Just like any department, IT is not immune to the looming threat of automation. Seven percent of U.S. jobs will be replaced by artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and automation by 2025. The United States isn’t the only country being affected as IT service hubs like India also project automation to replace low skilled jobs within the next five years.
To some, these doom and gloom forecasts represent the end of IT jobs as we know it, but the future doesn’t look so dark for those who embrace change and prepare for it.
AI Will Disrupt the Workforce on All Fronts
As the world continues to get smaller and boundaries become eliminated, any field, including IT, that requires repetitive task completion will begin to shift toward automated procedures. Even mid-level managers could be at risk if they don’t work to upgrade their skills over time as technology changes faster now than ever before.
Despite all the negative impact of automation on low-level repetitive work, automation will add between 20 to 50 million jobs by 2030. Many of these jobs will be created to manage automation and ensure that the machines, algorithms and networks work as intended. As businesses continue to rely on more and more devices, tools and automated services, business continuity risks and outages will remain risk areas. Without a layer of human oversight, companies run the risk of automation failure within their processes.
Employees aren’t the only ones who will need to embrace automation within IT. Organizations will need to evolve as well beginning with arming their employees with new opportunities to develop skills for a post-automated workplace. Key employees will need new training to ensure business objectives and strategies are considered before enacting a new policy or implementing a new tool. Some companies will need to carve out specific higher level roles to maintain the corporate hierarchy of this growing segment such as Chief AI Officer or AI strategy departments.
Position Yourself for Success in a Post-Automated IT Department
Whether you are entering the workforce, a lower level employee or a mid-level manager, the only way to ensure your tenure in the field is to embrace the automation wave and upgrade your skills. In fact, 76 percent of workers believe half or at least some of their jobs could be replaced by implementing some level of automation or AI. The best ways to cement yourself as a fixture in your organization are to become more involved in driving solutions for your colleagues by tearing down the barriers between tech and business.
The IT professionals who will thrive in this wave of change will trade the comforts of working behind the scenes at their desks for the challenges of working directly with their counterparts. Just like how marketing and product development teams have collaborated to build better products, IT professionals need to integrate themselves into their colleagues’ lives to better understand the challenges and limitations their colleagues are facing. By walking the walk, you’ll drive improvements and deliver innovation.
As the world of business becomes further entangled with machines, many organizations will need translators to guide complex projects from a business perspective to a technological realization. The divide between those understanding technology and those reliant upon it has only grown deeper with the speed of change and age of boardrooms. Individuals who can bridge the gap between IT teams and their functional counterparts will develop into the true stars of the automation age.
The Future is Bright for Those Who Embrace Change
Improvements in AI and automation won’t ring the death knell of the IT industry, but they will fundamentally change the roles and responsibilities of IT professionals. As machines continue to integrate into more day-to-day responsibilities, technical specialists will focus on more strategic issues facing their organizations. The best of the profession will rise to the top as trusted advisers to executives and collaborative team members to their colleagues.