Until fairly recently, most infrastructure professionals typically learned one area of the data center extremely well and spent their entire careers refining that specialty. Someone might be a storage professional or a networking professional, but rarely did he or she need to know both. And some were hyper-specialized, perhaps focusing in on Cisco routers or Linux servers.
While employers are still posting jobs for these types of positions, many are starting to look for IT staff who have broad rather than deep knowledge. As trends like cloud computing, DevOps and containerization have become more prevalent, organizations need IT workers who understand it all: servers, storage, networking, virtualization, applications, security, and even the basics of how the business functions.
Scott Lowe, engineering architect at VMware, likes to refer to this type of well-rounded IT worker as a “full-stack engineer.” He knows the “full-stack” moniker is often used for developers who work on both front-end and back-end programming, but Lowe said he co-opted the term to describe infrastructure/applications engineers who are being forced to move out of the one area where they've worked.
[Read more about Scott Lowe's thoughts on "full stack engineers" on Network Computing, and catch Lowe's session at Interop ITX 2018 in May.]
Cynthia Harvey is a freelance writer and editor based in the Detroit area. She has been covering the technology industry for more than fifteen years. View Full Bio