How to Close the Cloud Skills Gap at Your Organization

How to Close the Cloud Skills Gap at Your Organization

A staggering 96 percent of organizations rely on the cloud for data storage, software, and operational needs. However, even with the prevalence of cloud adoption among businesses of all sizes, most of these users still face challenges in realizing the full benefits of the cloud. Among the more pressing cloud concerns, many organizations are struggling with a lack of internal cloud expertise.

In 2018, this was the third-largest challenge for respondents to the RightScale State of the Cloud report, with both SMBs and enterprises citing it as an issue. Though organizations at all phases of cloud maturity described it as a challenge, it was most prevalent among beginners.

A more recent report from OpsRamp highlighted the cloud skills gap, finding that it was an even more urgent problem than experts initially believed. Insufficient cloud expertise is an extremely significant problem among cloud users, with 90 percent of hiring managers stating that the cloud skills gap at their organization was “big.”

Given the ever-growing gap between cloud users and relevant skills, it’s important to determine whether your organization has the expertise it needs to thrive in a cloud environment. Like many others before you, you may think that hiring new, more experienced professionals is the best way to close the gap. However, it can be more difficult to find IT workers with the right capabilities than you think.

According to OpsRamp, 94 percent of organizations said it was “somewhat difficult” or even harder to find professionals who brought the right cloud skills to their organizations. Fewer than 6 percent of companies looking to hire professionals in DevOps, site reliability engineering, or IT operations were able to do so within a month. More than a quarter of them needed longer than three months to find the right person for the job.

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What can organizations do about the cloud skills gap?

To keep up with the widening skills gap, you must take proactive steps to fill in these areas at your organization. As the cloud continues to evolve, your need for specific skillsets will only become more pronounced. Here are a few of the things you can do to ensure your organization has the cloud skills it needs today and down the road:

Leverage managed services.

The rise of the multi-cloud, a deployment model that constitutes a blend of several cloud vendors and solutions, has created an unprecedented need for diverse cloud skills. To manage this complex environment, your organization needs employees with the expertise to not only monitor disparate cloud environments, but also to handle automation and workload oversight. Managing this setup and taking full advantage of its benefits may be difficult with your team’s current skills.

As such, you may need to work with a managed services provider (MSP). This will enable you to access professionals capable of managing your cloud systems. Some MSPs will charge subscriptions for their services, while some will charge per user or per device. This may be key to incorporating cloud skills into your IT management that you do not otherwise have in house.

Consider hiring recent graduates and early-career professionals.

It can be difficult to find highly qualified tech professionals for your organization, so why not consider less experienced candidates when looking to fill certain cloud-related roles? Turn your gaze toward recent college graduates. Not only are these budding professionals typically excited to embark on their careers, but they’ll also be eager to stay with your organization if you support their career progression.

Recent graduates may also have a more current understanding of the latest technologies than experienced professionals who haven’t pursued continuing education or professional development in a long while. Recent graduates may also be less set in their ways and more willing to learn your organization’s operating principles and practices.

To this end, you can provide (or finance) training in cloud management skills and other technical capabilities that will help recent graduates support your organization. This strategy may not close your skills gap right away, but it’s a good long-term idea to ensure your company will have well-trained IT specialists on board down the line.

Provide training to your team.

For many organizations, meeting their cloud skill requirements means training their existing staff rather than hiring new people. It takes both time and money to provide training to your team, but the value-added benefits of doing so far outweigh these initial investments.

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Your IT team needs to hone their skills in several general areas, including programming, database management, security, and automation. There are also more specific cloud specialties, such as multi-cloud management and DevOps, that your training may need to cover. Focusing on the skills you need the most will ensure your team can overcome any challenge they may face.

You might also consider helping your employees obtain certification in certain cloud skills or platforms. There are both vendor-specific and vendor-neutral certifications that will help your team stay current with the latest developments in cloud computing.

Encourage your team to continue learning new cloud skills.

The cloud is constantly evolving. Not only should you regularly retrain your team in relevant cloud skills, but you should also foster a culture of continued learning within your organization. Create training initiatives that foster skills based on specific company roles and encourage managers to focus some quarterly goals around this training. Ensuring that your employees are continually working to improve their skills is the best way to bridge any skills gap and keep it closed.