The Hollerith Machine, an early predecessor to the modern computer, was used to collect and tabulate data for the 1890 U.S. Census. By reading the holes in punch cards, this machine slashed the amount of time it took to perform such tasks and wouldn’t be replaced until the UNIVAC I was unveiled in the 1950s. More than 130 years later, the IT revolution sparked by this early data processing method—which in turn birthed the fields of data science and artificial intelligence (AI)—is once again revolutionizing the IT sector. 

We tend to take the presence of data science and AI in IT for granted, particularly when we access files from the cloud with a simple click of the mouse. The complex logistics required for storing and recalling this data from a distributed patchwork of data centers relies on these data and AI innovations. Data science and AI in IT also have greatly improved cyber security methods, IT management, and IT applications, while giving rise to the burgeoning field of DevOps

We’ll take a look at the growing importance of AI and data science in IT, and how they’re coming full-circle to support and drive one another in the 21st century and beyond. From its humble beginnings in the punch card era to today’s data-driven intelligent machines, data and AI are transforming the IT sector like never before. Of course, professionals looking to jumpstart their careers should pay close attention to these trends.

Data Science and AI in IT: Enabling the Cloud

Cloud computing generally refers to on-demand access to off-site computing power and data storage. Given the tremendous amount of infrastructure investment required for a robust, scalable cloud network, they’re typically handled by some of the world’s largest technology companies (e.g., Google, Amazon, and Microsoft). The concept is simple enough, but the means used to reliably and efficiently store and serve up this constantly fluctuating demand for data and computing power are quite complex.

While plenty has been written about the use of cloud computing to help professionals manipulate massive amounts of data, the inverse of this relationship is at least equally important. Being able to gather and interpret the demands on a cloud network, including regional data and other, more-granular observations, can help cloud providers ensure they have enough capacity and the proper coordination to serve customers. 

In today’s cloud-centric world, it’s equally important to consider the role of AI in IT. Machine learning, a cutting edge discipline within AI, provides tools that enable distributed systems to dynamically allocate computing and storage resources, scaling up and down to match changing workloads. If AI is the “brains” allowing this seamless allocation of resources, data science facilitates the gathering and interpretation of real-time data. 

Securing the Network with AI

Cybercrime costs companies millions in recovery, lost revenue, and damaged reputations (particularly when there is a breach of sensitive customer data). A cyber attack can even shutter a company’s doors for good. While there’s no silver bullet for protecting your organization, AI is increasingly being used for threat detection and response. Systems monitoring using AI can keep watch on potential vulnerabilities more efficiently and effectively than humans can.   

While nothing will completely replace humans in the realm of cyber security, the use of AI in IT security can help:

  • Filter out spam messages 
  • Detect fraudulent activity
  • Detect botnet attacks
  • Identify coding vulnerabilities
  • Create defensive software patches at first detection of an attack

It’s important to also point out that many open source AI tools used for network security are prone to hacking. This just illustrates the ongoing, back-and-forth battle between bad actors and IT security professionals. 

AI in IT Service Management

IT service management (ITSM) has also greatly benefited from advances in data science and AI. ITSM professionals typically spend much of their time responding to questions, concerns, and issues that employees and customers may have. Sometimes these are human errors, but it’s generally difficult for ITSM personnel to efficiently allocate their time and attention to where it’s needed the most. 

When ITSM is augmented with AI solutions, as is becoming increasingly common, ITSM professionals can better focus on bigger problems that require more of a personal touch. Machine learning tools, specifically, are able to respond to common errors and level-1 incidents in general by scanning inbound service request tickets. They also can automate certain, regular tasks that once took a major chunk of time out of their day. Best of all, today’s sophisticated machine learning technology is capable of evolving along with your organization and adapting to increasingly complex systems.

Learn How to Advance the Use of Data and AI in IT 

Data has certainly come a long way from the lowly punch card. There are seemingly countless applications of data science and AI, and these closely related disciplines are in high demand. Given this demand, the right training can provide solid job security and lucrative wages (well into the six figures for experienced professionals). Best of all, world class training opportunities with top instructors are available right at your fingertips. 

With its unique and proven applied learning approach—a blend of live, instructor-led online classrooms with self-paced instructional videos—Simpliearn offers a path to the future. You’ll also have access to hands-on workshops and capstone projects that provide real-life experience and the ability to showcase your skills to prospective employers. 

If you’d like to embark on an exciting career in data science and AI, in IT or any of the other opportunities these cutting edge technologies enable, check out the following Simplilearn programs:

The trend lines for the careers of the future are becoming clearer and clearer each day. If you want to be a part of it, the rest is up to you. 

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