Cloud Computing: Benefits and Steps to Prepare your IT Team for the Cloud
It’s probably not a matter of “if” your organization will migrate to a cloud platform but when. And when that time comes, you must be prepared, whether you’re the manager ensuring you have trained IT staff or a member of that staff.
Sure, you’ve been hearing about cloud computing for a while now. But maybe it seems like a futuristic computing model that only the biggest brands can justify or a risky way to operate a critical IT infrastructure.
It’s neither. It’s the future.
If you have any doubts about the direction of IT toward cloud computing, these numbers from Forbes should convince you otherwise:
- Cloud computing is projected to increase to $162 billion by 2020 (from $67 billion in 2015).
- The worldwide public cloud services market is predicted to grow 18 percent year over year by the end of 2017, from $209.2 billion in 2016 to $246.8 billion in 2017.
- More than 50 percent of IT spending will be cloud-based by 2018.
- Of all software, services and technology spending, up to 70 percent will be cloud-based by 2020.
- Almost three-fourths (74 percent) of technical chief financial officers (CFOs) say that cloud computing will have the most measurable impact on their businesses in 2017.
Benefits of Cloud Computing
There are several reasons for migrating to the cloud, which is why we see these significant numbers when looking at predictions. With cloud computing, companies can save money, decrease staff, and become more agile and competitive. They are able to get new products to market faster, be more efficient, lower operational costs, decrease costs for IT and IT maintenance specifically, lower capital expenditures, and improve collaboration between departments.
However, this is not just a tangible shift from the physical mainframes you can touch and see to the virtual cloud computing you cannot. This shift will require IT teams to change as well. Does cloud computing do away with IT? Not at all. In the age of cloud computing, IT departments can become an integral part of the business rather than an enabler viewed as an obstacle or expense as in days past. There is an opportunity here to become a value-add to the business, but that change requires some new knowledge and companies are already looking for it.
Companies are Already Demanding These Skills
Even if your company isn’t there yet, cloud computing is here, and employers are looking for people trained for these jobs. In fact, LinkedIn reported that “cloud and distributed computing” topped the list of sought-after skills both in 2016 and in 2017. Dice reports that job listings for the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud platform increased by 76 percent between 2015 and 2016. In 2015, there were 3.9 million jobs affiliated with cloud computing in the U.S. alone.
And the money is there for those who are qualified for the jobs. BusinessInsider lists 12 jobs in cloud computing—all paying over $100,000.
Preparing for the Cloud
For IT departments, the switch to cloud computing requires not only a different skillset but a different mindset. It’s an IT paradigm shift, so much so that it has been suggested that we simply call it modern computing instead. Without in-house computer networks and servers to maintain and troubleshoot, your IT employees will need to focus their energy on tasks specific to cloud computing as well as business needs, such as working in collaboration with developers to improve time to market and responsiveness to internal and external needs.
Cloud computing jobs range from general to specific and include IT job titles you’re already familiar with, such as developers, engineers, systems administrators, and managers, but all with a cloud emphasis. Your IT folks will need to know cloud computing, in particular how to deploy and manage cloud solutions, and you’ll need people to fill the roles specific to cloud computing.
Required Cloud Computing Knowledge
In general, you should be aware of the major players in the cloud computing marketplace, so you can make sure the training your staff pursues aligns with the platform you’ll be working with. Three of the major public cloud players in the market today are:
- Amazon Web Services (AWS)
- Microsoft Azure
- Google Cloud
There are, of course, other contenders vying for lead positions in the marketplace as well as private cloud platforms, but a familiarity with the three big names listed above will give you a good start. Or, if your organization has already decided on one, training with Simplilearn can help to get you or your staff trained on one or more of these platforms.
You or your staff will also need to know DevOps, which brings together the software development side and the operational side to integrate what used to be two disparate teams. DevOps knowledge is required for cloud computing regardless of the platform you choose. Simplilearn offers courses in DevOps, including the DevOps Engineering Master’s Program, as well as a certificate program for AWS DevOps Architects.
Below are a few of the particular skillsets you might need to train for or expect from new hires, depending on the job. If you’re seeking new knowledge to prepare for a career in cloud computing, these are skills you might need or choose to focus on:
- Data management—With cloud computing, data storage is less of an issue because you’re no longer hosting that data in-house, but data access and management can become critical, especially if you’re still working with legacy systems while migrating to cloud computing.
- Cyber security—Although the vendor should own a lot of the responsibility for the security of your data, you’ll still need these skills, as data is conceivably more at risk in the cloud, and you are ultimately responsible.
- Task automation—Being able to automate tasks and processes is essential in a cloud environment, in part because of the sheer amount of data that organizations now manage. You’ll want staff trained in systems automation to make this happen.
No matter the cloud computing vendor your company chooses, no matter the organizational goals you hope to achieve, you’ll need to start with people who are trained in cloud computing essentials in order to make this migration a successful one from the start. Whether that means training existing staff through certifications and programs like those offered by Simplilearn or getting the training yourself as an investment in your own career so you can pursue one of the plentiful and lucrative jobs out there, the first step toward the cloud is in the direction of new knowledge and skills.
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