What IT Professionals Need to Know
Cloud computing promises new career opportunities for IT professionals. In many cases, existing core skill sets transfer directly to cloud technologies. In other instances, IT pros need to develop new skill sets that meet the demand of emerging cloud job roles.
Companies that consider moving to cloud computing will want to educate their IT professionals about the potential opportunities ahead so that they can build staff capabilities and skills ahead of the change. Chief Information Officers (CIO) who want to generate more business value from IT by necessity have to be in the front line of cloud skills education — both for themselves and to build training capacity for their IT staff.
The emerging cloud world offers those with the capability to build and grow their portfolio of skills. This paper explores the advantages of moving to the cloud and outlines the delta skill sets IT pros will want to acquire. It describes what the cloud offers and how it applies to and impacts existing infrastructure, including such issues as cost, security, data control, and integrity.
The bulk of an IT professional’s skills remain relevant in a cloud environment. System configuration tasks such as creating routing rules, configuring archiving, and managing policies are still necessary. The change is moving from building and supporting local IT infrastructure to managing IT services in the cloud, which requires an extension of skills and capabilities. For example, many IT professionals have the capability to manage virtual storage and the virtualization of servers, but will need to adjust their skill sets to function within a private or public cloud. IT professionals with the flexibility to adapt their technical skills while retaining and growing their business skills will be the highest in demand.
Once [IT professionals] learn more about the cloud and they see there’s a big change that will help them in the future, it will become clear to them that they will have a job that is more challenging than just being an administrator.
One way IT professionals become more essential in the cloud era has to do with their ability to implement public cloud services like Microsoft® Office 365 and Windows Azure®. Office 365 offers enterprises the capability to move key collaboration products and services such as Microsoft® SharePoint®, Microsoft® Exchange Server, and Microsoft® Lync™ Server from an on-premise deployment model to a public cloud model. Windows Azure facilitates either moving existing customer applications to or building new applications in the public cloud. While managing and configuring these various services remains in the IT professional’s hands, the majority of the infrastructure tasks are eliminated. Tasks that remain include monitoring, configuration, and integration with existing on-premise services such as Active Directory, while activities such as purchasing hardware, installing operating systems and managing patches are no longer needed since they are handled by the cloud provider.
Skills Impacts in Cloud Computing
The move to cloud solutions opens up new opportunities for IT professionals. Key technical skill sets become more critical to career success, including custom application development and deep technical knowledge of the various collaboration products such as Exchange Server. These skill sets can be used to complement and enable customization of the provider cloud offerings. IT should look for opportunities to reduce tactical day-to-day support and spend more time developing and delivering services and applications that demonstrate value to the business.
“I think new marketing efforts will change and help IT administrators in their understanding of what the cloud portends,” said Kay Sellenrode, Senior Technical Consultant for Platani. “IT professionals and developers face quite some challenges. But they represent good challenges. IT professionals need to