Warning over looming global cloud computing skills shortage

Danny Palmer| Computing

The rapid rise in adoption of cloud technology will lead to a major shortage of IT professionals with the right mix of skills that companies require to architect, deploy, build and manage software in the could, a cloud computing expert has told Computing.

“Cloud has really accelerated in terms of adoption,” Bobby Soni, chief platform and services officer for risk management solutions provider RMS, said in an interview with Computingat Verne Global’s Big Data Iceland conference near Rekjavik.

“Two years ago there was still a fair amount of doubt that IT would go towards the cloud, but the resistance to cloud computing is lowering at a much faster rate than it was two years ago,” he said, adding that the need for cloud experts is rising all over the world.

“The demand for the people that know virtualisation, for people who can architect a platform, for people who can write deployment scripts, for people who can write monitoring and management scripts, for people who can actually deploy software, that demand is going up all across the world,” said Soni.

As a result of this, Soni, who was previously responsible for cloud at IBM, believes there’s going to be a skills shortage when it comes to IT professionals with expert knowledge about cloud, something he believes government and educational establishments should step in to counter.

“I think there’s going to be a fairly large shortage of such skills,” he said. “If you read some of the stats, they talk about a five million people shortage worldwide in the next 10 years in this space. What that suggests is that universities and countries need to start looking at two things.

“First, they need to create courses or education material and paths for these types of skill specialisations, including vocational courses to establish them at a faster rate,” said Soni, who added that current IT professionals will also need to adapt their skillsets.

“Also, reskilling needs to happen where traditional IT people can be reskilled in these technologies and I do believe that’s going to be necessary for any country or region to stay competitive,” he said.

Demand for those with the ability to build and maintain cloud technology is particularly important because almost every new start-up company will have its infrastructure based in the cloud, Soni suggested.

“It’s ramping at a faster rate. It’s not a revolution by any means – it’s an evolution. But the take-up rate is ramping up. For example, in Silicon Valley, every single company that will be formed today, any company that is created, will be 90 to 100 per cent cloud-based. Guaranteed,” he said.

He continued: “Five years ago, that was not the case, so if you follow that train of thought, that’s a really accelerating demand… Anybody who’s an expert in cloud is very much in demand.”

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