Cloud computing has emerged as the single biggest differentiator driving business growth for enterprises. Organizations that are able to optimize their cloud strategy are making landfall gains over others. Surveys by Rackspace and the University of California, Berkeley, revealed the impact of cloud services, with 66% of the organizations polled reporting significant savings by moving to the cloud. Over 62% also reported the savings had given them sufficient legroom for reinvesting into the business. 

In 2013, Microsoft pegged the economic benefit of cloud migration at an impressive $400 billion, sparking a wave of cloud initiatives across the world that has shown no signs of dying down.

In fact, experts opine the only barrier to more rapid expansion of the cloud sector is a poorly developed human capital market.

The Cloud Skills Crisis 

For most enterprises, a successful cloud strategy relies on hiring the right talent to plan and drive cloud transformation initiatives. Unfortunately, the job market has failed to keep pace with the demands of the industry. A lack of qualified candidates has placed a severe strain on the existing workforce, while IT leaders point to the shrinking pool of experienced cloud engineers as the reason for losing competitive edge and market relevance.

By IDC’s 2012 estimates, nearly 1.7 million cloud computing vacancies went unfilled owing to a mismatch between industry needs and available talent. 

A complex set of challenges confronts hiring managers and decision-makers recruiting for the unique needs of cloud infrastructure. To shed more light on this problem and how enterprises are coping, we’ve put together a list of cloud hiring trends in 2016.

Need for Cloud Specialists

The general consensus is that broad-based skills training in cloud technologies is simply not valuable anymore. With the increasing complexity of cloud deployments, enterprises are hiring specialist professionals whose advanced expertise and narrow skillset can greatly compress the gestation period on cloud projects.

Hiring for a Multi-Cloud Environment

Nearly 80% of all organizations operate in a multi-cloud environment. In a multi-cloud IT framework, IaaS clouds like AWS and Azure coexist with SaaS platforms like Salesforce and SAP. Investing in candidates with practical exposure to multiple cloud platforms is seen as a way to keep cloud teams agile and streamlined.

Managerial Acumen and Keen Business Understanding

In enterprises undergoing a digital transformation, cloud deployment spans multiple business units. Cloud proponents within organizations are expected to articulate and justify business value to multiple stakeholders. This calls for a sound understanding of organizational structure and the interplay between departments.

In addition, cloud teams are responsible for aligning tech investment in cloud technologies with business outcomes. 

As a result, managers hiring for cloud jobs find that professionals who understand the business value of cloud are more valuable than specialists with only technical knowledge.

Emphasis on DevOps

Development talent with cloud-based release management knowhow also feature strongly in enterprise recruitment shortlists. With the lines between development and operations blurred at large enterprises, organizations are staffing their teams with DevOps engineers comfortable with the entire CI-CD spectrum.

Hiring for Scale

Effective scalability is one of the key characteristics of any cloud implementation. Cloud hiring for senior positions has focused on talent that has demonstrated experience in architecting at scale. Many cloud failures are a result of inexperienced development teams that struggle to deliver at scale.

‘Locking-In’ Cloud Talent

Enterprises anticipating a move to the cloud in the near future have tended to hire and fill positions up and down the hierarchy in advance. This is driven by the need to ‘lock-in’ talent for key positions before demand outstrips supply and prices soar.

At its core, cloud computing represents a fundamental reconfiguration of the relationship between business and IT. Inherently disruptive, cloud-enablement is a complex phenomenon, and presents significant hiring challenges to staffing departments at large enterprises. It is unlikely that these and other hiring challenges faced by decision-makers at cloud-enabled enterprises will ebb away anytime soon.