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Why Cloud Skills are in High Demand

By March 15, 2022Announcements

Cloud computing, Kubernetes, containers, microservices – even if you do not work directly in the technology sector, there’s a good chance you have heard these terms more and more often in recent years. The most recent Open Source Jobs Report found that 61% of organizations increased their use of cloud technologies last year, and that cloud skills are in higher demand than any other area of technology. While this may be unsurprising to many, some out there do not understand why these skills are in such high demand, and what we can do to address the shortage of qualified talent.

What actually is the cloud?

Wikipedia defines cloud computing as “the on-demand availability of computer system resources, especially data storage (cloud storage) and computing power, without direct active management by the user.” This is a somewhat complicated way of saying that when an organization moves a process or application to the cloud, it runs on someone else’s hardware, which could be located anywhere in the world. 

Traditionally, companies had to run their own data centers as a core part of their IT infrastructure. For companies that are not actually technology companies, but rely on technology for their business, this could be complicated to manage. The rise of cloud providers has enabled companies to essentially outsource their data centers, letting the providers who are experts manage the hardware, while the companies only have to worry about their software and applications. This not only reduces complexity, but also has led to reduced costs in most cases.

Why has demand for cloud skills increased?

There are several factors that are influencing the demand for cloud computing skills. One is the prevalence of startups and new companies that are cloud native from their inception. To succeed, these companies need a talent pool with strong cloud skills to launch and scale their businesses. Additionally, the more folks who adopt cloud for their organizations, the more cloud computing providers need skilled employees to service those customers. 

While both of these trends are significant, the biggest reason cloud demand has skyrocketed is digital transformation activities. Digital transformation essentially involves upgrading your organization to the latest in technology, which today means running as much as possible in the cloud. So many companies have massive amounts of technical debt, including legacy applications, that they cannot abandon; lifting and shifting this all into the cloud requires time, money, and expertise though. 

A perfect storm has developed, resulting in established organizations that need cloud talent to drive their digital transformation activities competing with new, cloud native organizations for the same limited talent pool. 

How can my organization source enough talent to meet our cloud goals?

Traditionally, when there is a tight market for a particular technology skill, we have seen companies that can afford to offer higher wages do so. “Acquihire” activities take place where a company buys out another company for the primary purpose of acquiring the talent it has on staff. Other companies choose to delay projects, or outsource them to consultants. The reality of the situation today though is that any of these solutions are only stopgaps; no one, no matter how big or well funded, can hire their way out of the cloud skills shortage.

Employers need to evaluate the talent they already have to begin with. Companies that are going through major digital transformation projects are likely going to have teams with significant experience and skills in technologies that will be phased out. They should take this opportunity to train these individuals in the skills they will need to possess to manage the new modern technology stack being implemented. This not only saves having to recruit, but instills loyalty as these individuals see their employer investing in their professional development.

Training existing employees may not be enough though. Some of them may look to leave anyway, and even if they all stay that may be insufficient to manage the new technology stack. Companies should absolutely advertise for positions and try to hire relevant talent, but when that also falls short – as it inevitably will for many organizations – they should consider hiring under qualified individuals and also putting them through necessary skills training. In many cases this will help develop employees who have strong feelings of loyalty to the company from the very beginning, and enables employers to target skills gaps that may be especially difficult to recruit for. 

A great option to consider is bootcamps. These structured training programs can be completed relatively quickly and cover the most important skills necessary for a particular role. Linux Foundation Training & Certification offers several bootcamps covering cloud engineering, cloud native development, and DevOps, which can be good starting points for teams. We also can customize programs to help address skills gaps in an organization. Those interested in corporate training options can learn more here.

I’m interested in a cloud career; what should I do to get started?

For those who are interested in pursuing a career in the in demand field of cloud computing, there are options to get started. With 92% of hiring managers in the most recent Open Source Jobs Report stating they are experiencing difficulty finding enough qualified candidates, those who take the time to gain these skills and the certifications to verify them through industry-respected certifications will find there are a plethora of opportunities out there.

One resource to explore is our Cloud Career Roadmap, which outlines the steps and skills needed to start a successful career in cloud computing. From there, explore our free introductory training courses, which provide the fundamentals and can help aspiring IT pros confirm they are interested in a particular topic before investing in more advanced training. 

For those who know they want to work in cloud computing and want a structured learning program, we offer a Cloud Engineer Bootcamp for complete newbies, an Advanced Cloud Engineer Bootcamp for professionals who have worked in IT but not in cloud specifically, and a new Cloud Native Developer Bootcamp for those who want to learn to develop applications that run in the cloud. To help get more folks started, we are offering 30% off each of these bootcamps through March 22, 2022.

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