future unfolds, more organizations will roll out heuristic design, where automation occurs based on data fed in operations. Essentially, IT automation will evolve to work more like the human brain, much like machine learning .

Automation: More, New IT Jobs

In IT, heuristics use the data inputs from the outside world, feeding them to the processor, where operations are conducted to determine the best course of action or form an opinion.

You can probably see how this is superior to a script. The script never changes or evolves. The machine simply runs the script over and over again. If there’s a problem, the script fails. If the data doesn’t meet expectations, the action may not complete.

Heuristic design allows the machine to analyze the data input and make a judgment about what to do next. Maybe it decides to run a particular script! Maybe it decides the data requires a different solution. In any case, the machine is better equipped to handle imperfect data inputs and different types of data.

It’s Already Here

Some large banks are already employing heuristic design. They have access to all the hardware an IT developer could ever want, so they’ve worked toward heuristics. As more and more industries and companies adopt heuristic design, it will become increasingly sophisticated—and better at automating IT.

How does the role of IT developers evolve?

One of the first steps toward achieving heuristic automation will be getting your IT developers to write more resilient, structured scripts, which allow for the kind of flexibility visible in heuristic designs. The scripts may not be heuristic immediately, but it’s a step in the right direction. Reward your developers for better scripting. 

You should also appoint an automation leader in the IT department and facilitate automation script discovery. These small steps will help set you on the path toward evolving IT automation—one you’ll have to undertake if you want to keep up with tomorrow.

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John Brandwagt

John is a Practice Leader at Inteqna. He’s been working in IT Search in Calgary since 1997. He works best with selective job seekers—those who excel at what they do and enjoy their current jobs. Since they don’t have time to look for themselves, he helps them find their dream jobs. From a client perspective, he helps organizations find the talent that will propel their business. John is involved in several of Calgary’s technical user groups and has held board roles in non-profit groups. He is a single dad of four boys who try to beat him at every physical activity from hiking to rugby.

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