CEO and Co-Founder of A Cloud Guru, a tech skills development company with an online learning platform that’s teaching the world to cloud.
The cloud computing market is growing faster than ever. Fueled by the need to analyze and store monumental volumes of data — by a proliferation of applications enabling digital transformation and even by Covid-19 and remote work — thousands of enterprises are accelerating their move to the cloud. Now there’s an increasingly competitive environment demanding swift innovation.
For IT leaders, this presents the need for a lot of employees to have the ability to understand the esoteric cloud landscape. A seemingly logical solution? Hiring — investing time and resources in finding and interviewing tech-skilled workers until positions are filled. In reality, though, recruitment alone can’t solve this challenge. Instead, it will require a shift in mindset about the way global workforces mesh with tech that changes on a consistently frequent basis.
When it comes to building IT teams capable of navigating the cloud, business leaders must think beyond hiring and instead rethink the ways they uplevel skills across their organization.
Cloud Learning Never Stops
A recent post from Gartner discussed the rapid clip of new services and functionalities from large public cloud environments like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform. The article shared that in 2019, AWS alone released 1,845 new services, updates and functionalities; on average, that’s five updates per day. Meanwhile, Microsoft announced 1,169 updates last year, an average of three per day.
Even if you hire employees who understand the cloud market today, there’s no guarantee they will understand the cloud next month or even next week. A new employee familiar with the cloud will certainly be in a good position to build on existing knowledge, but it’s important to recognize that even after they’re onboarded, their skills will need to evolve and grow in pace with the market. Otherwise, your company risks falling behind in terms of cloud strategy.
Given the speed at which the cloud landscape evolves, technology leaders and their teams are faced with the challenge of ongoing learning. You can’t get one cloud certification and call it quits. Learning the cloud is like learning a new language — even when you’re fluent enough to be conversational, there are always more words and phrases to add to your vocabulary. Hiring someone who “speaks cloud” is a good start, but it’s not the solution to closing a company’s skills gap.
Knowing that employees will have to regularly evaluate and develop their cloud skills, technology leaders must lay the groundwork to facilitate ongoing learning across their IT teams. Teams should work together to monitor for and share cloud updates in an effort to make each other stronger. To make that happen, leaders must foster a culture that acknowledges the need for continuous skills development.
Start by prioritizing the time and resources employees need to improve their skills. Consider setting aside business hours each week to allow your employees to research cloud developments and hone new skills. Meanwhile, encourage open conversations about how your cloud strategy could be better and where, in regard to cloud skills, members of your team are falling behind. Only by acknowledging shortcomings will your team be able to overcome them, and in many cases, simply identifying those gaps across your team can be a difficult first step. By ensuring that employees feel comfortable raising a hand for help, you will empower them to be an advocate for their success — and yours.
Cloud Culture Must Be Built From The Inside Out, Not The Outside In
The advancement of cloud technology — and thus the need for new skills to facilitate digital transformation — shows no signs of slowing down. And unfortunately, unless traditional education changes its tune, it’s looking like the shortage of tech-skilled workers is a problem companies will have to solve themselves. Despite the fact that cloud computing has been recognized by LinkedIn as the most in-demand hard skill for five of the last six years, most universities don’t offer cloud degrees. Companies looking to take advantage of all that cloud computing has to offer will have to become champions of cloud learning in order to attract, train and retain top engineering talent.
This brings me back to the fundamental shift in mindset required for many IT leaders faced with a skills gap. Instead of thinking about hiring for skills needed for developments right now — building cloud culture from the outside in — companies should think about building a foundation that will allow their organizations to keep pace with technological change on an ongoing basis. By building cloud culture from within, and making ongoing cloud learning central to the DNA of your IT team, you will set your company up for success now and into the future.
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