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New IT Departments


New IT Departments

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Steve Jones
Steve Jones
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Comments posted to this topic are about the item New IT Departments

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Dave Schutz
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I still manage my companies' systems, just most of my servers are in the cloud. Microsoft manages the servers and I manage the rest. My job hasn't changed, we still have email, applications, etc. just the tools I use to manage the network has changed. Our jobs for the most part haven't gone away, they've just changed. If you are willing to learn and stay current with the changes in technology you can still find plenty of work.
When I joined the military 40 years ago we used vacuum tubes and relays. Then RTL and TTL logic followed. But technology support has stayed the same. Find problem, fix problem. The flow of life in IT continues.
Craigmeister
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Interesting thoughts.
As a data architect, I am finding a bigger and bigger part of my role is bringing other group's DIY POC and now mission critical operations into our enterprise-level workflow tools. It is not exactly stated as such, but when those people are not included in development roadmaps and timelines, it gets ugly quick. I pushed back at first and adopted a pessimistic view of development (read - lock down the process workflows for sanity's sake) . However, "making things better" has been my main driver for all of my tech career. Since these projects weren't going away, I began to see half our group's purpose is actually to enable these projects to be converted to the enterprise, and therefore to build into the design ways to make this easier for the operations people using the new tools. They were used to making changes to their Access database and Excel files/formulas as desired and needed. For these people, this meant figuring out how best to allow for this, for them to be able to make changes in business rules on the fly, along with rule change tracking of course.

As far as our jobs going away, I think there will always be a need for humans to be involved. The big push in automation has not resulted in a huge amount of downsizing in my view. It is, however, highly recommended for everyone in technology to maintain their plans to stay current, and even to continue to move up the food chain. Adopt the mindset of always learning and never stopping to learn due to age or status or capability.
Dalkeith
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I think while the difficulty in designing interfaces is slowly reducing the move to web and the move to ever greater sizes of data sets is in the short term increasing the complexity more quickly leading to the standing still losing ground feeling some are experiencing. A lot of data manipulation involves doing things that weren't previously possible.

I think programming will be one of the last things to be automated. But yes everything will eventually be automated but that holds true for every profession. I think I am probably safe for the remainder of my career.




Craigmeister
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That brings up the idea of how technology and ideas get hyped and people seem to go into a frenzy. People seem to think these kinds of changes are going to happen tomorrow or next week. But the reality is often the technology exists today, but a good business case and quality implementation are a ways off.

Take self-driving cars. All the pieces to the technology exists now. Sensors, fast processors, etc. I have friends who believed their kids, 10-12 years old at the time, were not going to have any knowledge what it's like to drive themselves. Now we see there's a lot more work to do to solve some very major problems. The speed of business in general is slow. Add to that public safety and the bureaucracy involved, not to mention liability (and politics/socialization) and the timeline for that kind of integration gets way longer. Maybe my friend's great-grandkids will be the ones without driver's ed.

I see the "robots taking over development" in a similar light. The technology is here. We've been talking about it for a long time. But bot development is really getting started in earnest now and its only being used for very simple stuff. That will probably change faster than, say, going from mainframes to SQL Server, I concede. The answer is stay calm and keep an eye on the bleeding edge.
Dalkeith
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Craigmesiter I think you are bang on the mark there

Although it is tempting to think that everything is going to change tomorrow if you look back through history the path of technology is marked by continual growth where change over the centuries appears somewhat dramatic but when observed from the lifetime of an individual it is a bit more steady. It can take a long time to implement the cutting edge.

Case in point
It is interesting that although databases have been spatially enabled for over a decade now - a lot of applications that would really assist their users by having a graphical display of the geographical information few front ends really exist that are really using this information and then usually in a very basic way.

Google maps and directions is a very nice implementation whereby they have dynamic feedback on all the vehicles that then gives users an indication of congestion on their predicted route. Most geographical UIs at the moment are unable to display Master Child Forms its simple flat files!


