How systems automation could be shining a new light on IT

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Automation is transforming the IT sector, and a new study by Tech Pro Research called “The Future of IT Jobs: How to Beat the Machines” shows the scale of this evolution.

The June 2015 study surveyed 353 respondents in the IT field asking them about where, why, and how they’re automating business process in their companies.

The results indicate that the automation of low level processes is the way IT business is headed. According to the study, 60 percent of respondents are already automating some or all of their low level processes, while another 11 percent are planning on doing it over the next 12 months.

Only 29 percent had no plans of automating their low level operations.

It was also found that larger companies are more likely to be automating than smaller companies. Seventy-eight percent of companies with over 1000 employees are automating, while 56 percent of companies with less than 50 employees are doing it. This is due to larger budgets, and more streamlined processes in place with the larger firms.

There are numerous reasons why companies are going this route. The most common reasons are to handle basic tasks (73 percent), maintain consistency (70 percent), and to offload work and free staff members to work on other things (67 percent).

Automation has a long history of putting people out of work, however, so what does this IT industry trend mean for low-level workers? Many of them will have to upgrade their skills sets if they want to stay competitive in the changing job market, and some companies already do offer in-house programs to help in that regard. Around two-thirds of respondents in the study said that the displaced workers were moved into higher positions, and 56 percent confirmed that their company has internal training programs in place. Still, 62 percent are studying independently to stay competitive.

Automation isn’t doom and gloom for all professions though. In the 2013 study “The Future of Employment: How Susceptible are Jobs to Computerization?” it was revealed that people with higher level education in STEM fields are less at risk of being displaced like the workers in lower tier positions like the help desk, or data center. If you have a Masters or PhD in science, business, or engineering, that should be enough to keep you in a place where the steely grasp of the machines can’t touch your job.

The same study predicted that 47 percent of all jobs in America are susceptible to computerization, but automation does come with numerous benefits for the companies that do it. For the workers feeling threatened, they will have to continue learning and upgrading their skills to stay relevant in an increasingly competitive job market.

Flickr photo via Jon Evans. With permission.

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Chris Riddell

Chris Riddell

Chris Riddell is a freelance journalist, copywriter and poet from Mississauga who now lives in Montreal. His byline has appeared in many newspapers and websites such as The National Post, The Globe and Mail, The Montreal Gazette, and Torontoist. He's an expert profiler and has interviewed many notable personalities such as KISSmetrics founder Neil Patel, Ontario Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Glen Murray, and Hollywood actor Michael Rooker. If you want to find out more about him, visit his website and follow him on Twitter @riddellwriter.