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How Cloud Knowledge Gets You a Job

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By: Doug Bonderud

April 1, 2020

It’s no exaggeration to say that cloud computing has fundamentally changed the IT landscape. Once a technology outlier, this distributed deployment model is now critical for companies to drive agility and adaptability at scale.

Investment reflects growing this interest: As noted by Tech Crunch, revenue from the cloud infrastructure market alone passed $30 billion in the fourth quarter of 2019,and popular cloud providers have seen substantial annual uptick. Giants like Google and Amazon both enjoyed more than 60 percent growth between 2018 and 2019. Beyond simple spending to keep up with the competition, companies are also shifting workloads to the cloud; current predictions suggest that 82 percent of enterprise workloads will live in the cloud this year.

For IT pros, the increasing pace of cloud adoption offers big career benefits: Equipped with the right knowledge and cloud certifications, technology experts can stand out from the crowd and land lucrative, long-term positions with forward-thinking organizations.

So let’s dive in — here’s a look at some of the top cloud skills companies want, the certifications they’re looking for and the job outlook for knowledgeable cloud professionals.

Jumping the Skills Gap

Recent data paints a rather grim picture for companies looking to build out IT talent: While tech job postings are on the rise, the second half of 2019 saw almost one million positions remain unfilled. According to Mehul Patel, CEO of tech hiring site Hired, part of the problem stems from the fact that “every company is a tech company now. Even if you’re Capital One or Disney or American Express, you have to hire tech talent, and you have to focus on building an employer brand and creating a funnel for talent.” As every organization tries to build out their tech department simultaneously, the skills gap naturally grows.

Cloud knowledge is at the forefront of this digital divide; the knowledge needed to manage public, private, hybrid and multicloud deployments remains rare, despite the increasing efforts of post-secondary and technical schools to integrate cloud training.

Some of the top cloud skills on corporate radar include:

  • Amazon AWS — Amazon remains the undisputed cloud leader, and companies want professionals who know their way around Amazon Elastic Compute instances.

  • Deep learning — AI-based neural networks offer the potential for increased automation, reduced data entry error and enhanced analytics, but deep learning experts with the knowledge to combine cloud resources and AI remain few and far between.

  • Microsoft Azure architecture — Microsoft’s Azure cloud has made significant industry strides in the last few years, and skilled Azure professional are now in demand.

  • Chatbot development — Chatbots represent the future of self-serve customer interaction, but depend on reliable and robust cloud connections to deliver on the promise of digital transformation.

  • Cloud Security — More than 60 percent of businesses say security is their top concern in adoption cloud technology at scale. Skilled cloud security staff can help reduce overall risk and boost C-suite confidence.

Career-Boosting Cloud Certifications

Enterprises now prioritize cloud skills when hiring new staff, but it’s not enough to simply list accumulated knowledge — IT professionals must back up stated skillets with recognized certifications. And while any cloud computing qualification can help push your resume to the top of the pile, there are some certifications that stand out from the cloud in 2020, such as:

  • AWS Certified Developer, Associate — Amazon certifications demonstrate both familiarity with the AWS environment and the ability to iterate at scale.

  • VMWare Certified Professional— Cloud-based VMware deployments remain popular among large enterprises but require a unique set of skills to deliver consistent ROI.

  • Microsoft Certified Azure Solutions Architect Expert — Azure development is rapidly scaling up a Microsoft’s cloud gains ground among business users.

  • Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP) — As noted above, security remains a top concern for companies moving into the cloud. The CCSP designation provides assurance for organizations that IT pros have the knowledge necessary to defend cloud assets.

The Cloud Compensation Outlook

Compensation for cloud professionals is also on the rise as companies look to secure the best talent and ensure they’re willing to work long-term. For example, the average salary of cloud engineers rose by 5.6% last year to just over $128,000, while Systems Architects close in on $140,000.

Specific skills can also increase potential earnings: Experts in platform-as-a-service (PaaS) roles saw a 6.3% bump to more than $130,000 annually, while deep learning pros came in just under this mark at $129,000. Training in Apache Kafka — which handles real-time, high-traffic data feeds and is often deployed as-a-service — topped the list with a 5.5% boost for almost $135,000 per year.

Bottom line? Cloud knowledge is in demand as companies look to shore up skilled IT talent in 2020.For IT pros looking to expand their career horizons, it’s worth finding a cloud focus that aligns with enterprise priorities and then building out the skills and certifications necessary to get noticed by firms and land lucrative long-term work.

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