Across the IT industry, CIOs, technology vendors and consultants agree that there is a serious shortage of cloud computing skills that threatens to hamper adoption. Whether it's software engineers who know how to develop applications for the cloud, resource planners who can estimate an enterprise's need for computing capacity, architects who can integrate services from different cloud vendors, or administrators who understand how to configure and support cloud-based services, a wide range of cloud-related skills are in great demand, and companies can't leverage the benefits of cloud computing without them.
To illustrate the scope of the skills shortage, a recent analysis of hiring trends from Wanted Analytics, a provider of recruiting data, quantifies that the demand for cloud skills far outstrips supply. The company counted more than 3,400 job ads for IT professionals that required cloud computing skills in February 2012, a 99% increase over February 2011.
"People who understand cloud operations and how to deploy cloud solutions are really sought after right now," says Greg Pierce, cloud strategy officer with consultancy TriBridge. "Talent is very difficult to find and very expensive."
Mark Thiele, executive vice president of data center technologies at Switch, a Las Vegas-based provider of data center and colocation facilities, says the organizations that are currently struggling the most with this skills shortage are the ones that are trying to support other companies and their cloud requirements. "All the hosting providers and small cloud startups and professional services organizations are cruising around the world trying to find anyone and everyone who can spell cloud," he says. "If you have successfully built and delivered any kind of cloud environment for someone and can put that on your resume, you can write your own ticket."
Indeed, without these cloud-savvy IT professionals, everyone suffers: the vendors, the consultants and their customers.
Look for Workers With Their Heads in the Cloud
CIOs need people--both internal staff and third-party providers--who can help them think through their cloud computing plans, develop business cases, determine what to move into the cloud, how to get it there, how to integrate it with on-premise systems, and how to secure it. The stakes for getting these plans right are high.