Automation means big changes for ICT organizations
A wave of change in how technology work is done, driven by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, is about to transform the ICT workforce.
Until recently technology workers like software developers have been less affected than factory workers, truck drivers and clerical workers by digital technologies replacing their jobs. But that is now changing. Modern Application Development (MAD) tools are automating a large part of ICT activities, especially designing, coding, integrating, testing and deploying applications. “Agile” development has streamlined software development so that, for example, paired developers do code review themselves, instead of involving senior architects. Now new tools are facilitating a further step change, automating the entire cycle of software development from idea-to-production release.
Consider the wave of “low-code” (a term developed by research firm Forrester) tools and platforms. Low-code features include model-driven design; declarative tools for computation logic that automatically generates detailed algorithms and commands; automated testing and change management. The result? Dramatically reduced need for hand-coding to create and integrate applications.
As for deployment, low-code tools can publish application updates directly, with little or no support from ICT operations teams. These new tools enable nontraditional developers, business people with limited technical skills who work outside the ICT organization, to build applications with little help from professional developers. Other ITC automation tools include playbooks to chain together multiple workflows and Big Data/Hadoop automation platforms.
What does this mean for ICT organizations? Many web developers and database administrators will meet the fate of most webmasters over the last few years: their roles will be automated or moved to lower cost/less skilled resources or absorbed within larger job roles. As the new automation tools enable projects to execute more quickly, product managers, scrum masters and experience designers will lead “test and learn” sprints to define requirements and drive rapid, iterative delivery. The scheduling, reporting, and prioritizing that project managers have traditionally done will disappear into the tools and delivery-process infrastructure.
On the bright side, there will be increased demand for new roles like data scientist, business developer and test engineer, along with developers who know how to optimize business value from Ai and machine learning. A new automation wave is challenging human resources, workforce planning and career track design issues for ICT organizations. ICT leaders must consider how they will stay ahead of these changes to remain efficient and competitive.
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