How to enhance your career with cloud computing

Take these steps to enhance your cloud experience -- thus, making yourself more valuable and your business work better

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Many practitioners in IT are ill-prepared for the continued emergence of cloud computing. Although this ignorance was almost cute in 2010, it will be career-limiting this year.

At its core, cloud computing, despite being hyped to death in 2010, has been largely misunderstood in terms of it true value to the enterprise and how IT needs to approach it. This needs to change. I have a few suggestions on how you can use cloud computing to enhance your career.

[ Get the no-nonsense explanations and advice you need to take real advantage of cloud computing in InfoWorld editors' 21-page Cloud Computing Deep Dive PDF special report. | Stay up on the cloud with InfoWorld's Cloud Computing Report newsletter. ]

First, focus on education. I'm talking about cloud basics, such as the difference between infrastructure, software, and platform services, as well as when and where to use each. Much of the tech coverage has been a mile wide and an inch deep on the cloud basics. However, there are many good books on cloud computing, including mine, that have much more substance and practical advice. Also, make sure you check out InfoWorld's Cloud Computing Deep Dive, which has an excerpt of my book. While educating yourself is obvious advice, it's the single element that causes confusion around cloud adoption.

Next, create a cloud computing strategy. Creating a cloud computing strategy not only makes you look up to date and proactive, it also enhances the fundamentals around your IT planning. How? By marrying the use of the cloud with all aspects of IT resources, including providing business cases, road maps, and budgets. But watch out -- these resources are political footballs in many enterprises. Make sure you use this strategizing as an opportunity to work and play well with others.

Finally, encourage experimentation. This means creating an infrastructure-as-a-service or platform-as-a-service prototype to better understand the values that cloud computing can -- and can't -- bring. Make sure you dial information from this experimentation back into your planning.

This article, "How to enhance your career with cloud computing," 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.