Guest Post By Sharon Florentine
Cloud computing continues to take the IT world by storm, and the current shortage of talent with cloud technology skill-sets offers a unique opportunity for job hunters. Those IT professionals with cloud knowledge and/or experience are being aggressively pursued, says ITWorld.com’s Beth Schultz.
If a company is going to embrace a cloud computing model, it’ll need IT professionals skilled in the following:
-Systems administration, with an emphasis on virtualization storage
-Services management and orchestration
-Business/IT alignment software-as-a-service (SaaS) management
-Master data management information security
-Data integrity and familiarity with existing cloud platforms (from Rackspace, Google and Microsoft, for example)
But as of yet, “cloud” probably won’t appear in a job title, says Schultz, since the cloud reaches into so many existing areas of a business.
That’s why it’s so important that, in addition to the hard technical skills, cloud professionals have a higher-level understanding of the business, be able to manipulate data and perform some analytics. It’s also important that cloud professionals be strong communicators who can explain the company’s vision and circumvent internal politics to achieve that goal.
But even if you’ve never been close to a cloud deployment in your life, there’s still opportunity. If you’re willing to enhance your skills and augment your knowledge, says InfoWorld.com’s David Linthicum, chances are good that you can land one of the many new cloud-related positions and further your career.
Many organizations aren’t looking to hire for new cloud computing positions — but are adding associated responsibilities to some existing titles. The key to moving up the ladder is education, education, education, Linthicum says, especially the basics: the difference between infrastructure, software, and platform services, as well as when and where to use each. He adds that while much of the mainstream tech media coverage has been “a mile wide and an inch deep on the cloud basics,” it’s wise to keep digging and gain a general understanding of the technology and its applications.
Traditional universities, colleges and technical schools are just beginning to catch up to the cloud technology adoption curve and reflect that in their curriculum. Unless you’re lucky enough to live close to a higher education institution that’s offering such classes, at least for now, you’ll have to search out information and teach yourself.
Finally, Linthicum said, it can be extremely helpful to create a working infrastructure-as-a-service or platform-as-a-service prototype to better understand the workings, interactions and tech requirements of a cloud deployment, as well as experience first-hand the value that cloud computing can — and can’t — bring.
Smart cloud technology vendors like Rackspace are filling the void with programs like CloudU, a vendor-neutral, cloud education curriculum developed by an industry analyst, Ben Kepes. Those who complete the program receive a certificate and are considered to have a standardized level of knowledge; clients are assured that you’ve demonstrated your mastery of cloud computing technology.
If you’re already employed in such a company and looking to supplement your expertise, create a cloud computing strategy. Doing so makes you look cutting-edge and proactive, and can streamline your IT planning by integrating the cloud with ongoing strategies, road maps and budgets.
You may already have a basic set of skills in place for cloud computing, but it’s up to you to take advantage of the window of opportunity to increase awareness, gain knowledge and enhance your expertise.
Sharon Florentine is a freelance writer who covers everything from data center technology to holistic veterinary care and occasionally blogs for Rackspace Hosting.