There's been a lot of talk about the Cloud and jobs lately. Microsoft and SAP both recently released reports claiming that Cloud computing would generate millions of new jobs in the coming years. These jobs are expected to be mostly in Cloud companies or generated as a result of cost savings driven by Cloud technologies. But what will happen to jobs in IT departments around the country?
Some analysts and experts talk about the Cloud as if it will be the end of IT departments and as businesses everywhere race to outsource their computing needs. I don't think this is an accurate assessment. I see Cloud developments in enterprise software as shifting the IT skill set rather than eliminating the department altogether. I see five new skills that IT professionals need to develop to stay ahead of the Cloud skills shift.
- Learn the Language of Business - One of the big changes brought on by Cloud computing is the need to interface with the C-Suite to communicate how Cloud technologies will impact C-level priorities. These days, IT professionals can't simply possess technical know-how and operate independent from the rest of the business. It's no imperative that IT professionals know how to communicate technology needs and benefits to a C-Suite that has varying levels of technical expertise. For instance, it may be necessary to explain security how a Cloud application will remain just as secure as an on-premise application.
- Focus on Coding and Development - Because the Cloud--and straightforward development networks like Ruby--greatly simplify application deployment and development, there's a growing need for IT professionals that can code, develop and deploy an application. Since there is a current absence of next-gen development talent, this presents an opportunity for the IT community. However, taking advantage of this opportunity will require learning popular programming languages such as PHP, Ruby, JAVA or .NET.
- Gain Expertise in Cloud Integration Technologies - In addition to understanding how to develop Cloud applications, IT professionals need to understand how to connect them and manage information flow. IT professionals should be familiar with third-party Cloud-based integration services such as Boomi and Informatica. Additionally, it's important to know integration appliances such as Cast Iron. When these tools are not enough, the IT department will be expected to build custom integrations using SOAP, RESTful APIs and custom integration servers.
- Become A Mobile Security Expert - The proliferation of smartphones creates a significant need for IT professionals that understand how to manage mobile security. While the industry is leaning toward OAuth certification standards, there is no accepted standard for managing mobile security. This means that IT professionals will be expected to stay on the cusp of emerging security technologies to manage permissions and access from work and personal mobile devices.
- Obtain a Cloud Certification from One or More Providers - The last area that I believe the IT community should focus on vetting their Cloud skill set. While it's not a particular skill, certifications carry weight in the IT world. There are many providers currently offering certification. Amazon, Salesforce, Rackspace, CompTia and others all offer varying levels of Cloud certifications.
What do you think? What skills do IT professionals need to develop in order to stay relevant in the Cloud era? Please leave me a comment with your thoughts.