How enterprises can overcome the growing cloud skills shortage

The skills needed to implement and manage cloud services differ substantially from those needed for on-premises applications. This has created a major hurdle for businesses needing to innovate.

How enterprises can overcome the growing cloud skills shortage

Companies see modernization as a means to compete in an increasingly crowded business landscape. As a result, technologies that facilitate digital transformation are in high demand. Take databases, for example. More and more enterprises are looking to transition from legacy to cloud-based technologies in order to provide their customers with a seamless experience at global scale. Gartner predicts that 75% of all databases will migrate to the cloud by the end of 2022, with data and analytics capabilities driving this trend forward.

However, organizations are finding that the skills needed to implement and manage cloud services differ substantially from those needed for on-premises applications. This has created a major hurdle for organizations looking to deploy cloud-based technologies. While cloud deployments are a top priority for IT executives, a lack of technical skills remains the greatest barrier to adopting emerging, cloud-based technologies (e.g. databases, serverless, and machine learning). Against this backdrop, it makes sense that Google is training more than 40 million people to build cloud skills in order to help businesses implement cloud-based strategies.

The cloud skills shortage and its implications for businesses

The lack of cloud skills many companies are grappling with severely hinders cloud progress and prevents enterprises from quickly adopting new technologies. As a result, many organizations have to pull back, slow down, or completely pause digital transformation projects.

In this era of hyperconnectivity, the proliferation of data will only increase. Gartner found that the number of Internet of Things (IoT) devices is doubling every five years, with more than 15 billion IoT devices expected to connect to the enterprise infrastructure by 2029. In order for businesses to leverage tools like predictive analytics, cloud-based technologies are key. The cloud provides scalability and allows devops and IT to quickly collaborate with internal and external teams to develop innovative solutions. But with cloud architectures becoming increasingly complex, and the skills shortage stifling modernization progress, organizations face challenges migrating to the cloud and leveraging new and dynamic data to better compete on a global scale.

What does the skills shortage mean for IT and devops teams?

Bogged down with troubleshooting, systems and infrastructure problems, IT and DevOps teams must also adjust to the cloud-based needs of modern enterprises – which isn’t something many of these professionals are well-versed in. IT infrastructures are becoming more complex and continue to evolve as emerging cloud-based technologies are introduced. Subsequently, the scope of IT and devops responsibilities have expanded to securing IT infrastructures, leveraging AI and serverless, refactoring applications, managing multicloud technologies, and understanding how to operate complex and varied cloud technology stacks. Given the shortage of cloud skills, organizations will have to look for technologies that simplify cloud adoption, while allowing devops and IT teams to leverage existing platforms, frameworks, and languages in order to ensure modernization efforts move forward.

One way to keep up with an organization’s demand for cloud-based talent is to implement technologies that are flexible and scalable and that require only some additional training, without a complete overhaul.

For example, companies looking to migrate from a legacy system to a distributed, cloud system can do so in a manageable process. There are platforms available to support the programming languages developers already use. By fusing the trusted strengths of relational databases with the flexibility, performance, and scale of cloud databases, many organizations can address these pain points. Enterprises looking to future-proof their organizations by modernizing should research technologies that can facilitate this move and provide long-term benefits to both developer and IT teams. 

Cloud adoption surges, but the skills gap persists

The key to narrowing the talent gap will come in the form of training, mentoring, and the right certifications. eLearning is a critical component to give current and future employees the opportunity to upskill at scale. Employees can find various training on cloud technologies and modern application technologies, along with tracks for undertaking cloud provider certification. However, in order for training to be effective, the mandate must come from the top down, and organizations must scope training into devops and IT workloads, rather than piling it on top of their already massive responsibilities.

Partnering with the right service providers can also simplify cloud migration and improve customers’ journeys to the cloud. The right partner will empower devops teams to use tools they’re already accustomed to in order to facilitate modernization efforts. This was the experience of digital design agency Facet Digital, which took advantage of this approach to slash the time it took to deploy new cloud workloads from half a week to just 20 minutes.

Closing the cloud skills gap

Digital modernization is here to stay and cloud computing will remain firmly entrenched in all aspects of business and home lives. In today’s market, organizations are actively looking for qualified and experienced cloud experts across several domains, including engineering, database management, programming, development, security, and analytics. There are only advantages to having a broader portfolio of cloud knowledge and skills, which will help to boost innovation, enhance careers, and retain top talent.

Rahul Pradhan is VP of cloud products, engineering, and operations at Couchbase, provider of a leading modern database for enterprise applications that 30% of the Fortune 100 depend on. Rahul has 16 years of experience leading and managing engineering and product teams across storage, networking, and security domains. Most recently, he led the product management and business strategy team for Dell EMC’s emerging technologies and midrange storage divisions. Before that, he was a principal software engineer at Nortel Networks.

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