How to find that scarce cloud talent

Want to hire people with cloud-specific skills or those who understand cloud architecture or security? Here are two secrets

You’re walking to your car from a major public cloud provider’s building that houses about 1,000 employees. You have an envelope on your windshield that looks like an invitation to a fancy wedding.

Upon opening it up, you find it’s an invitation to contact a recruiter who promises a $50,000 signing bonus, quick hiring, and primo perks. Best of all, the recruiter attached a $20 gift card for a major coffee chain for just considering the invitation. (I never feel guilty about taking those.) This is how you found out how much cloud skills are a seller’s market.

This is what I’ve run into lately, not in Silicon Valley where this kind of craziness goes on all the time, but in the Washington, D.C., area, New York, Austin, Boston, Miami, and other cities that do not traditionally have a Tier 1 technology vibe. All types of enterprises in all different verticals are looking to move to the cloud, and they all need people with talent and experience to make it happen—no matter where they are.

You might think many enterprises would supply training to build their own “cloud people,” but that path can take months and months, depending on the aptitudes of current IT staffers. Moreover, the existing systems are not going away anytime soon, and they require smart people who are dedicated to those systems, not just to the emerging cloud platforms.

The objective then becomes to hire outside of the company or to use consultants—or both. This means that the consulting firms are also seeking the same people you are, making the demand go up everywhere at the same time.

So, how do you find the talent? Here are two secrets I’m willing to share:

Meetups. They happen in most major cities. If the topic is related to cloud technology, make sure you’re there to meet people during the beer breaks.

These folks are willing to give up a weeknight at home watching Battle Bots to sit in a room with a hundred-plus like-minded cloud geeks to talk about the differences between serverless platforms from the three major cloud providers. These people are dedicated to the technology beyond work and are passionate about learning more. You’ll find that most recruiters have not figured out the local meetings; in some cases, they are not welcome.

Publish something. Do a podcast, post a blog, post a video on YouTube, … but do something that will gain interest from those who are interested in cloud computing. People who are willing to watch and comment on your posts are typically passionate about cloud computing–and knowledgeable enough to call you on something. Network with those people. You’ll usually find talent on the other end of those comments.

The fight for talent is under way right now. It’s the single biggest reason that enterprises can’t progress. Who would have thought that our ability to be creative and innovative around hiring would be more important than anything else we’re doing right now? It won’t be that way forever, but it will be the way things are for 2019 and 2020.

Copyright © 2018 IDG Communications, Inc.