Hear that? There’s a cloud computing skills shortage

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It’s hard to believe in a time when the world is so focused on certifications and education that there could be a shortage of any kind of worker. These days it seems you need an MBA (and a connection) to work even entry-level positions; and job competitions are rife with candidates whose education and certifications could rival the most obnoxious of email signatures. So why then is the IT world staring down the barrel of a cloud computing skills shortage?

Though lightening fast adoption rates of cloud technologies mean service-based cloud systems are multiplying like bunnies, many companies find themselves scrambling for architects with the cloud computing skills and (competence) to build, deploy and manage their software.

Why is this a problem?

Research suggests that over the next few years nearly all new start-ups will adopt cloud-based platforms. It’s cheaper, customizable and gives budding companies the flexibility they need to grow. According to an IDC White Paper commissioned by Microsoft, nearly 70% of businesses are “planning, implementing or using cloud computing, and more than 50 percent of businesses agree that cloud computing is a high priority”.

And the IT world better wake up because the 600 plus IT hiring managers interviewed globally for this survey revealed that “cloud-related skills represent virtually all the growth opportunities in IT employment worldwide and demand for cloud-related positions will grow by 26 percent annually through 2015”. Like next year, 2015. How cloud systems will be implemented if no one is qualified with the cloud computing skills to do the work I don’t know, but it sounds like a recipe for economic disaster to me.

What cloud computing skills are missing?

Global open cloud company, Rackspace, is also hip to the problem. And in March of this year they released the results of a comprehensive study of 1300 businesses using the cloud in the U.S. and U.K. The study conducted by the Manchester Business School and Vanson Bourne found nearly 70% of respondents were seeking to beef up their IT capacity to manage upcoming cloud computing deployments. Each of these companies is searching for that special lady (or man) who understands virtualization, knows how to create platform architecture; write deployment, monitoring and management scripts and can wrap it all up in a neat little deployment bow. You just can’t learn that in a weekend.

Survey participants also admitted that they were unsure about where find training and education resources that would sufficiently develop cloud computing skills and know-how for current and future staff. In fact, a whopping 56% of respondents put themselves in this category—and those are the ones who admitted it.

Knowledge is power

In response to the massive gap looming just years down the road, companies like Microsoft and Rackspace are offering external cloud computing skills building courses to newbies and IT veterans alike. Rackspace’s Open Cloud Academy seeks to “help turn the tide by offering highly sought after technical training to the public, bolstering the scarce pipeline and helping fill the countless number of roles in San Antonio and beyond.”

Microsoft is reaching out too, and has launched the Microsoft Virtual Academy for active professionals. They’ve also made significant changes to their cloud technology certifications.

To learn more about these reports and training options, visit the Rackspace or Microsoft websites.