Anticipating the Shortage: Getting Cloud Talent On Board

Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos
Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos

The cloud isn’t only revolutionizing how IT gets done; it’s also changing what IT workers need to know and who they need to be. This is leading to a severe cloud talent shortage that goes above and beyond the usual hiring woes endemic to IT.

Staffing a company’s cloud initiatives is challenging because of three core problems:

  1. Most certifications don’t go deep enough to truly distinguish a candidate’s skills. While companies can rely on them in other areas of IT, assessing a worker for cloud-based work requires more detailed analysis.
  2. General cloud training is extremely hard to come by. Much of the training available in the industry comes from the individual technology providers. While this training may be excellent, it tends to be tool- and company-specific and does not create workers who have broad skills that span the entire discipline.
  3. Companies that hire cloud-based talent frequently do a bad job of finding the right talent, largely because of the above two problems. As these workers get called on to do more tasks, their problems will become evident, necessitating additional training or staff changes.

Given these problems, the best solution for companies that anticipate needing IT staff to work on their cloud initiatives is to get started as early as possible. Typically, this means funding and filling positions well in advance of when the need becomes acute. While each company’s needs will vary, this can include hiring IT executives for devising high-level strategy, cloud architects who design systems, system engineers who implement the design, and staffers who keep the project and up and running.

While it might seem expensive to pre-fill positions, the cost is lower than it might appear. Given the shortage of talent, it’s likely that a position funded and created today won’t be filled for at least three to six months. Furthermore, given that the state of the cloud talent market is likely to get worse for employers before it gets better as demand picks up, locking in talent now can also lock in lower pricing– at least for a while.

Ultimately, staffing a cloud IT initiative is about foreseeing the future. For companies that believe that the cloud is part of their near-term IT plans, starting the hiring process today will ensure that the necessary staff is hired, trained, and ready for action. As a final benefit, it can also put those companies ahead of their slow-to-hire competitors.