By Joe Kim, SolarWinds EVP, Engineering and Global CTO

 

As the roles and responsibilities of government IT professionals continue to evolve, these professionals will want to focus on investing in new skills in several key areas to better their chances for success.

 

Much of this evolution is being driven by agencies’ increasing predilection for hybrid IT environments. By hosting at least some of their IT infrastructure on the cloud while keeping a number of sensitive applications in-house, they satisfy the need to balance greater efficiencies with lockdown security.

 

SolarWinds released an IT trends report that tackles the issue of hybrid IT and its impact on the roles and responsibilities of network administrators. While not exclusively focused on the government arena, the findings are reflective of what we’re seeing among federal IT professionals.

 

Let’s take a closer look at some of the more noteworthy outside-the-box skills that the IT administrators surveyed for the report feel are worthwhile to pursue.

 

Vendor management

 

Today, being a federal IT manager means managing the cloud vendors, including identifying potential vendor partners and managing SLAs, costs, and the entire vendor/agency relationship.

 

It’s important for IT managers to receive training on how to effectively work with vendors and manage partner relationships. They also need greater insight into the overall goals of their agencies. Gaining this insight requires working closely with agency leadership so that IT managers can deliver an effective hybrid IT strategy that aligns with their agency’s objectives.

 

DevOps

 

Many agencies are adopting DevOps strategies to enhance the speed at which they are able to deliver solutions. However, old habits die hard, and many IT administrators may be having a difficult time letting go of government’s traditionally siloed approach to IT management.

 

The walls between developers, engineers, and IT operations managers are quickly crumbling, though, and it’s important for all of these groups to lay the groundwork for working together. It starts with internal training that simultaneously outlines individual roles and responsibilities and establishes an agency-endorsed approach to how these formally disparate teams will work together. Using network monitoring solutions provides a single and shared point of visibility into the performance of their entire hybrid IT environment.

 

Hybrid monitoring/management tools and metrics

 

The toughest part is gaining visibility into everything in the hybrid environments. How do you know if the applications being hosted offsite are secure or operating appropriately? How do you maintain application performance as apps are migrated from on-premises to the cloud? There are solutions available that address these questions, but administrators must be trained on these solutions to effectively and continuously monitor every aspect of their hybrid IT deployments.

 

The bottom line: learning is a key element to agencies’ success. Federal IT professionals need to take the time to learn new skill sets, and their agencies need to prioritize the institution of training programs that help these professionals attain them. This will lead to greater innovation—and more opportunities—for both agencies and their IT teams.

 

Find the full article on GovLoop.