UK IT directors report that expertise in cloud computing is the most valuable skill for IT professionals to have for career advancement, according to new research from recruitment specialist Robert Half Technology.

Thirty-nine per cent of IT directors said expertise in cloud computing is the most valuable skill for IT professionals to have, followed by security (37 percent), project management (33 percent), virtualisation (29 percent), network administration and engineering (27 percent), mobile and application development (27 percent), database management (24 percent), C# development (15 percent), business intelligence (14 percent) and Java development (13 percent).

Comments Phil Sheridan, UK managing director, Robert Half Technology: “The fact that so many companies are investing in cloud initiatives as well as training for their teams means that there are rich opportunities and a clear career path for IT professionals with cloud skills. With such a high proportion of companies planning to hire additional staff in this area, it’s clearly a good time to focus on cloud skills as well as security around cloud initiatives and across the technology function.

“However, project management and virtualisation skills are also highly valued by IT directors so these are worth focusing on too.”

This rise in adoption of cloud computing initiatives is driving organisations to employ greater numbers of cloud experts, says the research. Forty-one percent of IT directors said that they would hire additional staff to support cloud initiatives. Of these, permanent employees would make up 17 percent of new hires, while contractors or interims would make up 24 percent. An equal number (41 percent) of IT directors said that their cloud initiatives were fully staffed. Just 18 percent said that they did not have cloud initiatives in place, suggesting that the vast majority of companies (82 percent) have undertaken or will undertake cloud projects.

As well as hiring new cloud experts, IT directors are investing in training and education to bring their current teams up to speed.  Almost half (49 percent) say that they deliver in-house training and development, while a third (32 percent) invest in external training courses and 30 percent provide webinar and e-learning.  A quarter of companies deliver on-the-job training while a fifth (20 percent) rely on previous experience in another company.


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