Technology changes and so does the expertise required to manage, develop, and deploy it. Cloud computing has spread at an impressive rate, and its flexibility improves IT functions. With advantages ranging from a built-in structural cyber security to limitless storage capacities, it has moved into the mainstream for enterprise performance.

As more services and systems move into cloud computing, the nature of networking also changes. Mobile computing is another stream that contributes to a flood of change. As limitations diminish, mobile devices take on greater shares of computer functions. Basic communications were the beginning, and now it is the launching pad for a wide range of computing functions. Email, document management, voice, data download and transfers are each comfortably managed from mobile devices.

Competitive Edge

With origins in Enterprise Systems Management and Agile software development, DevOps is a matching of necessities. Streamlined development of software, software features, and software maintenance systems require the integration of development and operations processes. In much the same way, software managed networks have emerged as a growth stream in network communications and network management. DevOps has shown early adopters a competitive edge over traditional approaches, and the rate of new users of DevOps has raced ahead of projections.

The Emerging SDN Era

Software Defined Network technology will substantially change the field of network development and management. Professionals will have to learn a great deal about this technology to compete at the top of the field. SDN has an impressive though small sample. It has grown among data centers and enterprise applications nearly 200 percent since 2012-13, and this includes SDN Ethernet switches and controllers. This level of growth has convinced many industry leaders that SDN is here to stay. With current predictions that SDN will go into full availability in 2018, the estimated market for SDN controllers and SDN Ethernet switches was approximately $18 billion.

The Internet of Things, containers, SDN, DevOps, Cloud Computing, and Mobile computing are leading topics of discussion as the leading edge of IT innovation. They comprise agendas at events like the Interop New York. Across the industry, these changes promise fundamental shifts in technology.

The New Leadership

A real question has emerged about the qualifications of those who will provide the expertise needed to implement the emerging SDN changeover. In the past, Cisco certification was the gold standard for professional network leadership. The CCIE was the bellwether for professional status and a credential that had wide acceptance in the industry. SDN is a great technical departure from enterprise. While there are still a great mass of networks using standard technology, the percentage of SDN will likely rise sharply from the present time through 2018.

The new wave of cloud-based systems and SDN will require a greater emphasis on code and scripting. Many feel that adding expertise is the key to effectiveness in the SDN era. Expertise in using a language like Python, developing problem-solving approaches in an environment like GitHub, and contributing code to an ongoing open source project like OpenStack Neutron could replace the traditional resume. Many agree that leadership qualification based on enterprise certifications will get less emphasis as the industry adopts SDN.

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