The demand for cloud skills continues to rise. Here at Leapest Marketplace, we are also seeing the growing popularity of the cloud learning solutions that helps to upskill the workforce in cloud computing. So I decided to reach out to 3 experts to get their take on what kind of essential cloud skills organizations need and how best IT pros can get up to speed with cloud computing. In this first of a three-part series, our experts give a deep dive into the relevant cloud skills they find most important today.

Note: Please check out the second post on the key barriers to building cloud skills and the third post on actionable tips on what to do about it.

Let’s meet our experts:

Mark O’Loughlin

MBA, Author, Speaker, Fellow ICS, Managing Director CCC, Owner Red Circle Strategies, Author, Keynote, Digital Strategist & Transformer

Kat Turner

Kat Turner

Education Portfolio Manager at ITSM Zone

Jean-Francois

Jean-François Bilodeau

Senior Technical Trainer at Web Age Solutions


The top cloud skills that IT pros need today

Mark O’Loughlin

Having skills is not the most important today — and definitely not as important as it used to be. Instead, organizations require staff to have the ability to acquire skills quickly.

The reason for this is quite simple: traditionally the rate of change in technology took longer to happen, longer to be acquired and longer to implement. Think about the industrial revolution of the past, and how long the technology of the day took to occur, took to be acquired and took to become obsolete. Long periods of time elapsed.

Today, the time from technology discovery to mainstream adoption is very short in comparison. So too is the time for the workforce and organisations to learn about these technological advancements, to acquire the necessary skills to work with these technological advancements and for the organisation to adapt to new ways of working.

If I do have to choose certain technological skills, I’d say that focusing on technology alone will not deliver digital success, digital innovation, or digital value — it will only deliver new technology, not business results. Upskill your organization with the appropriate range of digital skills which are business as well as technology-focused. The business outcome is key.

Kat Turner

Kat Turner

If someone is employed in an IT-based role then they will undoubtedly be working within one of the cloud-based service models, for example SaaS, PaaS, IaaS, and they will need to have a knowledge of the right service and deployment models for the organization, as well as the expertise to know how to choose the right cloud service provider.

A grounding in the concepts of cloud computing architectures, environments, and how the cloud can support business processes would be useful.  If they come from an ITSM background, then they would need to gain knowledge of managing service levels and service management principles within a cloud environment.

Often the main concern with the cloud surrounds security and compliance and this is due to the lack of knowledge around the way it works. Having an understanding of how data is stored with a cloud service provider and working with them to ensure that information is retained and accessed in the right way for the organization, is the first step in working towards a secure environment. Large cloud companies will be eager to work with the enterprise to build a cyber policy and enact upon it, but security should not solely lie with the cloud provider and the business should take its own steps to keep itself secure. Taking an active interest and gaining a comprehensive knowledge of GDPR legislation and regulation across the globe will ensure that you are up to speed with security and compliance concerns.

Cloud computing has changed the way in which many areas of IT have had to approach skills. Whether a professional wants to work in network engineering, network security, programming, development or other IT roles, these are all aligned to software and coding. Cloud Computing has changed the way software, coding and development roles are now operating and evolving.

Technical and business knowledge is important, but equally are skills grounded in communication, problem-solving, negotiation and strategy, as a role in cloud computing requires professionals to collaborate and make complex decisions on behalf of the business. To summarise, some of the main skills that IT professionals today are:

  • Knowledge of the most popular cloud platforms today such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google
  • Knowledge of cloud architectures, services and models and how to manage multi-cloud environments
  • Coding and data management skills related to a specific role and career progression
  • Cloud security, compliance and identity management
  • Certification and training courses to complement the practice
Jean-Francois

Jean-François Bilodeau

The skills necessary to migrate skills to cloud computing depend on the role of an IT professional.

System and Network Administrators:  Systems administrators need to re-skill themselves in operation software, infrastructure, platform and software as a service. As an organization is moving to the cloud, a systems administrator will be called on to implement a secure, agile, monitorable and automatable infrastructure that includes, among other things, networking, identity management, and deployment pipelines.

Database Administrators: Many organizations rely on monolithic relational databases managed by a team of database administrators. Moving to the cloud is a significant–but exciting–shift for database administrators. With the cloud, database administrators do not need to limit themselves to one or two types of databases. They can use the key-value stores, document stores, graph database or any number of data structures depending on the needs of an application. Database administrators will need to develop the necessary skills to develop, operate and monitor those databases.

Security Professionals: Security professionals should also expand their skills to the cloud. They will need to understand the division of responsibility between the business and the cloud provider. In highly regulated industries, a security professional will need to review the cloud vendor’s industry accreditations to ensure that solutions running on the cloud meet their regulatory requirements.

Developers: Even 10 years ago, machine learning, intelligent agents, natural language understanding and real-time image processing would have been out of reach to the majority of development teams. Now, those services are readily available. Programmers need to complement their existing skills to take advantage of the capability of the platform offered by cloud computing. By learning to use the unique resources and capabilities offered by the cloud, organizations are able to innovate and offer differentiators that keep them in pace with their competition–or even leap ahead of it.

Architects: To bring together a cohesive vision for the cloud, a solid architect is needed. The role of a cloud architect includes that of an enterprise architect plus more. A good cloud architect needs to be able to understand business strategy, cloud operation and the resources offered by their cloud vendor. Enterprise architects that are adopting a cloud architect role need a broad understanding of the different resources and capabilities of the cloud and map them to an agile solution that serves their business.

Tester: Developing and operating a cloud brings its own set of challenges. A good testing team is essential. Cloud vendors often have continuous integration and deployment resources. Testers will need to learn the basics of cloud operation so they may set up and run an automated test that integrates into CI/CD pipelines.

Business: Finally, the business itself needs to change and adapt to the cloud. To reap benefit from a migration to cloud computing, a business needs to develop DevOps skills. A DevOps engineer becomes essential to assist the business in developing the necessary culture, automation, lean processes, measurements and sharing of information.

We want to thank our three experts. Stay tuned for the next episode where they will explain the key obstacles to build cloud computing skills.