It has been predicted that everything in the future will be connected and “communicate” with one another. There is even a phrase for it – the Internet of Everything (IoE). The impact of these connections is all about improving connected intelligence: the speed of decision-making, innovation with process, products and services and driving sustainability, while also raising standards in healthcare, education and quality of life.


With a projected 25 billion connected devices by 2015 and 50 billion by 2020, how will networks, job roles, and the world as we know it change?

Every industry and company will have new opportunities to create smarter products and services, create more convenience for consumers and begin to bring work-life integration to a whole new level. Finance, manufacturing, retail, oil and gas and every industry you can think of will rise to new standards to be globally relevant and competitive as well as provide safer and more interesting environments to work within.

Career opportunities for new engineers and growth opportunities for existing engineers are vast. The networker’s view is expanding to include many new technologies, and the networker’s responsibilities are expanding to include many new duties. In the future, deployment and operational demands will be stabilized via automation. While devices, traffic, bandwidth, etc. all accelerate, automation enables teams to refocus time and effort in other areas.

Here are three critical areas that must accelerate with our networks:

  1. Automation: Making networks simpler to deploy, operate, and expand.
  2. Innovation: Enabling the ability to leverage new technologies and heighten the impact of IT-driven business improvements.
  3. Education: Providing for not only a deeper understanding of our networks but also a far broader view into our new outcomes that can be obtained when we connect the unconnected and empower our organizations to work together.

We know that technology transitions will change the skills that individuals need to support the networks of tomorrow.  Here’s how:

  • Changing job responsibilities – A greater focus on up-front architectural design, optimization of the entire networked environment and technology innovation that is matched to business transformation.
  • Changing technology mix – No longer is the networker focused on only network devices, services and management systems. Technology advancements and business demands are driving more of a systems view – spanning both the networking and computing infrastructures.
  • Changing networking solutions – Software Define Networking (SDN), Network Functions Virtualization (NFV), Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), Cloud, Internet of Things are all changing the face of networking. Technologies are changing. Tools are changing. Providers are changing. All represent an integration and management challenge to the networker of tomorrow.

How does a networker bring their company forward to participate and leverage these new trends for the business? How will this impact your career? People with fundamental networking experience will lead the transition because they are equipped with the knowledge to build the bridge from network infrastructure to the application environment. Application developers who are implementing SDN technologies, as well as those at the business application layer, will need a tighter grasp of the new world they operate in. We see many emerging roles in the future for IOE – Business Transformation specialists, Cloud brokers, Network Programmers, Data Scientists, Cyber Security becomes more pervasive and the networking career becomes much more specialized.

World Bank Studies estimate that over the next ten years there will be two million unfilled ICT-related jobs globally. To connect the unconnected, it is estimated that 220,000 new engineers are required every year from 2014-2022. IoE will create 600,000 more manufacturing jobs alone in the US to automate and analyze supply chain data over the network. It will require 300,000 new data analysts to bring intelligent decisions to big data. It will create a compelling need for networking cyber security specialists. The 2014 Cisco Annual Security Report indicates a shortage of more than a million security professionals across the globe in 2014. At the base and heart of all of this is the most important job – the Networking Engineer. This is the starting point for growing into these new and exciting jobs.

Watch this video for more information about changing roles and opportunities.

Check out the Cisco Learning Network for more information.

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Jeanne Beliveau-Dunn

Vice President and General Manager

Cisco Services