The end of network engineers?

Our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.”
M. Scott Peck

I was recently discussing the future of networking with a mate of mine named Dom who also happens to be a CCIE and one of the most productive architects I’ve ever met.

He currently works closely with a range of cloud service providers and believes that the role of network architect will be redundant within a few years. He believes that the cloud offerings of AWS and similar will become so templated and the design tools so easy to use that anyone (eg procurement officers) will be able to drag and drop infrastructure into a canvas with little to no networking knowledge (similar to what is described here in above-the-line and below-the-line OSS).

This is a fascinating concept for networking and OSS folk alike. It turns the current resource supply from scarcity to excess and we all know how that works out!

If Dom’s prediction comes true, what roles will today’s OSS and network architects/engineers adapt to? If you fit these criteria, what is your evolution plan?

Assuming there are few infrastructure roles left, does it leave applications, content and art (unique niches) as areas of possible differentiation? I tend to think that data and process architects as well as analytics officers will be required more heavily in the future.

Ohhh… and if you have the ability to sell, then someone will always be willing to employ you to bring revenue through their doors.

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