The pace of technological innovation continues to get faster, and many businesses are having a hard time finding the right talent to keep up.
This is evident in the ongoing shortage of talented cloud engineers and architects needed to maintain and manage a variety of popular cloud platforms. It’s something known as “the cloud skills gap,” which was the topic of our most recent #cloudchat.
We were joined by Rackspace CTO John Engates, Azure evangelist Kent Kingery, and other cloud experts, including Intermedia’s Nicole Scalese, Cybric’s CTO Mike Kail, Integral Partners’ Kayne McGladrey and Bluelock’s Diana Nolting. It was one of the liveliest chats to date. We covered the following questions:
- How can IT pros address the cloud skills gap?
- Where do you see the biggest need for cloud skills: Networking? Security? Management? Containers?
- Whose responsibility is it to fill this gap? Academia? Industry? Associations?
- What role do you see managed services playing in closing the skills gap?
- How will things like machine learning and Artificial Intelligence influence the skills situation?
When it comes to addressing the cloud skills gap, the general consensus from the group was to always encourage a state of continuous learning. The nature of tech is that it’s always evolving. Diana Nolting said it’s incredibly important to be aware of the changing landscape and to identify the new areas to dig into.
A1: Being in tech is about continuous learning – so being aware of the changing landscape and ID-ing what new to dig into is key #cloudchat
— Diana Nolting (@DianaNolting) July 27, 2017
John Engates advised that there’s nothing like getting your hands dirty to acquire a new skill. “Learn by doing. Roll up your sleeves and build something on the cloud. That’s how Rackers learn best and my advice for others,” Engates tweeted.
A1. Learn by doing. Roll up your sleeves and build something on the cloud. That's how Rackers learn best and my advice for others #cloudchat
— John Engates (@jengates) July 27, 2017
While the group said that networking, security, management and containers were all important skills — and very much needed — security seemed to take top billing in this discussion. In particular, Engates pointed out that security expertise is applicable to both cloud and on-prem environments as well.
A2. Security is def near top of the list because it applies to all clouds and on premises environments too. #CloudChat
— John Engates (@jengates) July 27, 2017
Others saw the need for the soft skill of communication to be in the mix. Ed Featherston, a VP principal architect at Cloud Technology Partners, was able to put it succinctly by saying all the aforementioned skills are important, “plus understanding the biz [sic] goals and be able to translate [them] to the tech.”
a2: all of the above, plus understanding the biz goals and be able to translate to the tech #cloudchat
— Ed Featherston (@efeatherston) July 27, 2017
But when it came to whose responsibility it was to fill this gap, there were widely varying opinions. Some felt that academia has been made irrelevant while others felt it was an important venue for developing critical thinking, but maybe not be best place to pick up the current tech skillset.
A3. Not academia. And associations can help industry. So my answer – the industry!#CloudChat
— Christopher Steffen (@CloudSecChris) July 27, 2017
3 1/2 Academia should teach students to be inquisitive and to continuously question and want to learn more. #cloudchat
— Kayne McGladrey (@kaynemcgladrey) July 27, 2017
Regardless of where the education should come from — academia or industry — there was a large consensus that the responsibility to evolve should lie on the individual to pursue opportunities and sharpen their skills.
A3: it's up to individuals to keep their skills evolving continuously. Cultural Inertia is not healthy #cloudchat
— mike d. kail (@mdkail) July 27, 2017
If you find yourself in a cloud skills deficit, reach out to our cloud experts at Rackspace. We have expertise across the world’s leading clouds, VMware and managed hosting to help you focus less on your infrastructure and more on your business.
Be sure to join our next #cloudchat on Thursday, August 3 at 11:00 a.m. Central Time, where the topic will be whether or not to keep IT in-house. And be sure to check out our Twitter Moment that we curated from last weeks’ #cloudchat below!