10 IT jobs robots will do in the future

In the ever-forward march of progress, the often repeated tale of the Industrial Revolution was that farmers lost work when machines came into practice. Many researchers are predicting we’re in a revolution of our own – one that involves artificial intelligence and automation.

When it comes to robots taking over our jobs, some people are in the camp that they’ll phase out human workers entirely, ultimately leading to a detrimental job loss issue. Another camp is that AI will be beneficial. In a 2017 PwC survey, 46% of people believed that AI will end up making some jobs obsolete. A majority are in that latter camp, where they believed AI will be good for humanity.

And just what jobs do they believe will be phased out? Sixty-three percent believed AI will tackle the complex issues surrounding modern societies, while 53% said AI will help us lead more fulfilling lives. All in all, most people seem to be of the opinion that AI will run in the background, while humans will take more active, decision-making roles in the workplace.

But what does this mean for the future of IT? We’ve already seen AI-based threat-monitoring systems – such as Mayhem that’s on display at the Smithsonian this summer – win competitions and perform better than leading cybersecurity software on the market right now. These systems may seem like a long way off, but technology is an ever-moving industry with new innovations every day. It’s likely that Mayhem and AI programs like it will be integrated into the cybersecurity infrastructure of tomorrow’s companies.

So, again, what does that mean for your job security? Well, here’s a list of the 10 IT jobs most likely to be replaced by robots, compiled by Cynthia Harvey who’s been in the industry for more than 15 years:

  1. Helpdesk technicians. Companies already have a program in place to intercept user questions and direct callers to the proper department on phone directories. As these programs develop and grow, it’s likely the helpdesk operators you have will be replaced as mediators between the software and the techs. It’s also likely that your users might dislike getting a machine instead of another person – after all, it’s why they chase techs down rather than put in IT support tickets.
  2. System administrators or sysadmins. Sysadmins already rely on automation to get through some of the more mundane tasks of server maintenance, such as tracking software updates. It’s likely these roles won’t be entirely phased out, but will be better augmented with AI tools as they’re developed, as it’s already a position that works well when combined with automating software.
  3. Network administrator. Similar to the sysadmin, a network administrator makes sure the network is running smoothly for users. The role makes sure equipment is operational, like routers, switches and gateways. It’s also a role that’s suited for working alongside AI systems rather than being replaced fully by them, especially in terms of network security.
  4. Storage administrators. Already a rare job title – it’s not recognized by the Bureau of Labor Statistics – storage administrators look after a company’s physical hardware, such as the SSDs and hard drives of user laptops. It’s likely this job title has already been merged with another IT pro’s role, and its future outlook is to tell maintenance software what to do with a piece of equipment.
  5. Quality assurance. Responsible for making sure the user-facing interfaces and site launches are running without bugs, quality assurance techs are primarily outsourced. There are programs that can assist with quality testing of features and sites, and as time goes on these programs are that more likely to become sophisticated, potentially backed by AI or run as another part of a broader AI system.
  6. Project manager. The person in charge of your future projects and goal tracking? Might be Alexa, or another program like her. The home-based software systems produced by Google and Amazon are remarkable at keeping users on track of schedules. With a bit more resources and power behind the scenes, it’s not unlikely that project managers of the future will look very different, with on-screen reminders for meetings and budget projections calculated by a computer.
  7. Data analyst. Big Data is a trend that’s not likely to go away, as more sources to analyze become available with each year. And as more data points flood into the data lake, it’s becoming harder and harder for humans to manage the job on their own. Many companies have already turned to processing software in order to make sense of its customers’ trends and internal predictions. In a surprise twist, AI isn’t eliminating or even integrating with an already existing role, so much as creating demand for a role that didn’t exist a couple years ago. Data scientists are likely to grow in the years to come.
  8. Database administrator. In theory, a machine could do what database administrators do, which is everything databases. They deploy, configure, optimize, monitor, manage, troubleshoot and fine tune companies’ databases, and yet they do this all on their own, for the most part, without strong software help. Unlike the other job roles, it’s a long-term prediction that a program could do what a database administrator does, except there’s nothing quite like it on the market… yet.
  9. Security administrator. Everybody wants a good security administrator on board, someone with cyborg-like capabilities, able to match hackers’ machines and botnets with machines and botnets of their own. In light of the recent swell of ransomware attacks, companies aren’t looking to get rid of information security pros anytime soon. Already paid nearly a $100k per year on average, these pros are likely to see a hot demand for their positions in the coming years, and will most likely be working alongside AI-based systems to get the job done.
  10. Software developer. Companies like Microsoft and researchers at the University of Cambridge are already researching ways to develop an AI that can learn and write code on its own. On the market, there’s already a line of products that offer software assistance for no-code or low-code products that allow smaller companies to build apps with ease. While it’s another long-term prediction, it’s likely software development will be phased out by the very software it’s been tasked to produce.