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Demand for cloud skills still outpaces supply of workers

Sharon Florentine | Sept. 20, 2013
Cloud technology is a 'must-have' for organisations building out or replacing their data center architecture, but there's still a major cloud skills gap that's impeding faster adoption and growth

If you're an IT pro looking to either polish your existing cloud skills or add new expertise to your resume, the time is now as demand for cloud skills continues to outpace the supply of available workers.

A joint study released last November from Microsoft and IDC revealed that there were 1.7 million cloud-related jobs that went unfilled in 2012, and that over the next few years, millions more will remain open.

The study, Climate Change: Cloud's Impact on IT Organizations and Staffing, echoes findings from CompTIA's 4th Annual Cloud Computing Trends Report, which found that hiring managers experience the most difficulty in finding employees with higher-level cloud skills such as building migration plans or assessing the risk of a cloud transition.

These findings are indicative of cloud computing's maturation as a technology, says CompTIA's Director of Industry Analysis Carolyn April. "We're seeing cloud technology move beyond the realm of curiosity, beyond early experimentation, and into a second- or third-stage technology evolution," she says.

"Up until this year, we'd seen a gradual increase in adoption and acceptance, but this year we saw a huge spike in adoption, and that's a game-changer for business," April says. As cloud computing becomes even more mainstream, the demand for the proper skills will continue to rise with it as companies seek to gain the benefits of this business model, she says.

What Cloud Skills Businesses Need
"At this point in the cloud technology evolution, firms have a diverse set of options to build out their architecture that includes both cloud tech and on-site solutions," says Seth Robinson, CompTIA's Director of Technology Analysis.

"The move to the cloud has gone well, and it is becoming a common part of building out or revamping architecture. We're seeing not just companies move to the cloud for the first time, but more and more secondary moves — migrating more applications, moving from one public cloud provider to another, from a public cloud to a private and vice versa," Robinson says.

Businesses, therefore, are focusing less on how to use cloud technology than on migration and deeper integration with existing enterprise systems, Robinson says, and are looking for talent with the skills to do so.

"Companies are looking for folks with the knowledge of how to integrate cloud solutions with existing, on-site systems," Robinson says. "Migration, integration, developer knowledge of different cloud providers' application programming interfaces (APIs), are all skills that are in high demand."

Howard Lee, architect of the talent sourcing solution Open Web, says that analyzing recruiter searches shows some clear trends, among them a demand for Amazon Web Services skills, open source, and DevOps engineers.

"There's definitely a vendor preference — experience working with Amazon Web Services is sought in nearly half of all searches," Lee says. "Open source, too, is hot; from Linux to configuration management systems like Chef and Puppet to programming languages like Python, Perl and Ruby. These fall into the category of 'cloud-adjacent' technologies," he says. Finally, demand for Development Operations engineers continues to grow.


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