Will automation (in conjunction with the cloud) eventually wipe out the majority of sysadmin and datacenter jobs? That seems to be a running concern among tech professionals who work with IT infrastructure. Over the past several years, the combination of cloud-based tools and increasingly efficient on-premises software has reduced the number of people necessary to run even the largest datacenters. Nor does that technological evolution show any signs of slowing: for example, Oracle announced this week that its latest automated database (dubbed “Oracle 18c”) is capable of patching itself without needing to go offline. "There is no pilot error anymore, because there is no pilot," Oracle CTO and co-founder Larry Ellison told a keynote audience at this year’s Oracle OpenWorld conference. "Therefore, we can guarantee an availability time of 99.95 percent. That's less than 30 minutes a year of planned or unplanned downtime." He also took several swipes at AWS, stating that Oracle’s cloud products will lead the market in cost savings. Fifteen years ago, an e-commerce firm that needed to rapidly scale might have its tech pros rush out and purchase as many servers as possible. It would need the staff to manage the software running on those servers (and to pray that the whole system would stay online during busy periods). Now, pretty much any firm can reserve the necessary capacity with the cloud-computing vendor of their choice, and adjust according to market and internal needs. As a concept, that’s incredibly freeing: picture all the small businesses that grew more efficiently thanks to judicious use of AWS instances. But it also smells of trouble to those sysadmins and other tech pros tasked with managing complicated in-house systems. How do tech pros evolve in the face of automation and the cloud? Here are some skills to embrace.