IT automation shakes up the entry-level career path

The advent of IT automation — and the desire for more meaningful work — is transforming how CIOs think about internal talent pipelines and entry-level IT work.

IT automation shakes up the entry-level career path
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Workers entering IT have traditionally paid their dues by spending a year (or three) doing grunt work: manning customer service lines, resolving support tickets, provisioning hardware and performing manual data entry, among other tasks. But as automation takes over many of these menial IT tasks, CIOs and IT workers are having to rethink the traditional IT career path beginning with the entry-level IT job.

The hard truth is that, yes, some jobs and roles will no longer be necessary, thanks to automation, but this is not a new phenomenon, says Joseph Quan, CEO of people analytics startup Twine.

“Any kind of innovation goes this way,” Quan says. “If you know anything about history or the labor market — as far back as the printing press or, more recently, the ATM — you can’t get around that. At the lower levels, jobs will be lost.”

Quan sees the movement of lower-level work to self-service or automation as being very real, a trend that has been evolving in IT for years. “At a macro level, we’re seeing a lot of organizations pushing to replace those lower-level roles with automation technology,” he says.

But this shift has a silver lining: Many of the people filling roles ripe for automation are being upskilled into higher-level, higher-paid work that’s just as critical, Quan says.

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