Isn’t it funny how quickly we get used to something that once was like a sparkly new gadget, but in no time it becomes something we take for granted and assume will always be there? Like Internet on airplanes—or anywhere for that matter. Do you remember when getting online away from the office meant going to a coffee shop and needing a paid account? But now we can be online just about anywhere, anytime. And we shrug our shoulders and forget just how amazing that is because something new is on the horizon and now we’re focused on that. That’s just how tech works. It changes quickly and we adapt and look forward to the next great innovation.
It has even happened to cloud computing. When cloud computing first started making headlines, it was the innovative new technology that would transform computing as we knew it, and boy did it make waves! Fast forward a few years and now cloud computing is the boring old norm, but with a twist. The cloud has evolved from being the new technology to being the driver of other new technologies. Emerging tech like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) would not be possible at scale without cloud computing as the enabler. Cloud computing makes these new technologies possible because they require loads of data and super-fast processing times on an as-needed basis.
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If you’ve been considering a career in cloud computing—or a career move up the ladder in cloud computing—take a look at a few of the emerging technologies made possible by the cloud. Can you picture yourself working in one of these areas?
AI gets smarter (or intelligent) by processing data to learn and adjust, and 70 percent of enterprises are expected to implement AI by the end of 2018. The more data the AI can process, the smarter it can be. In a world that’s generating data in volumes, we couldn’t even imagine 10 years ago, that takes a lot of computing power. Both the data and the need for computing power will only increase as more data is generated by driverless cars and IoT devices and plain old human usage of technology such as video. Cloud computing makes this possible by providing both the storage space and the power to do the computing as needed.
Because it enables the storage and processing of vast amounts of data, cloud computing also enables smart cities. Smart cities are municipalities using technology to do everything from regulating and monitoring utilities to the timing of traffic lights and the scheduling of the transit system. This wouldn’t be possible without the cloud. Even if cities aren’t deliberately set out to be “smart,” they will have to have some kind of digital infrastructure in the near future—and that will be provided by the cloud.
Driverless Cars and Trucks
In a similar way, cloud computing enables driverless—or autonomous—cars and trucks. Some of the new features we expect to come standard in our cars are already enabled by the cloud, such as our GPS devices and apps that let us know about traffic congestion. But for driverless cars and trucks, a constant feedback loop of data between the vehicle and the cloud must happen for the cars and trucks to safely navigate roads and situations.
The Internet of Things
And then there’s the explosive growth of the Internet of Things (IoT). Gartner predicts the number of IoT devices will reach 50 billion by 2020. Although the IoT is indisputably an emerging technology, one that generates and requires massive amounts of data and fast connectivity, we get into a kind of cycle when we talk about IoT and cloud computing. IoT needs cloud computing but it is also driving yet another new technology: edge computing. The challenge with IoT devices is a need for computing that’s closer to the source, and therefore the need for edge computing. So the cloud helps to make IoT possible which drives the need for edge…and it keeps evolving from there!
The Cloud Also Enables Innovation
In addition to enabling these big-picture technologies that can affect us all, cloud computing can also drive innovation and competitive advantage at the enterprise level by making it possible for organizations to develop and test products in new ways. One pundit says 90 percent of business models might be driven by cloud computing by the year 2020.
Is Your Future in the Cloud?
The above is only a quick rundown of a few of the ways cloud computing enables and even drives emerging technologies. For you as a prospective cloud professional, it’s obviously a fortuitous time to move into cloud computing…or to move up the ladder if you’re already there. The job demand is strong yet the pool of qualified candidates is small: 46 percent of firms see the skills gap growing primarily because 96 percent of workers lack advanced skills. And with these new technologies emerging, new jobs will be created every day: Cloud is the second biggest driver of demand for technology skills, and these cloud computing jobs pay very well: For proof, see this list of 12 cloud computing jobs that pay over $113,000 per year. The salary for a cloud architect averaged $142,000 in October 2018.
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We already have a disturbing lack of qualified cloud computing professionals, and the cloud’s role in enabling and driving emerging technologies will no doubt create even more jobs in the coming years. Make your career move into this field, and watch your career evolve right alongside the cloud.