Automation skills can help you stay ahead of the curve
The pandemic has accelerated the adoption of IT practices for many organisations, which has fuelled demand for experts in the field. Automation is having its moment in the sun as companies continue to work towards improving their workflow and efficiency, which spells opportunities for those with automation skills.
Automation allows tasks to be completed more quickly and accurately; it can also help reduce costs by reducing the manpower needed to complete tasks.
On The Enterprisers Project, Mist CTO and co-founder Bob Friday note that automation is the most sought-after skill in IT, especially the ability to write Python to leverage cloud APIs for automation.
“This is followed closely by artificial intelligence for IT operations (AIOps) and leveraging AI across an organisation’s SD-WAN and Wi-Fi solutions,” he said.
“These skills require an understanding of how AI capabilities can be applied as well as of the key attributes of an effective AI foundation (data, domain expertise/classification, rich data science toolbox, virtual network assistant, self-driving capabilities) to enable evaluation of emerging and developed AI-driven networking solutions.”
Why automation skills are essential
Friday notes that many enterprises are moving toward a hybrid work model, professionals with the technical skills to address the IT challenges of a remote workforce, and an expected increase in smaller branch offices will be much in demand.
They will be tasked with optimising the end-user experience and expediting remote troubleshooting.
“Automation via APIs and AI assistants will reduce the number of customer support tickets, which ultimately reflects improved customer experience and satisfaction,” said Friday.
“Adding AI assistants to the IT team will enable team members to work on more strategic business problems and reduce the number of time customers are spending with their vendor’s customer support team. IT professionals who view AI as a way to alleviate current challenges will be able to focus on driving innovation as opposed to simply “keeping the lights on.’”
Building automation skills
Cybersecurity company UpGuard notes that there are a number of important skills to have when holding an automation-related position. This includes:
- Configuration Management (CM) Software Experience
RedHat describes CM as “a process for maintaining computer systems, servers, and software in a desired, consistent state. It’s a way to make sure that a system performs as it’s expected to as changes are made over time.”
UpGuard notes that familiarity with some of the more common CM tools is important.
“These programmes include names like Puppet and Chef, and they help to manage large systems and high volume databases,” it said.
If you plan to design systems that automate troubleshooting, you’ll need a strong understanding of the technical aspects of troubleshooting.
- Development Methodology
UpGuard notes that proper testing design requires integrating a large number of systems together while incorporating a multitude of workers and inputs.
“For this reason, familiarity with processes and standards, such as ITIL and DevOps philosophy, play a role in the proper development of testing software. In-depth knowledge of these processes will help your production speed, make sure you deliver a quality programme, and ensure that it is in compliance with any standards.”
- Coding and Scripting Expertise
The languages used for automation include C and its varieties, Python, Perl, Java, Ruby, and Shell. Having expertise in one or two of these is necessary.
A number of certifications that can be useful for those with automation-related roles include PMP, MCSA, VMP, and CCNP.
“The PMP (Project Management Professional) certification also relates back to number three on this list,” notes UpGuard.
Ultimately, armed with the right knowledge and understanding of tools can help you succeed in an automation-related role.