20 August 2014

Mindset and Skills

Several Bodies, Forum and Communities are arguing that SDN and Virtualization (e.g., NFV) will be two of the key enabling technologies for future networks and services scenarios, even towards the so-called 5G. A wider and wider adoption of IT resources (processing and storage) and software applications (e.g., implementing virtualized network functions) will accelerate the pace of innovation (as it is doing continuously in the IT domains), will reduce costs and will create the conditions for the development of new ICT business ecosystems.

A question is: what are the jobs and the right skills we need to face this evolution ?

It is likely the this IT-zation towards 5G will bring an increase of “management complexity” (the reverse side of greater flexibility and dynamicity) of said infrastructures (in fact virtualization is bringing to a deeper integration of IT and Networks systems on one side, and the Networks with the Terminals on the other side). In order to tame such “complexity” – or better to extract simplicity out of it - it will be necessary, first of all, introducing automated/autonomic operations (e.g., with cognitive, learning methods and systems). A wider adoption of Open Source Software is also expected. 

In my opinion, in order to face said challenges, there will be a need to acquire systemic mindset and to develop/improve the following skills and know how:
  1. ability of integrating know how coming from both the IT and Network domains; in the past these two areas grew almost independently, with “client-server” relationships;
  2. Industrial Mathematics in order to design and develop systems and methods (e.g., cognitive algorithms, machine learning, autonomic solutions) capable of automating processes; I would say more than the Software it's “Mathematics that will eat the Networks”;
  3. “mastering” software (which it is likely to be mainly Open Source) for developing, customizing (and even making testing for performance and validation) of a plethora of SDN or NFV pieces of applications;
  4. understanding how handling/correlating the huge amount of data coming from the Network and serive Platforms (e.g., not only apps data but also alarms, nodes states, etc): this includes also skills on Big Data analytics;
  5. Cybersecurity and Privacy: in fact IT-zation will exacerbate the security and privacy issues.
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