Eric D. Schabell: Cloud Native Predictions 2024 - Stress, Careers, and Costs

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Cloud Native Predictions 2024 - Stress, Careers, and Costs

As the year 2023 winds down, there is time for reflection and looking back. I've done that every year on this blog with year in review articles. This year I thought I might take all the new learnings around cloud native observability, add in some insights from all the events I attended related to observability, and try to predict what the biggest changes might be for 2024.

In this article I plan to lay out three top predictions based on my experiences over 2023 in the cloud native domain, with a big focus on the observability arena. This has been my first complete year focused on these topics and the change in technologies I've been focusing on up to now meant I could approach this with zero bias. I just researched, then went hands-on with open source projects mostly found in the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) domain, and went on the road to events to put an ear to the ground. 

While many predictions you find out in the wild tend to be about the next big technology breakthrough or about the expanded use of an emerging technology in larger organizations, this time around I've found myself thinking about this in a slightly different way.

Let's take a look at my top three predictions and the thoughts behind them for 2024.

Inside I think everyone cringes a bit when asked to produce their thoughts and predictions on the new year. You just can't win with these things and committing to them ensures you will be told long into the future how wrong you were!

Now on to my top three predictions for 2024.

1. Focus on cloud native burn-out

The number one topic of conversation in the cloud native observability domain in 2023 has been, without a doubt, burn-out. Every role, from Sight Reliability Engineers (SREs), DevOps, engineers, developers, and managing any part of the cloud native engineering experience within an organization. They all resonated with this being the number one theme out there. 

Where does this come from you might ask? 

According to research in a 2023 Cloud Native Observability Report over 500 engineers and developers were surveyed and here are a few of the results:

  • they are spending 10 hours on average, per week, trying to triage and understand incidents, that's a quarter of their 40 hour work week
  • 88% reporting amount of time spent on issues negatively impacts them and their careers
  • 39% admitting they are frequently stressed out
  • 22% said they want to quit

It looks like the issues surrounding the use of cloud native solutions, managing and maintaining that infrastructure, all will continue to expand on the stress, pressure, and resulting impact on cloud native resources across the globe and in all kinds of organizations. 

My prediction is that the attention this topic got in 2023, which was primarily focused towards the on-call roles, will expand and deepen into all areas where organizations are trying to grow their cloud native footprints. In 2024 we will hear more about burn-out related stress, hear more ideas on how to solve it, and see it become one of the biggest topics of conversation at events, online, and at the coffee machine.

2. More career movement

The above mentioned points of contention in the first prediction make this last prediction less staggering. A quick look at IT roles and the retention rates across all organizations and you will see that it's a rather high number of developers, engineers, DevOps, SREs and more that are changing employers every year. 

This is not to say that in 2024 there will be massive layoffs. It's more about the levels of stress, burn-out, and pressures that come with cloud native organizations. According to research posted by Sterling in late 2022, the tech turnover rate was at 13.2%, exceeding all other industries that had an average of 10.5%. LinkedIn research found other sources in their survey that pushed that turnover rate in tech to 18.3%.

Either number you chose, this is about cloud native technical staff having roles that are filled with days of frustrations, stress, and problems. They will hit that final wall in 2024 and determine that there is no way to be happy and engaged in their current organizations. My prediction is that a surge of career movement, over 25% of current tech roles will take the plunge and try to find fulfillment in now roles, new
organizations and take on new opportunities. 

3. Cloud native cost focus

From its initial kickoff in early 2019, to its entry into the Linux Foundation in 2020, and into the future, the FinOps Foundation has become vital to all cloud native and cloud using organizations. All through 2022 and 2023 we've seen organizations beginning to realize that they need to get value for every dollar spent on cloud native services. 

Along these lines the FinOps Foundation has become the central gathering place for practitioners in the FinOps role across all kinds of organizations. They support them with training, certifications, and are close to releasing The FinOps Cost and Usage Specification (FOCUS) v1.0, which aligns with the open source community approach to this fairly new space. 

My prediction is that the continued growth seen in the field of FinOps in 2023 in cloud native organizations will evolve in 2024 into a permanent value-add for more and more organizations. CIOs, CFOs, and CTOs are going to lean more in 2024 on the FinOps roles, processes, and education to manage their cloud native spend to ensure the value per dollar spent continues to have impact on their cloud native investments.

On to 2024

There you have my thoughts, or predictions, for what I feel are the impressions that 2023 left on me during my travels, conversations, and research into the cloud native and observability domains. Now it's time to roll on into the new year and see what 2024 brings for you and your organizations.

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