IDC consulting has produced a cloud-based worker study for Microsoft, and the focus is on how new skill sets are still not prevalent enough in the workforce. More cloud-ready, if you will, workers are needed to fill many positions as businesses continue to shift to the cloud.

Job Growth

A similar study was conducted last year by IDC, also for Microsoft, on how many jobs the cloud will help produce. The numbers are impressive, but now that we know there is a huge demand for cloud-based workers, it seems those fully trained people are in short supply.

One of the biggest hurdles to proper skill adoption is simply that many workers fail to grasp the full relationship between business activities and the supporting technologies. Despite the fact there are already 1.7 million vacant cloud-related jobs right now, companies are not filling them quickly, the study found.

Additionally, cloud computing will generate nearly 14 million new cloud computing jobs by 2015, the 2012 study found, so companies have to prepare to both hire up and train capable staff.

No Area of IT Safe from the Cloud

Cloud-related functions will impact management, project and program managers, business analysts, application developers and IT systems operations among others. No sector of business is safe. It's not a gloomy prospect, it's just one companies should try to get a handle on before diving into their next cloud project.

Within those sections, the most jobs available will be in project and program management, IT systems and operations and management. Finding applicants with the right mix of expertise, training or certification is the biggest problem for IT managers, the study found.

While these qualifications are the most important, potential is the most important criterion, the study found.

Because relatively few IT pros are experienced with cloud, appropriate training and certifications will play an essential role in preparing IT professionals for the evolving IT organization." -- IDC, Cloud Skills Gap Survey

Certified workers are doubly beneficial, the study found, because they represent meaningful and robust skill sets that are very valuable. This is true in every major cloud function examined: development, deployment, management, support, storage and security. In fact, for every certified worker in a given technology a company had, the whole team improved performance.


The relationship between cloud and other business processes is as important as knowing the specific technology being used.

By 2015, there may be as many as 7 million cloud computing jobs available. That means there will be a 26 percent annual growth rate for cloud-ready workers by 2015. Most of that growth will occur outside of the US, but even within the modestly growing IT job sector, cloud-related positions are growing fast. More than 50 percent of the businesses surveyed said they thought cloud computing was a high priority.

Unlike IT skill shortages in the past, solving this skills gap is extremely challenging, given that cloud brings a new set of skills, which haven’t been needed in the past," Cushing Anderson, program vice president, IDC said in a statement. "There is no one-size-fits-all set of criteria for jobs in cloud computing. Therefore, training and certification is essential for preparing prospective job candidates to work in cloud-related jobs.”