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Cloud ‘eliminating’ traditional IT

IDG New Service | May 11, 2011
System administrators in infrastructure support, particularly at risk.

"The ones that possess technical skills and experience in sales environments are mostly sought after, as they tend to be much attuned to the market, and can take advantage of the changes in business environments," said Joss. "These people might have held hybrid positions such as 'Solutions Architect,' who usually possess a strong mix of technical skills: sales, business and the technology delivery aspect."

In simple terms, cloud service providers often seek "technical sales people," otherwise known as "pre-sales engineers" with a truly hybrid role.

Skills mismatch

"It's hard to find people equipped with these skills in Hong Kong. In fact, it's also a global phenomenon," said Joss.

Technical skills do exist in Hong Kong, judging by how many IT people are technically certified. For instance, there are currently 20,000 CCIE (Certificate of Cisco Internet Expert) holders in Hong Kong -- one of the highest per capita in the world.

"But even with that, business skills are lacking. An example of such business skills is relationship management -- an interactive skill that requires a technical person to be effective at business and solutions level."

Tackling biz-IT skills drought

As vendors are busy repositioning themselves as cloud service providers, such as VCE, a joint venture between VMware, Cisco, and EMC, the cloud-associated skills such as Infrastructure-as-a-Service (laas), which comprises the full traditional set of skills in relation to storage, networking and security are being much sought after.

To address this skills drought, organizations tend to look internally and examine the existing skills sets within their enterprises, or seek them elsewhere by competing in the global human resource market.

"As for the vendors, they tend much to hire them from competitors -- often not a very creative way in seeking talents. They will also train people internally," Joss said.

"The key point is that the market in Hong Kong and elsewhere is candidate-driven. This means when you have a shortage of skills, generally it's the candidates that are taking the driver's seat with much bargaining power."

Advice for young IT pros

Recently, there have been a lot of talk of creating cloud computing-related jobs for young people. Below are some of Joss' advice for young IT professionals that attempt to ride well on the waves of cloud computing, and for experienced middle-level IT management who wish to reposition themselves as "cloud computing experts":

* IT professionals with about eight to 15 years of relevant experience will be in hot demand;

* For fresh graduates with two to three years of experience, stay ahead of the current technology trends and look out for traditional roles that are being relabeled as new, emerging trends, e.g., IaaS;


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