Business Has Killed IT With Overspecialization
Apr 08, 2010, 21:32 (4 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Charlie Schluting)
"What happened to the old "sysadmin" of just a few years ago?
We've split what used to be the sysadmin into application teams,
server teams, storage teams, and network teams. There were often at
least a few people, the holders of knowledge, who knew how
everything worked, and I mean everything. Every application, every
piece of network gear, and how every server was configured -- these
people could save a business in times of disaster.
"Now look at what we've done. Knowledge is so decentralized we
must invent new roles to act as liaisons between all the IT groups.
Architects now hold much of the high-level "how it works"
knowledge, but without knowing how any one piece actually does
work. In organizations with more than a few hundred IT staff and
developers, it becomes nearly impossible for one person to do and
know everything. This movement toward specializing in individual
areas seems almost natural. That, however, does not provide a free
ticket for people to turn a blind eye.
"You know the story: Company installs new application, nobody
understands it yet, so an expert is hired. Often, the person with a
certification in using the new application only really knows how to
run that application. Perhaps they aren't interested in learning
anything else, because their skill is in high demand right now. And
besides, everything else in the infrastructure is run by people who
specialize in those elements. Everything is taken care of."