ITOps, also known as IT Operations, is one of the oldest areas of the technology industry. For decades, companies have relied on ITOps, made up of teams of professionals, or even entire departments, to deploy, maintain and support its main technological systemswithout which they cannot operate in many cases.
But the industry has evolved over the years, and so have the skills required to be part of an ITOps team. Some of the skills that were critical in IT a few decades ago are less important. Others have gained weight, and there are even several new ones. But what is ITOps today, what jobs are the most relevant in the sector and what skills are required to work in it? Find out below.
What is ITOps and what are its main positions
In summary, ITOps is the section, within a company, that is in charge of the planning, implementation and management of IT resources and systems. Its action, therefore, extends to many technological and business areas. Among them, the administration of computers and servers, network management or the provision of technical support to end users.
Professionals who dedicate themselves, in any of their areas, to ITOps, are very necessary, and even essential, for the vast majority of companies. Virtually all of them use technological systems, so they need at least one professional in this area on their staff. Or, the services of an external team if they are very small.
In recent years, as we have mentioned, its activity has evolved to the point that it is not only very different from what it was a few years ago. It is also more diverse. What is this about? Well, for several reasons, among which are the adoption of virtualization technologies to run servers, the arrival of storage and software-defined networks, the migration of workloads to the cloud and the majority adoption of distributed computing platforms. and to microservices architectures. This has led to the fact that, at present, the main positions within ITOps are the following:
- Systems administrator: responsible for the configuration, maintenance and operation of IT systems.
- database administrator: responsible for the performance, integrity and security of the databases.
- Network Administrator: deals with managing, maintaining and repairing the networks of any company or organization.
- Application Manager: maximum person in charge of the management of the installation, configuration and maintenance of the applications of a company or entity.
- systems integrator: Its mission is to unify the different subsystems that exist in a company so that they work as if they were one, and to make sure that these systems work in collaboration with each other.
- security administrator: Responsible for securing IT resources, including the infrastructure and the applications that run on it.
- support technician: works offering technical support to end users.
- Project Manager: Your task is to oversee initiatives related to the management of IT systems, such as the deployment of new IT resources, as well as the restructuring of existing systems.
- Software developer: deals with the design and development of the software or the integrations necessary for the company or organization to use its IT resources in the best possible way.
The most demanded skills for ITOps professionals
In addition to the professionals who are part of ITOps teams, the skills that companies most need to find in them have also evolved and changed over time. At present, the most demanded are these:
- Data processing: A couple of decades ago, almost all the data on which a company relied was stored in conventional databases, or file systems. Today, companies frequently use Big data and analytics technologies. Among others, Hadoop, Spark or Kafka. As a consequence, ITOps engineers who have the ability to work with these technologies are essential to ensure that companies can leverage their data resources effectively.
- networks: The use of software-defined networks, which open the door to the development of virtual and abstract networks based on the physical network infrastructure, has increased the complexity of current networks. Therefore, ITOps teams must be able to work with much more complex networks. They need the necessary skills to understand new types of network protocols, such as BGP (Border Gateway Protocol). They need to know how to work with cloud-native firewalls, virtual private clouds, and other types of software-defined networking structures and tools.
- System Administration: The systems that ITOps teams manage today are also more complex. Therefore, ITOps engineers need to be able to manage large-scale distributed environments. Also, in many cases, and among other things, they have to be able to work with several operating systems at the same time, as well as hypervisor platforms, container execution technologies. They may need to manage workloads in the cloud, in addition to traditional on-premises servers.
- cloud administration– Although in some cases system administrators are expected to have experience in cloud system administration, this is not always the case. In other cases, ITOps teams dedicate specific positions to cloud administrators. This is gaining more and more supporters as most workloads are already running in the cloud. Therefore, the skills to understand complex cloud architectures, work with cloud-specific tools and cloud troubleshooting applications are already essential for ITOps engineers.
- Security: With the intensity and frequency of cybersecurity attacks growing every year, ITOps teams have to be up-to-date with skills related to online security. ITOps engineers are typically not shouldered with all the responsibility for cybersecurity in a company, rather it is carried out by the security team. But at least they need to have some basic security skills. Also to help with incident response management when there is a problem.
- Project management: As IT operations become more and more complex, the ability to manage ITOps projects is becoming more important. Professionals whose skills include planning project roadmaps and resources, as well as ensuring that those who have to carry out a project do it on time and meet deadlines, have a prominent role in ITOps teams.
- Business analysis: to offer maximum value, at ITOps they have to be in line with the needs of the company. So ITOps teams need to understand what systems and functions the business needs, how much the business can invest in them, and how to update systems over time to ensure they continue to meet business needs. To achieve these functions, some ITOps teams are assisted by one or more business analysts who can understand both their needs and those of the business.
- technical writing: Documenting how systems work, recording changes as they occur, and explaining complex technology systems in detail to non-technical business users is important to ensure ITops teams are efficient and effective. . Therefore, technical writers with the necessary skills to understand the advanced technological concepts that they work with in ITOps and to explain them in a simple way are very important to achieve this.
- Software development: In most cases, software development is treated independently of ITOps. For this reason, its professionals are not expected to have great experience or capacity in programming. But a basic ability to develop software, even with low code tools, is increasingly appreciated in ITOps. In this way, professionals who have it can help develop scripts, manage code-based configurations and create integrations between systems.
- Systems engineer: This role, within ITOps teams, helps to ensure that systems are well designed and well managed. Systems engineers have the skills to assess systems and environments with a broad view, to determine how to optimize them to meet technical and business requirements.
A team of ITOps that has professionals with the skills we have just seen brings many advantages to companies. For starters, he has all the experience necessary to ensure that the company’s systems work effectively and efficiently.
In addition, the analytical skills of the team will help to optimize decision making, in addition to solving problems more quickly and efficiently. This will also happen with those related to planning and collaboration, since it will facilitate the work between different departments, and the monitoring of the project roadmap. All without forgetting that they will have the necessary knowledge to maintain and improve operations, both technological and business.