10 IT Infrastructure Skills You Should Master

Infrastructure is no longer static, immovable, or inflexible -- and neither should be an IT pro's skill set. Take a look at 10 of the hottest infrastructure skills that IT pros should be considering today.
Cloud Security
Software-Defined WANs
Cloud Service Broker
Next-Generation Firewalls (NGFWs)
Cloud-Managed Networking
Mobile Device Management (MDM)
Malware Sandboxing
Application Containers
Data Center Switching

Generally speaking, IT specializations are changing at a pace that's faster than ever before. Everyone -- from desktop support to developers and database administrators -- has had to adjust and to acquire new skills to keep up with business demands. But one area of IT that has historically been slower to adopt new technologies and skills was IT infrastructure. It used to be that for applications, data, and processes to change, they had to change within the rigid constraints of the IT infrastructure. Infrastructures such as private data centers were big, expensive, and incredibly inflexible. All of that is changing now.

Server and storage virtualization was the first true shift in IT infrastructure over the past decade that caused a dramatic shift in IT skillsets. The virtualization movement affected not only server and storage administrators, but also network engineers. Networks, server hardware, and virtualization platforms were suddenly designed and deployed to be more flexible than ever before. Brand-new server instances could be spun up in a matter of minutes -- as opposed to the traditional days or weeks.

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From that point on, there's been a fundamental shift in the way business viewed IT infrastructure. No longer was infrastructure seen as a series of static, hard-to-move components. Instead, infrastructure is now viewed as highly modular building blocks that can be easily moved and shifted as business needs change.

Since the time of the great virtualization shift, there have been numerous other IT infrastructure advancements that further its flexibility -- and thus make it more valuable to the organization. Things like cloud computing, software-defined networks (SDN), bring your own device (BYOD), and collaboration advances have all made their impact on IT infrastructure. And these technologies have also created new skills that administrators must learn to keep ahead in their field.

Here's a look at 10 of the hottest infrastructure skills that IT pros should be considering -- and possibly working toward acquiring. Some of these skills, such as cloud security and next-generation firewalls, are already in high demand. Others, like SDN and application containers, are only now beginning to gain popularity.

Check out which skills we think are -- or will be -- important for infrastructure professionals to learn. Then let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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