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How to Not Automate Yourself Out of a Job

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In the past year, the proliferation of continuous integration in the enterprise sector has led to a growing demand for automation from sysadmins in the realms of cloud computing. Whether this be writing Ansible Playbooks to automatically provision entire server farms or even simple Bash scripts to shave 0.1 second from a frequent task.

Ansible, Chef, Vagrant, and countless other buzzwords of the past year have played a key role in this shift (especially with the DevOps pandemic creeping into larger, more mature businesses) and now it's becoming seemingly achievable to automate a sysadmin's entire workload in a near-desperate attempt to let issues fix themselves whilst the sysadmins spend their days watching films from their hammocks.

SysAdmins have better things to worry about

Of course, in the real world (or at least mine) things don't quite work out this way. Some of the major concerns include “But won't I automate myself out of my job?” and “If I document it, then anyone can do it. What will they need me for?”
Firstly, the workload for sysadmins is ever-growing and a sysadmin who can automate their job is now hot property, opening up doors to the new, exciting projects. 

Secondly, when a business is downsizing and they have to let someone go, they're not going to choose the person which automates and documents their workflow – these people multiply the efficiency of the team, contributing tools which allow the team to `do more with less`.

Automation is your friend, not your enemy

This isn't about replacing people with robots, but about having the people which are able to control those robots...Even if we are a few years away from spending our working days in a hammock while the machines do all the work.

The real answer is; make yourself as replaceable as possible and automate yourself out of your job. Once you can be replaced, you can automate yourself into the better and more exciting jobs.

 

 

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