As businesses of every size push forward with cloud projects in 2018, the demand for cloud skills is accelerating. Public cloud adoption is expected to climb significantly and the IDC predict spending will reach £197 billion in just three years.
But as cutting-edge technologies, like machine learning, continue to reshape the job market the skills gap looms large across the industry. With over 350,000 specialists needed to help fill cloud roles there’s clearly a massive opportunity for professionals that can prove their skills.
Whether you’re taking your first steps into cloud or are aiming to increase your marketability, this is your opportunity to expand your cloud skill set in 2018.
Businesses are comfortable storing their data with public cloud providers. The idea that a company’s data is not secure in the cloud just isn’t true anymore.
Most companies simply cannot provide the same level of security expertise as the leading cloud providers. Microsoft, for example, plan to invest over $1 billion dollars annually on cyber security.
But businesses must still pay close attention to their cloud security. Cloud providers operate under the shared responsibility model, outlining the security responsibilities between vendor and business. In short, businesses cannot rely on their vendor to ensure the security of their data and services; their staff must also understand and work towards security.
That means it’s still crucial for IT professionals to possess an understanding of cloud security – even if the heavy lifting is performed by the cloud providers. To ensure their organisations are protected, professionals must learn how to utilise the security tools offered by the likes of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure.
And for professionals aiming to specialise their cloud security skills, there are a number of industry-standard qualifications available. Perhaps the most well-known is (ISC)2’s CCSP (Certified Cloud Security Professional) which builds on the knowledge taught through the popular CISSP certification.
Machine learning and AI
While machine learning, AI and big data may have just been seen as buzzwords for many businesses in the past, they’re now at the heart of an increasing number of IT projects.
Analyst firm IDC predicts explosive growth for machine learning and AI, with spend with increasing by 50% over the next three years. As a result, every major cloud vendor is now developing or expanding services that allow organisations to leverage these technologies in their applications.
The two largest cloud platforms, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure, both provide Machine Learning tools.
“These tools are easy to set up and there are plenty of tutorials available online. But to get valuable information out of them you’ll need strong data science skills,” says Mike Brown, Lead Cloud Instructor at Firebrand Training.
Microsoft is pushing ahead of the competition in data science training for professionals, creating the Professional Program for Data Science alongside a new certification – the MCSA Machine Learning that aligns to the expert-level MCSE: Data Management & Analytics certification.
Serverless architecture removes the need for developers to manage underlying infrastructure when they want to run or build an application.
“It’s the way that all new services should be designed,” says Brown. “The idea that applications should be deployed to a server or two is an old way of thinking.”
By adopting serverless architecture, developers can build services that are scalable and easier to patch or upgrade. This is often cheaper than designs that are based on servers.
Businesses were previously concerned about vendor lock-in when adopting serverless architecture. For example, if you’re using one cloud provider to host your serverless components, and they raise their prices, you could be “locked” into their service and forced to pay the higher fee.
Today, major cloud platforms use industry standard technologies and programming languages which means moving serverless applications from one vendor to another is no longer an obstacle.
Professionals can dive into learning serverless application development online but you’ll need to choose a platform first. If you favour AWS, consider following their Lambda tutorials and webinars to get started.
Cloud migration and multi-cloud deployment
As IDC’s report revealed, public cloud migration is accelerating and businesses need professionals knowledgeable in cloud to shift their apps and services.
Businesses that are struggling to scale resources to meet demand or are aiming to save time on menial tasks like database backup or maintenance will benefit from moving to the cloud.
But cloud migration isn’t a fast process and it’s by no means risk-free. Without skilled professionals, businesses risk downtime on critical applications and incorrect implementation could open them up to security vulnerabilities.
In the enterprise, multi-cloud deployments are increasingly common. Enterprises want the flexibility to choose different environments based on performance and cost. Because of this, professionals will want to consider expanding their skills across multiple platforms – particularly Azure, AWS and Google Cloud Platform.
“For me, automation is key to providing a cloud service for business. Auto-scaling, Infrastructure as code, automated monitoring and reporting all play a part in good cloud design,” says Brown.
“There’s currently a move to 3rd party services that allow us to automate across multiple platforms using the same tool set.”
Jenkins, Terraform and Chef are all popular tools that allow automation across multiple platforms and professionals aiming to increase their marketability should consider adding these skills to their learning path as soon as possible.
The key to marketability in cloud
The key to employability in today’s cloud jobs market is to gain cross-platform skills. If you’ve already achieved your MCSE Cloud Platform and Infrastructure certification, consider widening your skills to include certifications from AWS and Google Cloud Platform.
By transferring your knowledge between cloud platforms, you’ll diversify your skillset and boost your employability in 2018.
Editor's note: Once you've taken a look at the 2018 list, make sure to compare it with the 2017 list, which can be found here.
Interested in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and sharing their Cyber Security & Cloud use-cases? Attend the Cyber Security & Cloud Expo World Series events with upcoming shows in Silicon Valley, London and Amsterdam to learn more.