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Saturday, 4 June 2016

More Cloud Training, More Cloud Skills

Okay, just about everyone is convinced at this point — cloud computing is a good thing that can provide tremendous business value, if applied properly and smartly. The question is, who is going to make this all happen? Organizations are relying on information technology managers and professionals, to a large extent, of course. However, many IT people say they aren’t receiving enough training or support to move their organizations into this new computing realm.
That’s the takeaway of a recent survey of 1,000 IT professionals, conducted by ScienceLogic. The survey finds 50 percent of organizations will spend more on IT in 2014, investing heavily in virtualization and cloud infrastructure. At the same time, half of the respondents participating in cloud initiatives within their organizations say they need more education on the technology — their current skillsets do not adequately prepare them to do their jobs well in the coming year.
Skills shortages are already proving to be a show-stopper for many cloud efforts. A new survey of 286 federal managers by Accenture, for example, finds only 10 percent of U.S. federal agencies have been able to migrate significant portions of their IT portfolios to the cloud, despite the government’s aggressive “Cloud First” policy. The reason for this lag — not enough skills in the cloud arena. More than two thirds of respondents said their agencies lack the necessary skilled staff to execute its cloud strategy and 31 percent said they would need to hire at least one new employee. About half of survey respondents (45 percent) said training is necessary to develop those skills, estimating that cost between $25,000 and $50,000 per employee.
What kinds of cloud skills are in demand? At a high level, organizations need professionals who can work closely with the business to build their cloud expertise. Some key areas, as identified in a Microsoft white paper on critical cloud skills, include the following:
Business liaison: “Move skills up the stack in the decision process. Hone expertise to the business from within IT. Determine whether to focus in-house or off-premise, define options whether the organization decides to stay on-premise or moves to the cloud.”
Data center manager: “Reposition data center skills toward the hosted data center. Enhance automation skills. Work in standardized environments and with standardized applications as an option.”
Security specialist: “Help businesses move core business processes and data securely to private, public, or hybrid cloud solutions. undefinedStay abreast of new security models and technologies, such as data protection skills, privacy standards, securing message integrity (encryption, digital signing and malware protection), federated identity management, authentication methods, and auditing.”
Software architect: “Serve as a link between the organization’s technical and business staff. Design and build complex distributed systems that exist both outside and inside an enterprise and the cloud. Understand how to design and construct multi-tenant and virtualized systems that can manage thousands of simultaneous users and isolate higher levels of the stack from physical component failures.”
What are organizations asking for at this time? An unscientific perusal of listings at the site finds the following positions and requirements being sought, which provides some clues as to the specific areas of technical training needed:

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Cloud solution architect (IT services company): Needs “extensive computer  science and systems background including large-scale distributed systems, operating systems, networking, databases, and virtualization.” Specific skills: Open Stack, Java, C++, XML, SOAP, JSON, Web services.

Cloud integration engineer (financial services branch location):  “Build out of a new Amazon EC2 environment….  responsible for the build, deployment and troubleshooting of an AWS cloud environment along with helping define the continuous delivery process.” Specific skills:  Amazon Web Services EC2, Puppet.

Senior cloud engineer (construction materials supplier): “Implementation and management, blueprint creation for end-to-end infrastructure provisioning, and service catalog administration. Implement Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) cloud platforms.”   Specific skills: VMWare, OpenStack, Amazon Web Services, lifecycle management, release management methodologies, Microsoft Windows 2003/2008/2012 server.

Cloud developer (medical products manufacturer):  “Extend and maintain the existing cloud infrastructure to provide customers with a growing set of capacities in the areas of 3D/2D data management, image data processing, data fusion, streamlined workflows, heterogeneous system integrations, and  business operations.”  Specific skills: Amazon Web Services (AWS), Python programming, Linux administration, Django, RESTful services and API development.

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