The need for disruptive innovation is driving businesses to seek better, faster, and cheaper options to internal IT. This coercive effort to find the best-fit technology is putting the squeeze on IT departments, IT budgets, and IT pros. Furthermore, new technologies are disrupting older, monolithic technologies and IT processes at a higher frequency and a grander scale. Alternatives are coming in with more velocity, more critical mass, or both. This abundance of choice is putting IT pros in a scramble-to-come-up-to-speed-on-the-changing-tech-landscape-or-find-yourself-out-of-the-IT-profession mode.

 

IT generalists may find themselves on the endangered list. A generalist is an IT pro with limited knowledge across many domains. Think broad, but not deep in any IT area. Generalists are being treated as replaceable commodities with reduction in force either through automation and orchestration or through future tech constructs like AI or machine learning.

 

But all is not lost, there are two paths that IT pros can seek to differentiate themselves from fellow generalist clones: IT versatilist or IT specialist.

 

IT versatilists are embracing the challenges by leveraging their inner IT force—born of experience and expertise to meet the speed of business. IT specialists are emerging out of the data center shadows to show off the mastery of their one skill in the era of big data and security ops.

 

A versatilist is fluent in multiple IT domains. This level of expertise across many technology disciplines bridges the utility between IT ops and business ops. They are sought after to define the processes and policies that enable automation and orchestration at speed and scale.

 

A specialist is a master of one specific IT discipline. It can be an application like databases or a domain like security, storage, or networking. Businesses are looking to them to transform big data into profit-turning, tunable insights and actions. Businesses are also looking to them to protect their data from all the connected entities in the Internet of things.

 

So which IT pro are you? The revolution has already started—hybrid cloud, software-defined data center, big data, containers, microservices, and more. Have you made preparations to evolve into a specialist or a versatilist? Awaken your inner IT force, there’s plenty of opportunities to expand your IT career. Paid well, you will be.