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Steer your career to the cloud

Beth Schultz | Feb. 7, 2011
Dave DiMeo, service delivery network operations manager at Ford Motor has a mouthful of a title. And while the word "cloud" isn't part of it, it might as well be.

That's good news for IT staff members who want to establish themselves as cloud gurus, Villalba says. "A person will be more marketable when called a technical architect specializing in cloud computing. We'll keep the technical architect title, but add a specialty - server virtualization, cloud computing - with a hyphen."

At Concur Technologies, for example, you'll find plenty of cloud work under way but no cloud titles, says Drew Garner, director of architecture services for this Redmond, Wash., provider of on-demand employee spend management services. Over the last six months, he's overseen a four-person team of technical planners and project managers/designers that recently decided to move forward with a hosted private cloud.

As such, Garner says, "One of the product managers working for me has had to come up to speed with researching contracts, mostly from data center providers. Especially from an SLA standpoint, people have had to become mini lawyers."

Making a career in the cloud certainly entails more than growing your technical skills - though that is important, says Alex Zavgorodni, director of storage management at EmblemHealth.

"Technical skills will set the foundation for the IT team but the ongoing focus for cloud will be on project management, delivery capabilities and maturity, and an understanding of project life cycles," he says. "These will need to improve overall and solidify; we'll all fall short if we just focus on getting necessary technical skills to the people and calling it a day."

When enterprises progress into the cloud, leadership and communications skills are paramount, and a good understanding of and relationship with the business will be more important than ever, Villalba says. "If you're a technical architect, a network engineer or helpdesk support analyst working in the cloud space and if you're at a finance company, you need a good grounding in finance. If you're working at a healthcare company, you have to understand what drives healthcare and that business knowledge so you as technical specialist can make the right decisions for that company."

The good news, Linthicum says, is that cloud career development is getting due attention. Many enterprises are bringing in consultants for training, offering cloud courses on architecture and design and, sometimes, spending money on mentoring.

 

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