Cloud careers for IT professionals

Sudhakar_visual_1Recent trends indicate that cloud adoption continues to grow at a scorching pace. Yet, it would be very surprising to note that U.S. and Europe lag behind the rest of the world in cloud adoption. According to a study conducted by Tata Consultancy Services and reported by Forbes, 42% adoption occurs in Latin American companies followed by the Asia-Pacific region which comes second with 29%. In contrast, only 19% of U.S. companies have adopted the cloud where as in Europe it is closer to just 12%. A comparison chart below depicts further that the trend is identical for 2014, albeit a significant increase in the adoption rates across all continents.

In addition to applications and data being moved to the cloud, the influx of social media, mobile devices, and BIG DATA analytics would cause annual global cloud IP traffic to possibly reach nearly 8 zettabytes by the end of 2017 (according to Cisco’s Cloud Index report as shown here).

New challenging career options

Sudhakar_visual_2With so many diverse entities entering the field of cloud computing, many new and challenging career options are now available and only increasing by the day. An IT professional, aiming to make career inroads in this ecosystem would not only need to keep abreast with such rapid technological advances but also take suitable steps to manoeuvre his career in this new direction. What is therefore required is to optimize existing skills, to develop a shift in thinking beyond just technology, a keenness to learn the business process and an executive’s approach to strategize the organization’s vision and policies. Note that this does not necessarily call for IT professionals to move out of their current comfort zones to adapt to this new environment, but rather opt for one of the many opportunities closest to one’s area of expertise. For example, a traditional IT security specialist would find it more rewarding to widen his career prospect of becoming a strategic security architect in the cloud.

In today’s world, business executives and leaders play a pivotal role in the adoption of the cloud, primarily, since implementing the Cloud solution(s) is more of a strategic business decision rather than a pure technology decision. When moving to the cloud, organizations would need to note that the strategic, tactical and operational areas tend to radically change and realign as compared to the corresponding traditional IT model.  Where some areas and related competencies would increase, others may either decrease or probably disappear over a period of time. As compared to the other two areas, the strategic area shows a marked increase in career options that, besides being challenging, are also highly rewarding. This blog focusses on a few such opportunities for like-minded strategists who would like to develop a career in cloud computing.

Cloud careers in the strategic area

Job titles may not necessarily include the “cloud” term, however, the job descriptions would certainly relate to cloud based solutions.

Business / Enterprise Architect for the Cloud:  
plays a key role in:

  • developing a strategic plan for moving an organization’s applications to the cloud;
  • ensuring that the cloud services align with the organization’s vision, business model and objectives;
  • bridging the gap between IT and business;
  • and discovering innovative ways to stay abreast / ahead of market competition

Strategic Cloud Alliance Manager:
would be in charge of:

  • establishing and developing important cloud alliance relationships,
  • identifying marketing and business generation activity,
  • and catering to customer / client preferences where possible

Strategic Cloud Security Architect:
few of the overall responsibilities would include the following:

  • Formulate security strategies and develop an overall security framework for cloud solutions while adhering to best current security practices advocated for the cloud
  • Prototype security components of cloud solutions in the lab and perform proof of concept tests.
  • Serve as a subject matter expert on all aspects of cloud security – including existing and emerging security threats and remedies in the cloud environment, and encompassing security of data in transit and data at rest.
  • Coordinate with external Cloud Service Providers or Partners to conduct security reviews of their service environments.

Cloud Strategy Analyst and Business Development:

  • Perform financial evaluation of business development activities
  • Provide strategic pricing support and ad-hoc financial support for the Cloud Business Unit.
  • Ability to build sophisticated analytical models, vet them with stakeholders, and present to executives

Conclusion

Data processing and transmitting in the cloud is reaching preposterous speeds and sizes. Just a couple of years ago, specifications that mentioned MB and GB will give way to ZB (Zettabytes) and EB (Exabyte) by the end of 2017. The entries of multiple mobile devices, social media, etc. add to the challenging landscape of the cloud environment.

Technology-centric IT professionals seeking a cloud strategy career would additionally need to understand the vision, business goals and needs of their organization. This is because there is a growing demand for such professionals and executives that are more focused on business development than in application development. There will be greater opportunities for business or enterprise architects (cloud architects, cloud capacity planners, and business solutions consultants), portfolio management strategists, cloud service management strategists, strategic cloud alliance managers, etc.

IT professionals who have not yet considered a move to the cloud should better start exploring now, taking necessary steps if they are keen to land a promising career in the cloud.  Adapt to the thinking of “Better NOW than LATER” – a modified version of a very popular adage of yesteryears.

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Written by Sudhakar Nagasampagi

Sudhakar Nagasampagi has been an IT professional for 20+ years and his expertise lies in Microsoft, Cloud and Virtualization technologies. He is a Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) with several certifications in SQL Server 2005/2008 (Microsoft Certified Technical Specialist), and HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript (Microsoft Specialist). Besides, he also holds several cloud computing certifications from EXIN, COMPTIA, Rack Space, VMware, Arcitura Education Inc., Alison, TUV-SUD India, etc.

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