As 2018 comes to a close and people start assessing their situations, some people who are data center professionals might consider getting new qualifications or otherwise preparing to fill some of the data center jobs that'll likely be among the most important in 2019. Here are five of them.
A look at the headlines shows that data centers are popping up all over the world, and that trend isn't likely to fade in 2019.
Many well-known companies — Google among them — hire people to oversee data center construction processes. These people must understand how to meet and set expectations, plus have future-oriented mindsets that ensure the new data centers are ready for 2019 and beyond.
It's also likely that data center project managers will be sent to building sites in cities that are gaining momentum as data center hubs. For example, analysts expect that 2019 will be the year Dublin surpasses London as the biggest data center market in Europe.
The role of a compliance officer is under the umbrella of data center careers that aren't yet well-known, but it's a career that'll become increasingly important as states and countries iron out how to treat different types of data to be in line with the respective laws. This role is especially crucial for people who work in on-premise data centers associated with major companies.
Not being aware of a lack of compliance is not an excuse any business can use to avoid fines or other repercussions. However, bringing a compliance officer on board lets companies proactively steer clear of problems related to improper data handling. Compliance officers can also communicate with the respective bodies that publish the minimum requirements for data center compliance, ensuring facilities stay abreast of updates.
IT compliance is a complex topic that will only become more detailed once states enact laws related to the treatment of data. The rollout of the GDPR happened in May 2018 and forced many companies to change their data storage practices, often by speaking to their data center providers. California will implement data protection measures in 2020, so 2019 is an ideal time for data centers to hire compliance officers.
Many people who work in tech fields have the fear that artificial intelligence (AI) will replace their jobs. More specifically, predictions assert that AI will replace humans in data centers. But, that's unlikely. Even AI can make mistakes, and humans need to verify technology is working as it should. Or, they may need to take action based on what AI applications indicate.
For example, cybersecurity in the data center benefits from both humans and AI. A recent survey reported that 87 percent of IT professionals who were familiar with the use of AI in cybersecurity believed the technology could spot problems that humans would miss. But, once a platform detects those issues, people still need to step in and decide how to proceed.
For that reason, cybersecurity specialists will be crucial parts of data center workforces in 2019. Cybercriminals want to orchestrate attacks that result in the most damage possible. And, since data centers possess so much information, they become lucrative targets.
Many people who work in data centers are doing so after feeling spurred by a lifelong fascination with computers. People who found IT degrees to be their calling in college or got involved in complementing activities, such as taking coding classes as extracurriculars, generally fall into this category. Regardless of their educations, many of them start as data center technicians.
Such people are integral to the day-to-day operations of the data center and are often some of the first people who notice problems. So, these people need to be able to think clearly under pressure while also applying the tech skills they learned in formal education, as well as understand what constitutes normal operations for the facilities where they work.
The earlier mention of the rapidly increasing number of data centers around the world means that data center technicians will be essential in 2019. Data center clients want assurances of reliable service, and data center technicians ensure that facilities operate as they should.
Plus, people who are in this position in entry-level roles can make more than $20 an hour, on average. So, if people want to get their data center careers off to strong starts, focusing on technician roles offers financial stability and likely job security.
Many people in the data center sector already look for ways to expand their skills and become more competitive in the marketplace. When AFCOM released its State of the Data Center Report for 2018, that document highlighted how 60 percent of respondents planned to focus on additional training for staff, and that cloud computing was one of the key areas of knowledge.
The report also found that the cloud architect role or certification was the most sought after by the survey's respondents. If people can enter the data center with relevant capabilities in 2019, they'll be well-equipped to help their employers get set for the future.
The data center industry as a whole will be a hotbed of activity throughout 2019, especially as data centers look for ways to keep up with changing needs and satisfy their clients.
The roles on this list are not the only essential ones, but they are among the standout careers for data center professionals.
Kayla Matthews writes about data centers and big data for several industry publications, including The Data Center Journal, Data Center Frontier and insideBIGDATA. To read more posts from Kayla, you can follower her personal tech blog at ProductivityBytes.com.