Creeping IT apocalypse. New cloud services will leave some engineers out of work

    Rumor has it that Amazon is working on a secret project AWS For Everyone . This was reported by several sources in the company, and he is also mentioned in the profiles of a number of employees (note: in the last few days, the company began to erase information and delete the name of the project from everywhere).

    The new service will allow creating simple business applications on a cloud platform for people “with minimal programming skills or without them at all”. Hints sounded, for example, in the report of AWS engineer Patrick Wu at the CascadiaJS conference in November 2018 ( video). He told how a team of 50+ developers scaled a single-page application, but now in AWS they are making a new service (AWS For Everyone), which will radically change the situation on the market.

    It would seem that one can only rejoice that the interfaces are becoming easier. But in reality, there is a serious problem that some commentators call the "creeping IT apocalypse . " The fact is that cloud providers are directly aimed at reducing the engineers who are required to maintain technical systems . In fact, it is presented as a real market advantage: moving to the cloud allows companies to reduce staff and save money.

    Amazon is not alone in this pursuit. This is a real market trend. For example, the company GlobalSign also emphasizes the advantages of the cloud digital signature service Digital Signing Service (DSS) over the corporate cryptographic infrastructure. Its infrastructure is its own key management system, FIPS level 2 or higher key storage system (for example, hardware tokens or HSM), OCSP service or CRL, time stamp service. Integrating these components, especially integration with the hardware security module (HSM) directly, whether cloud or locally, requires considerable effort from the IT department and the information security department, along with good knowledge of cryptography and the availability of the necessary resources.

    Obviously, without high-class specialists is not enough. If you connect to the cloud service Digital Signing Service, then access is provided through a simple REST API, and the components of the cryptographic signature are included in the API, do not require advanced knowledge of cryptography or development resources.

    In this case, you can reduce the state. No longer need a guru with the deepest knowledge of technology and dozens-hundreds of developers to create their own applications. This service can be supported by several mid-level IT specialists. An example is our long-time client - a provider of software for the banking industry Excubia, which introduced the cloud digital signature service (DSS) not only for the rapid deployment of digital signatures, but also to reduce costs.

    It is in this that some commentators see signs of an IT apocalypse: “I have long been saying that we are approaching a crisis point in the world of information technology. An average IT worker is in immediate danger that his work will be automated. And just as with the reduction of workers in factories in the last 30 years, no one wants to admit that this happens until it is too late, - writesForrest Brasil, cloud solutions architect (Senior Cloud Architect) from Trek10, who specializes in developing serverless AWS-based solutions for clients. - The apocalypse of IT automation is advancing slowly (by the standards of IT), so it is not noticed. Unlike the collapse of the American industry, we will not see dramatic reports on television and political posturing. A closed factory and 700 unemployed are a well-marked object, and in the abandoned cities of the Rusty Belt you can take a lot of colorful photos. But how do you write an article, how do IT engineers of middle managers have two or three people leave the job that journalists cannot even describe? ”

    According to the author, the first victims will be not highly paid and important programmers in Silicon Valley, but ordinary system administrators, application developers and DBA, who tinker with JSON in C #: “Ordinary people who earn comfortable 50–80 thousand dollars a year in such ordinary places, like Omaha, Memphis and Santa Fe. ”

    AWS, Azure and Google are gradually realizing common patterns. They see that they need a large number of clients - and expand the range of services, including for automation of development. For example, AWS recently launched AppSync (a backend for mobile, web and corporate applications) and Amplify (server side for mobile applications).

    Each company individually is no longer obliged to do the same thing, if the cloud provider has solved the problem for everyone at once.

    But the point is not that employees can now be engaged in development without knowledge of programming, this is not so. Competent specialists are still needed. The problem is that far fewer developers are able to perform technical work.. Although cloud services cost money, like robots on a conveyor belt, in the long run they may be cheaper than humans. Unfortunately for the IT market, some companies prefer to pay Azure for the DevOps service, rather than hire their own DevOps engineer: “Of course, companies still need technically competent specialists, just like factories need workers in the hall. But instead of five backend developers, three DevOps and a database administrator, in order to support your business application, you may now need only two people. - writes Forrest Brasil. - These two people earn a lot, they are very busy, and they have a lot of work. But they do not manage the database cluster, do not coddle with the build server, and do not write giant stored procedures to perform some common task, such as text recognition in insurance forms. A cloud service provider can do this (and constantly adds additional features). ”

    Automation allows you to reduce staff in various fields, including office workers, economists, accountants, auditors, and so on. Now we are talking about the automation of work of medium / junior engineers and medium / junior system administrators.

    In principle, nothing new. Since the 1970s, wreckage of obsolete technologies has been constantly breaking away from the IT industry: mainframes, VAX, Unix, Cobol, etc. (there is a demand for “exotic” competencies, but this is not mass demand, but rare cases).

    In IT it’s impossible to do the same thing all my life, the situation is constantly changing. So if the developer does not stand still, but expands the sphere of knowledge, then he will never be left without work.

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