AT&T cutting 80K jobs. Carriers are gung-ho for SDN/NFV because it will be more efficient. Tens of thousands of people will lose their jobs at telcos, cablecos, and suppliers. In the long run, the economy benefits from the increased productivity, as do shareholders. But many of those fired will never get a decent position again, especially older workers.
There are no easy answers. AT&T is paying for extensive employee retraining, hoping linemen can learn to be programmers for cloud computing. They donated $million to Georgia Tech's innovative fully accredited online Master's in Computer Science and are paying tuition for employees. Some will be able to make the change.
Tough competition from Huawei is more important. But the companies are listening when AT&T's new CTO Andre Fuetsch warns, "Those who don't make the pivot will face a really rough road. This is going to be a really rough road." Bill Smith estimates AT&T is now buying three times as much capacity per dollar invested as four years ago. They will spend fewer dollars, and telco suppliers know what is coming.
Most of the 80,00 planned job cuts T told the New York Times were coming will not be due to SDN. AT&T is telling wall street they will shut down landlines in half their territory and won't need linemen there. Using the web for customer contacts eliminates call center jobs.
Nick McKeown, Guru Parulkar, and a thousand others are building great software tools, but we also have to think about the people.
Migrant Mother, the photo above, was shot by Dorothea Lange on a government jobs program in 1935. From Wikipedia:
Florence Thompson with several of her children. The Library of Congress caption reads: "Destitute pea pickers in California. Mother of seven children. Age thirty-two. Nipomo, California." In the 1930s, the FSA employed several photographers to document the effects of the Great Depression on the population of America. Many of the photographs can also be seen as propaganda images to support the U.S. government's policy distributing support to the worst affected, poorer areas of the country. Lange's image of a supposed migrant pea picker, Florence Owens Thompson, and her family has become an icon of resilience in the face of adversity. However, it is not universally accepted that Florence Thompson was a migrant pea picker. In the book Photographing Farmworkers in California (Stanford University Press, 2004), author Richard Steven Street asserts that some scholars believe Lange's description of the print was "either vague or demonstrably inaccurate" and that Thompson was not a farmworker, but a Dust Bowl migrant. Nevertheless, if she was a "Dust Bowl migrant", she would have left a farm as most potential Dust Bowl migrants typically did and then began her life as such. Thus any potential inaccuracy is virtually irrelevant. The child to the viewer's right was Thompson's daughter, Katherine (later Katherine McIntosh), 4 years old (Leonard, Tom, "Woman whose plight defined Great Depression warns tragedy will happen again ", article, The Daily Telegraph, December 4, 2008) Lange took this photograph with a Graflex camera on large format (4"x5") negative film.