The cloud job market: A golden opportunity for IT pros

With the market heating up for cloud computing talent, many are rushing to learn more and updating their résumés -- and a few are lying

We're seeing a lot of strategic and well-publicized hires in the cloud computing world these days, such as Cisco Systems grabbing up cloud computing mainstay and former Sun Microsystems executive Lew Tucker to oversee its cloud computing initiatives. But most of the brokering of cloud computing talent is done behind the scenes. Most companies are considering or actually moving to cloud computing, and they're seeking their own experts to make the move. Can you cash in?

However, there are far too many positions chasing far too few qualified candidates these days, and that's causing some organizations to hire less-than-qualified people. It's also causing the cost of those people to go way up. I'm interrupted daily by a headhunter looking for "cloud people," offering executive-level comp packages for very technical and tactical gigs. Who says unemployment is still a problem?

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So how do you take advantage of this spike in need for cloud computing ninjas?

First, read all you can get your hands on. With the hype raging around cloud computing, there are actually only a handful of books that do a good job teaching about the cloud. Make sure to purchase books that work through the requirements and the architecture first, and then learn specific cloud computing technologies. You need a good context. Also, read all of the better cloud blogs: Having current knowledge is key these days.

Second, learn by doing. One of the great things about cloud computing is that the services are often free for a trial period. Even if there is a cost, it's nominal. So get that Google App Engine account or play around with Amazon Web Services to see how this stuff actually works. Build a few prototypes to undertand the skills along with the concepts.

Finally, don't "cloudwash" yourself. Many people seeking to take advantage of the need for cloud computing people are "cloudwashing" their résumés to make themselves seem more relevant. This is pretty transparent to anybody in the know, and it nearly guarantees your stuff tossed will be tossed in the trash. Instead, focus on relevant, real skills and knowledge. Most employers understand this is new stuff, and it shouldn't count against you if you don't have two decades of cloud computing experience. After all, who does?

This article, "The cloud job market: A golden opportunity for IT pros," originally appeared at InfoWorld.com. Read more of David Linthicum's Cloud Computing blog and follow the latest developments in cloud computing at InfoWorld.com.

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