"Cloud-related skills represent virtually all the growth opportunities in IT employment worldwide and demand for cloud-related positions will grow by 26 percent annually through 2015."
Jennifer Warnick, news and feature writer for Microsoft, wrote these words in 2013. Two years later, the demand persists, but a skill shortage looms.
Skills Shortage and the Associated Cost
The report observed the skill shortages as one of the main issues impeding cloud adoption among enterprises. The dearth of qualified cloud-related skills to fill the expected vacancies continues. The cost of filling the void either by training or acquiring specialist will be gigantic and may even compel organizations to adopt cheaper methodologies.
In such scenarios, how do enterprises, start-ups and independent software vendors manage cost and cloud skills at the same time?
Tackling the Shortage
I had the opportunity to speak with David Linthicum, senior vice president of Cloud Technology Partners about his views on tackling the cloud skills shortage.
Sharma: What strategy should enterprises adopt to manage the shortage of cloud computing talent?
Linthicum: Companies can do a few things to manage the shortage of cloud computing talent, including paying the market for the right people. Companies are a bit taken back by uncertainties like: How much do good cloud architects and cloud developers make these days?
If they are worth the money, I would suggest you pay it. The alternative is less skilled people who make major mistakes and can cost you millions. Which path is cheaper? Pay what people are worth to the company.
Sharma: Can training be an alternative?
Linthicum: Make sure you are providing opportunities for training within the company, including courses on cloud architecture, DevOps, as well as AWS, Microsoft and Google cloud-specific training. The better people in the company will take advantage of training opportunities, and as their market value goes up, make sure to adjust salaries as well to keep them. It is actually much cheaper than hiring new and unknown cloud resources.
Sharma: Should companies engage consultants?
Linthicum: If you use consultants, make sure to engage with those firms that provide mentoring rather than not sharing knowledge. They should teach as well as provide services, and thus leave behind employees that are much more knowledgeable around the proper use of cloud-based resources.
Sharma: What specific skills are lacking in the cloud area?
Linthicum: The skills I would list would include:
- Cloud Computing Architect
- AWS developers
- AWS admin
- Cloud-based Java
- AWS-based database DBAs
- Big Data Systems Design
- Data Scientist
Padma Krishnan, consultant at Trigent Software, shared her views on how to start with cloud adoption and innovate at the same time. Her thoughts:
Companies can move in-house applications like attendance tracking, leave management, appraisals, etc. onto the cloud. These low security/routine applications will provide employees and IT staff a chance to learn and migrate real world applications.”
Easing in can help staff to adjust before making a full-scale leap into the Cloud. It will be interesting to see if the cloud skill shortage is resolved in 2015.