Artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly reshaping industries and professions across the globe, and the field of Information Technology (IT) is no exception.
This article will examine the future of work and the IT roles most susceptible to AI displacement. On top of this, we will discuss the emerging opportunities that AI advancements may bring to the IT industry.
Work Transformed: The Future of Work
McKinsey projects that industries might require around 12 million occupational transitions by 2030.¹ This arises from the necessity for individuals to shift away from diminishing occupations as the economy reevaluates higher-paying positions.
Individuals in lower-paying positions face a 14-fold higher likelihood of transitioning to different jobs than those in higher-paying roles. Successful role transitions for the former group will likely necessitate acquiring new skills. Furthermore, women are 1.5 times more likely than men to undergo occupational changes.
In the context of shifting job landscapes, according to the Pew Research Center, 19 percent of American workers are engaged in jobs highly susceptible to AI exposure.² These jobs involve activities that could potentially be either replaced or assisted by AI technologies.
Current artificial intelligence technologies, including generative AI, possess the capacity to automate tasks that currently occupy 60 to 70 percent of employees’ time.³ This contrasts McKinsey’s earlier estimation, which indicated that technology could automate only half of the time employees spend in their work activities.
As industries undergo transformative changes, the need for occupational transitions becomes more apparent. The increasing influence of AI technologies adds complexity to these shifts, with specific job roles facing higher susceptibility. Recognizing these dynamics is crucial for individuals and organizations alike as they navigate the evolving landscape of work and employment.
Shifts in the IT Landscape: 6 IT Roles in Potential Displacement
As AI technologies advance, some IT roles may be on the verge of being displaced. Jobs within IT operations that face the highest risk of automation are those associated with routine operational tasks. Here, we’ll look at six roles at risk.
1. Routine System Administrators
AI’s automation capabilities may impact traditional system administrators responsible for routine tasks such as software updates, maintenance, and troubleshooting. Advanced AI systems can efficiently handle these routine administrative functions, freeing up human resources to focus on more complex and strategic aspects of IT management.
As AI-driven systems become adept at identifying and resolving common issues, routine system administrators may need to upskill and transition into roles that leverage their expertise in managing complex IT environments, collaborating with AI systems for optimal performance.
2. Help Desk Support Personnel
AI-powered virtual assistants and chatbots can now handle routine and frequently encountered IT support issues. Thus, frequently asked questions (FAQs), basic troubleshooting, and ticket resolutions can now be automated. This lessens the need for traditional help desk support for routine and basic queries.
While AI can handle more generic issues, IT support professionals may switch to more specialized and complex problem-solving. Doing this can strengthen their ability to handle unique and challenging technical scenarios.
3. Data Entry Specialists
Automating data entry tasks is another area where AI technologies make significant inroads. AI algorithms can swiftly and accurately process and input vast amounts of data, minimizing errors associated with manual data entry.
Consequently, roles solely focused on data entry may diminish, urging professionals to transition into roles where they harness their analytical skills to interpret and derive insights from the data processed by AI systems.
4. Basic Network Administrators
AI-driven tools monitor network performance, identify potential issues, and even autonomously optimize configurations. Basic network administrators who primarily handle routine tasks related to network management may see a shift in their roles.
As AI takes on more monitoring and optimization responsibilities, network administrators may need to develop expertise in advanced networking concepts and cybersecurity or focus on strategic planning to ensure the network aligns with organizational goals.
5. Manual Software Testers
The software testing landscape is transforming with the advent of AI-driven testing tools and frameworks. AI can execute repetitive and routine test scenarios more efficiently than manual testers, reducing the need for human intervention in certain testing processes.
Manual software testers may need to adapt by upskilling in areas such as automated testing and AI-based testing methodologies or transitioning into roles that require a more strategic approach to quality assurance.
6. Entry-Level Data Analysts
Entry-level data analysis roles that involve basic data reporting and analysis may be impacted by AI technologies capable of automating such tasks. AI algorithms can swiftly analyze large datasets, identify patterns, and generate insights without requiring extensive human involvement in routine analysis.
These professionals might need to evolve their skill sets towards more advanced data analytics and machine learning or specialize in interpreting complex analytical outputs generated by AI systems.
The Future is Here: 5 New AI Opportunities
There are growth opportunities in AI, not just displacements. Here are six jobs that may grow from consistent AI adoption.
1. AI Instructors
Soon, there will be a growing demand for AI instructors for humans, not AI. As AI becomes more prevalent in contemporary workplaces, organizations will require AI instructors to develop comprehensive training programs. These programs will empower employees with the skills and knowledge to utilize AI tools and technologies effectively.
2. AI Prompt Engineer
Due to the rise of generative AI, a novel position has emerged, emphasizing text creation rather than coding. Organizations are actively seeking AI prompt engineers to expedite the integration of AI technologies.
Collaborating with cross-functional teams, their responsibilities encompass various natural language processing tasks, such as optimizing prompts to enhance the performance of extensive language models. Additionally, they engage in code and design review processes.
Related Reading: 2024 and Beyond: 8 Ways to Foster Generative AI Proficiency in 2024
3. AI Personality Designer
Within the dynamic realm of AI, a potential new position might surface—the AI personality designer. This role involves shaping compelling personalities for AI entities. These professionals will enhance AI interactions by leveraging human psychology and cultural insights, imbuing them with a more human-like quality.
This transformation aims to elevate AI beyond mere tools, creating a more meaningful digital companion.
4. AI Security Engineer
AI empowers individuals to create without bounds, limited only by their imaginations. Nevertheless, like any tool, AI poses risks when in the hands of malicious actors. The proliferation of new malware, viruses, targeted spam, and phishing attacks leveraging AI is rising.
In response, the role of an AI security engineer becomes indispensable within every organization. Their crucial responsibility is to fortify defenses against the malevolent applications of AI.
5. AI Prediction Analyzer
As AI progresses, there is a potential for it to democratize accurate predictions at a lower cost. As algorithms assume the role of prediction, human leadership becomes essential for making informed judgments and decisions based on the predictions generated by AI models. This shift may give rise to novel roles, particularly in ethics and psychology.
Related Reading: Insights From the BLS Jobs Report: 5 Lessons From 2023
AI Can Lead to Growth Opportunities
IT professionals whose jobs may be displaced can leverage this shift as an opportunity for professional growth. By upskilling in areas such as advanced analytics, AI integration, and strategic IT planning, professionals can position themselves at the forefront of the AI era.
To navigate this transforming tech landscape, individuals must rely on their ability to adapt, learn, and proactively embrace the harmonious relationship between AI and human expertise.
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1 “Generative AI and the Future of Work in America.” McKinsey & Company, 26 Jul. 2023, www.mckinsey.com/mgi/our-research/generative-ai-and-the-future-of-work-in-america.
2 Kochhar, Rakesh. “Which U.S. Workers Are More Exposed to AI on Their Jobs?” Pew Research Center, 26 Jul. 2023, www.pewresearch.org/social-trends/2023/07/26/which-u-s-workers-are-more-exposed-to-ai-on-their-jobs/.
3 “The Economic Potential of Generative AI: The Next Productivity Frontier.” McKinsey & Company, 14 Jun. 2023, www.mckinsey.com/capabilities/mckinsey-digital/our-insights/the-economic-potential-of-generative-ai-the-next-productivity-frontier#introduction.