One step ahead is where IT professionals strive to be when it comes to their career paths. But it can be tough...
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to evolve cloud computing skills, in particular, given how quickly the market moves.
"Nowadays, everything about technology moves fast, including what skills companies look for in their IT staff," said John Reed, senior executive director for Robert Half Technology, an IT staffing company based in Menlo Park, Calif.
Interest in cloud technology continues to grow: IDC expects spending on public cloud services to rise from $96.5 billion in 2016 to $195 billion in 2020 -- a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20.4%. And, as that growth continues, companies face a dearth of available talent as they try to deploy more cloud technologies, said Jay Lyman, principal analyst, cloud management and containers, at 451 Research, an analyst firm based in Boston.
There are a few steps IT pros can take to nudge their resumes toward the top of the Human Resources pile. For example, generic titles, like cloud architect, are cooling a bit. Instead, admins should strive for vendor-specific cloud computing skills and certifications, as well as those related to emerging technologies, like containers and machine learning.
Specialize your cloud computing skills
Many firms seek IT professionals with cloud computing skills that are specific to certain vendors and platforms, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure, Reed said.
Jay Lymanprincipal analyst, cloud management and containers, 451 Research
To help meet those demands, cloud admins should strive for vendor-specific certifications and training programs. Microsoft has long been a leader in the IT training space, with a raft of options related to its Azure public cloud. The company, for example, offers courses such as Microsoft Azure Fundamentals, Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions, Microsoft Azure Developer Solution Architect, Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions, Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions and Microsoft Azure Management Tools. Training and certification comes from a variety of third parties, including Koenig Solutions, QA Ltd., Simplilearn and TechSherpas.
Although a relative newcomer to the enterprise, AWS has grown its training and certification programs. The vendor offers courses and certification exams such as AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate, AWS Developer Associate, AWS DevOps Architect and AWS Technical Essentials. CBT Nuggets, Global Knowledge and Udemy hold training classes.
Containers can't be contained
The application container market will grow from $762 million in 2016 to $2.7 billion by 2020 -- a CAGR of 40% -- according to 451 Research.
"Containers have been a very hot area," Lyman said.
There are multiple training options for admins looking to hone their cloud computing skills around containers. For example, Red Hat has a container certification focused on application containers built using Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Red Hat's OpenShift platform-as-a-service offering and the open source Docker format.
Another option is Mirantis' two-day Kubernetes and Docker Bootcamp. Subjects covered include:
- the basics of container technology,
- how containers differ from virtual machines,
- how to use containers to accelerate application development,
- how to use Docker to run and manage containers,
- how to build Docker images, and
- how to install a Kubernetes cluster from scratch.
Rise of the machines
Like containers, machine learning is a hot, cloud-related technology in the enterprise. But, for most organizations, it's more of a long-term than short-term need, according to Lyman. With machine learning, computer systems automatically detect and adapt to changing conditions, seemingly making decisions by themselves. The technology has the potential to bring system automation to a new level, as well as improve business decision-making.
To evolve your cloud computing skills around machine learning, consider training programs at the university level. Carnegie Mellon University, Columbia University, Harvard University, Princeton University, Stanford University, University of Toronto and University of Washington offer various certifications, concentrations and majors in machine learning. Here, developers learn how to find patterns in data sources that go well beyond a petabyte.
The University of Washington offers a machine learning concentration, where students take classes such as Machine Learning Foundations: A Case Study Approach; Machine Learning: Regression; Machine Learning: Classification; and Machine Learning: Clustering & Retrieval.
At the top of the food chain is a doctorate in Machine Learning from Carnegie Mellon, where students take classes like Advanced Introduction to Machine Learning, Statistical Machine Learning, Intermediate Statistics, and Data Mining and Algorithms.
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