When you look at cloud skills, it's more important to think about what's coming rather than what's already here. Why? Thousands of IT people will complete cloud certification programs this year. If you delay, the job market may be flooded by the time you're ready. That's not to say you won't find a market for your new skills, but the money and demand may be much different -- and not in a good way.
The best career tactic is to think ahead. Aim for where the market will be, and this is where you need to place your bets on learning and training. That way, you'll be at the front of the line, waiting for demand to emerge around your new skills. It's how to score the primo gigs.
What will be hot in 2017 and beyond? These are the three areas I anticipate.
Machine learning at cloud scale. Don't simply add machine learning to your résumé -- learn how to make machine learning work with huge amounts of data, which typically means public cloud deployments. Get smart about specific machine learning systems, such as Amazon Web Services, but also understand how things will work to find patterns in data sources that go well beyond a petabyte.
Cloud identity and access management (IAM) meets compliance. We all know IAM is usually the best approach to cloud security, but the added complexity of compliance needs to be addressed as well. IAM systems let you configure security, including policies and rules, to address the specific needs of legal compliance. This also covers the rules and regulations around health care, finance, and corporate governance.
Cloud operations and management. Although this might sound like a boring skill, it's going to be in high demand. I believe that more than 10 percent of workloads will be in the cloud by 2019, so this will be the single most important skill that enterprises will need. Learn to run clouds and applications in clouds; you'll make a ton of money.
Yes, markets are difficult to forecast. However, I'm confident these are safe bets you can place right now.