Systems

Why the Rise of Automation Is a Programmer’s Paradise

March 17, 2020

Why the Rise of Automation Is a Programmer’s Paradise

Automation is increasingly one of the cornerstones of an optimized federal IT environment. If you’re a federal IT pro, you may be asking, “Will automation make my job easier?” The answer is a resounding “yes,” as automation can dramatically enhance overall agency performance on multiple levels.

Let’s start with automating network configurations, which can help federal and government IT pros more effectively:

  1. Meet compliance requirements
  2. Implement configuration changes quickly and efficiently
  3. Reduce downtime caused by failed devices
  4. Save time and increase productivity

Automation has far greater possibilities beyond ordinary IT tasks; federal IT programmers can automate back-office human resource tasks, procurement tasks, and financial tasks, and they can even use artificial intelligence (AI) to add context to collected data to further automate nearly any task—from threat response to addressing citizen inquiries.

In fact, AI will likely be the foundation of a slew of additional automation possibilities. Take cybersecurity as an example. AI can help federal IT security pros far more effectively understand the severity of potential threats and remediate them through automated responses.

More Automation = Changing Job Skills

Implementing automation throughout an agency will require a different skillset than is required in nonautomated environments. Specifically, traditional federal IT roles will require more “soft skills”—like the ability to write and communicate effectively, problem solving, critical thinking, and leadership skills.

In fact, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) earlier this year released what it calls a Reskilling Toolkit to help agencies more successfully shift staff capabilities to accommodate automation, AI, and other forward-looking technologies.

“As technology like robotic process automation and artificial intelligence are introduced into the workplace, employees require new skills that include technical knowledge blended with social or people skills,” said Margaret Weichert, acting OPM director, in a memo to agency leadership. “Agency leaders, managers, human resources professionals, and employees can work together to prepare the workforce for new types of jobs and skills that will be needed as automation rapidly changes the way we work.”

With more automation, coupled with AI, federal IT pros are transitioning from service managers to service brokers. Because spending time provisioning more storage or answering end-user service requests will soon be automated (if they’re not already), these folks will instead be identifying data interactions, designing policies, and implementing new technologies requiring a breadth and depth of understanding well beyond simple coding or IT management.

The Bottom Line

Change is good. That said, it’s important to understand the impact change will have on your environment and shift accordingly. Yes, automation can provide huge benefits for federal IT pros. It can also change the dynamic of the workforce. These aspects are both positive—you simply need to be prepared.

Find the full article on Government Technology Insider.


Mav Turner is the vice president of product for the network management portfolio and Orion® Platform at SolarWinds. Prior to his current role, Mav held various positions within SolarWinds, including senior sales engineer and senior product manager. Mav has worked in IT management for 20 years, including positions in both network and systems management before joining the SolarWinds team in 2009. Mav has a BS in Computer Science from Texas State University.