Cloud Computing: A promising specialization in the new IT world
By Pradipto Chakrabarty
>> As India gets increasingly digitalized, Cloud computing is evolving beyond basics and becoming the engine of enterprise technology innovation, bringing in new job opportunities to those skilled in this area
Cloud computing, in layman’s language, refers to running workloads over the internet remotely in a commercial provider’s data center, and is becoming increasingly popular today. Big businesses wanting to curtail their IT expenditure, and small-budget enterprises, looking for more computing capacity, no longer have to spend on servers and expensive hardware. Cloud companies, with their network of data centers, deliver these services over the internet. Along with global leaders Amazon, Microsoft and Google, local players, encouraged by PM Modi’s vision of Digital India, are foraying into to this new and growing market. With mounting data workload and increasing threat of cyber hacking, companies are dumping software and IT maintenance contracts in favor of cloud-delivered services, creating a new area of specialization in the IT sector.
In the last few years, Cloud Computing, as a technology, has undergone rapid changes. According to IT experts, what the market is undergoing today is, in fact, the second phase of cloud adoption. Market research indicates that the vast majority of businesses using cloud computing in one form or another are moving from initial migration to architectural transformation. CompTIA’s recent Cloud Market Studyfound that both end user organizations and service providers have moved beyond the stage of uncertainty around cloud offeringsand are embracing the concept as a primary IT and business model for creating new IT infrastructure and executing operations. This is what we call architectural transformation and is the next logical step to cloud migration.
End users are, today, showing a tendency towards refinement of cloud concepts. Rather than taking a broad view that all offsite IT is cloud based, companies are demonstrating an appreciation for the characteristics of true cloud systems. This refined understanding has led to a rebalancing of self-assessment around cloud activity.
Companies continue to find a wide range of benefits in cloud computing. Cost saving is of course, the topmost, especially as companies move from individual application migrations to overall architecture construction. Especially in the SMB space, this long-term cost savings may begin with a reduction in capital expenditure. All thisis leading to mission critical systems in every industry depend on cloud-based technologies.It is estimated that, by 2020, the public and private cloud market in India will grow at a CAGR of 30-35% YoY. Almost all stakeholders – Cloud Providers, System Integrators, startups and channel partners are looking at a new crop of Cloud-trained and certified workforce.
Till now, cloud integration and architecture were primarily handled by IT engineers.Now the model is changing.Developing cloud models as primary business operations anddedicated skills on cloud computing is rapidly gaining ground.Apart from integration of cloud technology with on premise IT infrastructure, organizations also require specialists in Cloud deployment software, network monitoring, virtualization, network infrastructure and server administration. Hybrid and multi-cloud approaches have emerged as standard practice, therefore the skillset needed includes the ability to weave together solutions based on business requirements.Cyber Security is central to the successful adoption of cloud technology leading to requirement of people with expertise in Cloud Security.
Apart from Security, Automation and Orchestration bring massive value to the business. Techniques like workload migration to Cloud platforms will continue to grow,leading to workforce requiring knowledge of Cloud Storage, moving workloads between cloud providers and application migration considerations.
Opportunities and Challenges
In the coming months and years there is going to be a hugenumber of job openings in Cloud in India Not just service providers, but leading multinational companies such as Oracle, Salesforce and Amazon are looking to hire Cloud Engineers. But there arevery few people skilled dedicatedly in cloud technologies. The market is therefore, wide open for a new entrant to this vast and expanding field at themoment.Since the Cloud Computing landscape is changing rapidly at this stage, the academic curriculum is not able to match the skills required by the industry.
New age Cloud Engineers are required to work across multiple vendor specific cloud technologies such as Azure (Microsoft), AWS (Amazon) and Google Cloud. They need to understand the basic functions and technology that drive Cloud Computing.
The Way Forward
The answer to the current need is a vendor technology neutral certification. CompTIA’s Cloud+ is one such certification. It helps those wanting to specialize in this fieldobtainfundamental knowledge on Workload Balancing and Migration, Resource Management, Cloud Security and Virtualization from a vendor agnostic perspective.
With such skills the new age cloud workforce can work across technologies in a data centerhaving multiple cloud providers, which is a necessity at this stage. It will also help the workforce gather a holistic understanding while learning the vendor specific cloud technologies.
(The writer is Regional Director, CompTIA India, the voice of the world’s information technology industry. CompTIA is dedicated to advancing industry growth through its educational programs, professional certifications and public policy advocacy.)