Demand for these positions and skills signals a major shift in the entire cloud computing landscape, CompTIA's Robinson says. The need for cloud migration assessments, API knowledge and integration skills point to a focus on how cloud computing affects not just single departments or technology projects, but the entire business, he says.
"The overarching emphasis is on the connection between the technology and business. The tech team isn't just responsible for choosing tech (cloud or otherwise) for one particular department or project, but for an entire line-of-business. IT professionals have to be able to think 'big picture,' strategically, and to see how the cloud impacts many aspects of the company," Robinson says.
"It's a paradigm shift like those that happened with mobile technology, or even the PC revolution," he says. "Early adopters who've been using cloud technology for five or six years now, their top challenge used to be integration. But now their top challenge is changing company policy to adapt to the new paradigm. This isn't so much a technology decision but a business model discussion," Robinson says.
How to Build Cloud Skills
There are a number of available professional certifications, too, both vendor-specific and vendor neutral. CompTIA offers a vendor-neutral Cloud Essentials certification program that, when completed, will show that you understand cloud computing from both a business and technical perspective, and that you have the skills to help an organization move to and/or govern cloud deployments.
There are vendor-sponsored certification programs from IBM and Microsoft, as well as vendor-neutral, topic-specific programs from organizations like the Cloud Security Alliance, which offers a Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge (CCSK) designation for graduates.
Cloud provider Rackspace also offers a vendor-neutral curriculum called CloudU and Open source services provider Red Hat announced a Cloud certification program earlier this month at VMworld and Dell is offering a government-focused cloud program.
Even as the cloud industry matures, CompTIA's Robinson says, the technology is nowhere near the end of its lifecycle. There always will be a need for experts to help companies move to the cloud for the first time as well as perform migration assessments and integration, he says.
The need for traditional, on-site solutions experts will continue to be strong. However, as the cloud becomes more mainstream, IT professionals with both cloud and traditional data center skills will be in even greater demand, and will certainly have an advantage.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.