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Cloud computing careers reshaping IT jobs market

Cloud is one of the fastest growing and most popular areas of IT. As the IT job market evolves around the technology, new cloud computing job titles and roles emerge.

The constant evolution of technology creates various ripple effects, especially within the IT job market. At one time, for example, project teams included at least one COBOL programmer. But now, few organizations even look for that skill -- and white-hot cloud computing technology may be to blame. As businesses embrace the cloud, new job titles and skill sets emerge.

Some of the changes are minor and incremental. For example, a cloud architect is similar to a traditional systems architect. These IT pros focus on high-level design challenges and develop broad frameworks that companies rely on for building new applications. In addition, cloud architects are responsible for building cloud adoption plans and monitoring and managing a cloud service.

While a systems architect evaluates server hardware and network design, a cloud architect tackles infrastructure as a service, software as a service (SaaS) and platform as a service, as well as public, hybrid and private clouds. Because of cloud design complexities, there are many variations of the cloud architect role, such as Cloud Operations/Platform Architect, Cloud Infrastructure Solutions Architect and Cloud Consumption Architect.

Another cloud computing career-- the cloud engineer -- deals with the nitty-gritty technical issues. With traditional infrastructure, a system engineer concentrated on issues such as server operating systems and storage system type. In comparison, a cloud engineer operates in a more virtual world, in which layered software -- such as VMs and cloud OSes -- mask hardware nuances. Rather than build traditional hardwired, hardware-centric data centers, cloud engineers dabble with software-defined data center services.

Many companies deploy at least one cloud application. As enterprises look to connect different systems, new titles, such as cloud integration specialist, emerge. A cloud integration specialist navigates integration issues and educates buyers on system compatibility challenges.

Additionally, companies are increasingly adding OpenStack specialists to cloud development teams. Enterprises use the open source technology to simplify cloud integration and, as a result, OpenStack interest is growing. According to 451 Research, worldwide revenues for OpenStack business models will exceed $1.7 billion by 2016.

Internal cloud technology broker is another emerging title in the cloud computing job market. In the past, IT was in charge of all technology negotiations. Today, other departments, especially marketing and finance, buy apps that will benefit their groups. A cloud technology broker provides buying advice and negotiation support to other divisions. The goal is to ensure that purchasing decisions are sound and the technology is compatible with existing systems.

Cloud also reshaping IT certifications, toolsets

Cloud computing technology is not only redefining IT job roles; industry certifications represent another area of change. Previously, project team members obtained broader certifications. For example, IT pros could receive a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer certification, which signifies Windows OS expertise. But today, companies prefer IT staff members to have vast knowledge of specific cloud platforms, such as Amazon Web Services, or specific SaaS providers, like Salesforce.

New management and orchestration tools represent another ripple effect of cloud's growing popularity. Enterprises that adopt cloud often use Puppet Enterprise, an open source IT automation software tool. Job site currently lists 6,850 available Puppet job opportunities. These individuals oversee the various stages of the IT infrastructure lifecycle, which includes configuring, provisioning, managing and patching cloud infrastructure.

Additionally, organizations desire new programming skills. Chef, a stack-oriented programming language, has programs that look like cooking recipes. These programs include a title, a list of variables, data values and stack manipulation instructions. Chef is designed to scale, provision and deploy services quickly, which meshes with how cloud operates.

As cloud's popularity continues to change the IT skill sets that businesses find desirable, the days of high demand for COBOL programmers are seemingly over.

About the author:
Paul Korzeniowski is a freelance writer who specializes in cloud computing issues. Based in Sudbury, Massachusetts, Korzeniowski has been covering technology issues for more than two decades and can be reached at [email protected].

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