Dave Poole
Dave Poole
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As Steve notes, there have always been people within the business putting together DIY utilities. These end up being mission critical. I don't think I'm being massively cynical in saying that these systems are no worse in terms of documentation than their professional counterparts. Validation of the inputs/outputs tends to be reasonable as the people building the systems are the primary source of expertise about the business subject area that they are automating. They know what a dodgy answer looks like. They are also very quick to respond to change and feedback. In addition they are building for what they actually need, not what a committee has decided should be in-scope/out-of-scope.

The problem comes when managing the realisation comes that their job has become maintaining and developing the systems they originally built for their own use. They or their managers decide that enough is enough and that the systems should become part of the portfolio of systems that have to be looked after by IT. I have done software archeology on such systems and have found a few consistent themes.

  • The core application (the V'yger core) is sound

  • The code has become ever more complicated in an attempt to absorb new features and facilities that should probably have not been included in the scope.

  • The code contains huge methods/functions that need to be refactored and deduplicated.

  • There is code written that duplicated things that are actually available as standard library functions.

  • Integration back into the IT portfolio is a major undertaking.

  • IT is not able to offer the same speed and flexibility in supporting change requests and bug fixes



The difference between when I started IT development and today's world is that languages, libraries and frameworks make it far easier for DIY coders to achieve far more. Udemy courses and Google have democratised IT. Hardware is so powerful and cheap that the point at which these apps start to overwhelm that hardware is much higher. Many apps never reach the point where the DIY programmer finds their backs to the wall in terms of performance.

As a professional IT person my job has changed beyond all recognition. What has remained is the requirement for a problem solving mindset, and an emphasis on simplifying things and finding ways for disparate systems to share data efficiently.

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Dalkeith
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David.Poole - Tuesday, April 24, 2018 2:06 AM
The problem comes when managing the realisation comes that their job has become maintaining and developing the systems they originally built for their own use. They or their managers decide that enough is enough and that the systems should become part of the portfolio of systems that have to be looked after by IT.

I think the clever progressive ones should realise that their job is now or may soon be dominated by domain specific software and to a certain extent that is the job - adapt and start hiring DBAs and developers / or work completely in partnership with IT departments if you don't have a market offering or want to be at the cutting edge- or wait for SalesForce / Purple Flag / Xero or one of an ever increasing number of web enabled applications to do cover some of your remit and be forced to adapt their workflow.

xsevensinzx
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The whole reason I exist is because of this quote from the article:

Citizen development can be explained as the flipside to the spooky-sounding "shadow IT", where business users, hungry to solve problems, quickly built their own solutions in isolation from the core IT department.


However, cloud platforms like Azure for example are making this soooo much better though. It's allowing us to all work under one roof where we can bring IT and Shadow IT together where we can focus on collaborative efforts to bridge the divide. For example, IT will be able to fully support what I'm doing as well as allow me to continue building it out where they can jump in and get their hands dirty to help push it forward as one team, not two separate teams working in silos.
Jeff Moden
Jeff Moden
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xsevensinzx - Tuesday, April 24, 2018 6:11 AM
The whole reason I exist is because of this quote from the article:

Citizen development can be explained as the flipside to the spooky-sounding "shadow IT", where business users, hungry to solve problems, quickly built their own solutions in isolation from the core IT department.


However, cloud platforms like Azure for example are making this soooo much better though. It's allowing us to all work under one roof where we can bring IT and Shadow IT together where we can focus on collaborative efforts to bridge the divide. For example, IT will be able to fully support what I'm doing as well as allow me to continue building it out where they can jump in and get their hands dirty to help push it forward as one team, not two separate teams working in silos.


To be honest, I don't see the cloud preventing such a thing. People will still do their Office 365 stuff and try to run the business on Access databases and spreadsheets (and there IS some merit in even that!). It doesn't matter what platform you use, only a culture change will prevent "the great divide".

--Jeff Moden

RBAR is pronounced ree-bar and is a Modenism for Row-By-Agonizing-Row.
First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
Stop thinking about what you want to do to a row... think, instead, of what you want to do to a column.
If you think its expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur. -- Red Adair

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