Google’s chief information officer (CIO) praised IT workers around the world for helping to keep modern businesses up and running, despite most people outside IT departments being utterly unaware of the work they do.
In a blog post on Friday to celebrate SysAdmin Day, Ben Fried, who joined Google from banking giant Morgan Stanley in 2008, said that it was right to honour the work of IT teams, especially as most firms rely on technology now more than ever.
“System administrators’ responsibilities can’t be captured in a simple job description. They vary from company to company and even within organisations, but one thing is constant: system administrators are the people who do what it takes to keep companies running,” he said.
He noted just how diverse the role of the IT workers has now become, covering a multitude of skill sets and requirements.
“All too often, users don’t understand the amazing efforts that go into making things ‘just work’,” he wrote.
“Physical plant, hardware, storage, networking, security, backup, disaster recovery, configuration, upgrades, patches... and it’s all only really successful if users only have to think about their own work.”
Fried also acknowledged just how rapidly technology has evolved over the years that most IT people have been in their jobs, with reference to simpler times.
“Your role has only gotten more demanding. I’ve worked in technology since I was in high school; in my earliest days, the hardest problems might have been helping researchers convert their data from one tape format to another, which seemed equal parts engineering and magic,” he wrote.
“And back then, before the internet, a break-in meant the intruder was in one of our computing centers, and we’d have to send the most intimidating-looking system administrators to guard the door until the police came.”
The praise for IT workers will no doubt be welcomed by overworked IT teams across the land. Last month V3 reported similar sentiments from the chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, Charlie Mayfield, who said firms must “learn to take ‘no’ for an answer” from their IT teams.
The effusive celebration of IT staff also comes at a time of a looming skills crisis, with many concerned that future generations of staff will lack the technical know-how to be able to help manage the numerous demands firms now place on technology systems.
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