Automation Gunning for Tech Jobs (And That’s a Good Thing!)

As artificial intelligence (A.I.), machine learning, and automation increasingly enter the strategic planning of many companies, many tech pros are wondering if their jobs are at risk. Via a new survey from Nintex, we now have a better idea of how automation may change or eliminate tech-related jobs.

Of the ‘decision makers’ on automation (CEOs, project managers, and other executive-level staff), 71 percent say automation will affect up to one-fifth of the positions at their companies. It’s important to note that this isn’t specific to the technology world; the study spans several industries.

Furthermore, 71 percent of companies in this study report making hires specific to the “digital transformation” to automation; 67 percent of these “digital transformation” hires were for the IT department. Customer service was second with 48 percent, and finance ranked third with 38 percent.

Companies also say 50 percent of digital transformation hires are project managers, while 46 percent are strategists and consultants.

Most companies believe that IT departments can benefit from automating processes, and not just because of the boosted hiring related to automating workflows and platforms. A separate Nintex study shows ‘troubleshooting’ is the most widely reported ‘broken’ IT function; another, ‘password resets,’ ranked fifth. Automation could potentially ease many of these issues; imagine a machine-learning app ‘taught’ to reset passwords and tell Wanda in HR there’s a critical security patch to be installed.

The Risk of Automation

Other studies have suggested that a significant percentage of jobs are ultimately at risk of automation. Those numbers have provoked many different groups to react. For example, one union has already begun taking swipes at Amazon’s Go stores for automating most flesh-and-blood employees from front-of-store operations.

As we’ve cautioned before, automation will cost jobs as we know them, but jobs may also evolve in response. Coming back to the IT department and security, tech pros don’t want to go through the kabuki dance of password changes any more than other employees; if automation can help reduce time spent on menial tasks across an organization, that’s great.

We’ve also got some time before machines take over. Nintex’s study shows that a lot of people are trying to steer this proverbial ship (a nearly even mix of CEOs, CTOs, CIOs, Design Officers, CMOs, and Customer Experience Officers), but a vast swath of employees don’t know what a digital transformation is, much less whether their company has a plan for one.