For many of us IT professionals, the reward is in the technology itself. But of course, none of us live by bits alone. We also appreciate a pat on the back, a raised glass or even a sincere, “I have no idea what you did or how you did it, but I’m so glad you are here to help.” That’s what IT Professionals Day is meant to embody.
Last year, fellow SolarWinds Head Geek Patrick Hubbard kicked off IT Pro Day by saying “it’s about damn time.” And while that sentiment certainly remains, I think that even in the 12 short months since then, what defines an IT pro has become more complex. I guess we shouldn’t be surprised, right?
In 2016, being an IT pro means more than just knowing how to fix this or that. It means, as Patrick alluded to in a THWACKcamp session last year, looking beyond the immediate fix to say, “How do I solve this once and for all?” It’s a subtle but important difference that lies at the heart of what makes an IT pro.
In 2016, being an IT pro also means wrestling with a range of new and old technologies and trends that demand our attention regardless of chosen discipline. For example, the march to the cloud has created the challenge of hybrid IT in all its flavors and forms; software-defined <you-name-it> remains a perennial favorite; users are bringing more of their own devices into the workplace and demanding (often with good reason, but still) that they interact with the business at every layer of the OSI model; and, of course, security remains an ever-present responsibility. That’s to say nothing of the constant need to translate business needs into technical requirements (and often back again).
So much of what makes up the job of an IT pro today is predicated on the successes of our past. While hybrid IT is, as Patrick said last March, the technology none of us asked for or wanted, it represents a compliment to us from the business world. Through our dogged insistence on standardization, rationalization and repeatable designs—not to mention our abilities to test, troubleshoot, refine and improve—we created the means to take locally virtualized systems and storage and transform them into an incredibly flexible, scalable, fluid system that practically begged for mobile devices to use it.
Today we are “stuck” supporting an average of three more devices per user than just ten years ago because we proved it could be done, and done with at least a modicum of standards and security, although we all know that our job is by no means finished.
Today we are discovering that server administrators need to understand routing; that network engineers need to understand virtualization; that storage specialists need to understand databases; and that “monitoring specialists” is a real job of its own, and they need to understand it all.
In short, I guess being an IT pro in 2016 means what it always has: harnessing our passion for technology of all kinds and focusing it to find the excitement in the kinetic and sometimes even chaotic movement of the industry, and then jumping in with both feet to be a part of the conversation, a part of the solution and a part of the tribe.
As I said at the beginning: for many of us, that’s where the reward lies. Even so, from one IT pro to another, here’s to hoping you can take a moment today to bask in a little pure gratitude before forging ahead with that next trouble ticket.
Happy IT Pro Day 2016!
–Leon Adato, Head Geek, SolarWinds