What will happen to infrastructure specialists when organizations inevitably shift to the cloud?

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VP - Head of Information Technology in Software, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
I remember when everybody was using the letters SDN. I was in infrastructure at the time, and software-defined networking (SDN) meant whatever the hell you wanted, but it had an absolute practical meaning in the technology community. If I was still in that role, I'd be looking at my career from more of a security perspective, because the ability to read packet captures will be the common business-oriented language (COBOL) equivalent at some point. In fact, that's already been true with the election fraud that was happening in the US.

It will be a different world for infrastructure folks, but security is the natural next step for them. You have to reinvent yourself in that domain, because infrastructure is being commoditized. So many infrastructure jobs become commoditized, and then they’re not fun anymore. It's not a career anymore.

Infrastructure folks will end up in security, and that’s the better place to be. Identity and access management will be hot for a while. The new firewall is who you are, where you are, and what device you're on. Those are the new credentials. I assess your posture based on the fact that you're authenticated, that I can prove it to you, that I know what device you're on, and I can get an idea of exactly where you are; therefore, I can make decisions about what I want you to be able to see. That's still a somewhat untapped space.
Senior Director, Technology Solutions and Analytics in Telecommunication, 51 - 200 employees
I think we have some time before that will occur with platforms as a service like Azure and AWS. The people that I work with today are in Azure or AWS, and it's totally different than on prem. It's a different skill set, but a lot of them are adapting to it. What happens after that, I don't know.
CISO in Software, 51 - 200 employees
We still have legacy companies—hospitals, manufacturing, etc.—that can't move away from having a physical network. But they’re going to be few and far between in the near future.
Director in Manufacturing, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
The cloud is still infrastructure, just someone else owns the infrastructure. It will mean less jobs is the Infrastructure area but those trouble shooting skills will still be needed. I moved from Infrastructure to Apps, to Control Systems to Networking to Apps …. Keep learning and you always have options
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Assistant Director IT Auditor in Education, 10,001+ employees

You absolutely correct, and some companies will want more control of their data and still have their own data centers.

Director of IT in Software, 201 - 500 employees
The cloud does not manage on its own. You still need an infrastructure team to manage and administer it. You still need someone to design it, protect it and troubleshoot it.

I think hybrid cloud will become the new normal in near future. Some workloads just don't work as well in the cloud or the cost just does not justify's it.

I've seen many companies that moved things to the cloud early on are moving some workloads to on-prem (not in their server room where it used to reside originally but to colocation facilities or their own private cloud).
We will see more and more HCI and hybrid-cloud deployment, stretched clusters between multiple on-prem and cloud locations.

Some companies will always keep things on-prem due to various reasons like security, compliance and governance.

The rise of cloud does not decrease the infrastructure positions and opportunities, it does change them and their scope evolves, but we are in technology and that's part of the industry.
CIO in Education, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
They will need to accordingly make the pivot or find something else to maintain.

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CTO in Software, 201 - 500 employees
Without a doubt - Technical Debt! It's a ball and chain that creates an ever increasing drag on any organization, stifles innovation, and prevents transformation.
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