This article on CIO.com says it all: “So Long IT Specialist, Hello Full-Stack Engineer.” Business are realizing that they can’t have It people who only know one thing. They need IT people who can do it all – engineering, maintenance, troubleshooting, and coding.
No, not every single IT person will do every single job, especially in a large organization. You’ll specialize, to a degree, but that’s mainly be a job assignment thing. You’ll be expected to be able to pick up any task with just a little training or familiarization.
That’s going to depress the crap out of a lot of what Microsoft calls IT Pros, because they got into the business for entirely different reasons. They didn’t want to become programmers, and they still don’t. I used to have a lot of sympathy for that, and a lot of my teaching messaging tried to accommodate the fact that these folks kinda had the rug pulled out from under them.
Now I don’t care. This has been coming for a long time, and if you haven’t caught the memo it’s because you had your head int he sand, and willful ignorance is the one thing I can’t abide.
Let’s say you’re a younger, single guy. There’s a store not far from you where you buy your beer, your ramen noodles, and all the other stuff you need. Years pass, and you meet a nice girl. You get married, one thing leads to another, and now you’ve got a kid or two. Your needs have changed: you need diapers. Formula. Baby food. Valentine’s candy for your lady. If that store you used to shop at continues to meet your needs, you stick with them. If they don’t, you go somewhere else.
When it comes to IT, business’ needs are changing. They’re growing up. Things are moving faster, and they need to be able to deploy solutions, tools, and technologies more quickly. They can’t rely on the old silo model where developers went into a cave for a year, produced some code, and then “turned it over to ops” to deploy and maintain. Now, everyone’s got to be in the mix. “Admins” are expected to take up some of the coding tasks, so that “developers” can focus on specific bits. Developers are expected to produce code that’s designed to be operated and maintained, meaning they have to think a bit more about what operations does. In other words, the lines are getting fuzzy.
As business’ needs change, you – essentially a service provider to the business – need to adapt, or they’ll go elsewhere to shop. You don’t have to like it, because it’s your job, not your hobby. You don’t even have to do it – but don’t complain when the business decides to take its business elsewhere.
Learn a programming language, if you don’t know a couple already. Learn how to read PerfMon, if you’ve only ever been writing code. Adapt or die.