The Need for Employees Skilled in Cloud Technology on the Rise

December 21, 2012

The need for skilled IT workers knowledgeable about the cloud is increasing, even as a shortage of these workers is on the rise, a new study released by International Data Corporation revealed. Currently, about 1.7 million cloud-computing and cloud-related jobs are unfilled worldwide, and that number is expected to expand over the next three years. By 2015, some 7 million jobs are estimated to be available in cloud computing, the International Business Times reported.

"The cloud is going to touch almost every component and every area of information technology," Cushing Anderson, vice president at IDC, stated in a Microsoft press release.

The IDC study, commissioned by Microsoft Corporation, included interviews of more than 600 hiring managers around the world and looked at the impact of cloud computing on employment in the IT sector. Study results showed nearly two-thirds of businesses globally planned to embrace or were already using cloud technologies, and half indicated it was a priority. In addition, the U.S. played an important role, this year being responsible for 62 percent of the worldwide spending on cloud infrastructure.

Openings for these types of jobs aren't being filled because applicants often lack proper training, experience and certification, Information Week noted. This is because working in the cloud requires new or additional IT skill sets. Rather than just hands-on technology functions, it involves architecture, design, consulting and other services.

"There is no one-size-fits-all set of criteria for jobs in cloud computing," Anderson added.

Companies want workers who know how to successfully adopt and implement cloud computing, grasp how the cloud affects IT service, and comprehend the benefits and potential risks of cloud computing, according to Microsoft. As a result of this hiring need, Microsoft has revamped many of its courses, certifications and other educational offerings to include cloud computing technologies. It also offers classes and learning materials through its Virtual Academy and IT Academy. Among others, Microsoft classes include Administering Office 365 for Small Businesses, Introduction to the Public and Private Cloud and Upgrading Your Skills to Windows 8.

"Our goal is to continue to prepare students today for the jobs of tomorrow, and empower them to develop their skills as future IT experts, innovators, software developers and beyond," said Lutz Ziob, general manager of Microsoft's training and certification organization, Microsoft Learning.

However, the Microsoft/IDC study may create controversy, according to Information Week. For a long time, Microsoft has cited shortages in certain IT areas, and has even pushed for legislation to enable more foreign workers to legally reside in the U.S. after graduating from one of its colleges or universities. Critics like The Programmers Guild argue that priority should be given to older IT professionals already in the U.S., many of whom have been laid off from their jobs and who may just need some additional training to update their existing skills.

Compiled by Doresa Banning


"Cloud Jobs: 7 Million In 3 Years, IDC Says,", December 21, 2012, Paul McDougall

"Help Wanted: Millions of Cloud-Skilled IT Workers Needed,", December 19, 2012

"Microsoft Study Finds Shortage Of Skilled Cloud Workers,", December 20, 2012, David Zielenziger

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