Hoard cloud talent now -- while you can still get it

There's a sharp increase in demand for cloud computing skills, so buying talent in advance of your needs is a good strategy

Demand for cloud-skilled IT workers continues to outstrip the supply, and the demand is only growing. As I've written, people who have both traditional skills and IT skills will be the most valuable -- something a recent CIO.com article bears out.

And getting talent is made harder due to several realities in the tech industry.

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Here are some of the inhibitors to getting cloud talent in the current market:

  • Cloud providers do a poor job of providing generalized cloud computing skills. They typically focus only on their technology, which shouldn't be surprising. However, the majority of enterprises use many clouds, so cloud professionals need to understand most of them.
  • Certification programs are far too general. We all know the differences between IaaS, SaaS, and PaaS. The deeper skills and knowledge are more desirable these days, but are not what the certifications cover.
  • Enterprises, even service providers, are mis-hiring. They end up hiring those that lack the required talent, which will become a systemic problem that they will have to address later -- and painfully.

To avoid these issues, I suggest you buy ahead of your need. This means creating and funding new positions now in support of cloud strategy, architecture, implementation, and operations.

Although most enterprises won't like the idea of a "pre-spending" exercise, the reality is that it will take you three to six months to find the right people. So waiting until you have a concrete need is too late. This is a strategic move. If you believe that cloud computing is the near-term and long-term direction for enterprise IT, you need the strategic and tactical skills to support that migration.

It should be obvious that the demand for cloud talent will increase next year, so the number of qualified candidates will quickly diminish. If you make the effort to hire before then, you could have most of your staff in place -- and even trained -- while everyone else is scrambling to hire. This strategy would provide a huge advantage in the marketplace. Hoarding is not as bad as it sounds.

This article, "Hoard cloud talent now -- while you can still get it," originally appeared at InfoWorld.com. Read more of David Linthicum's Cloud Computing blog and track the latest developments in cloud computing at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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