Building skills for the cloud

Moving to the cloud shouldn't scare IT professionals. Instead it should be seen as an opportunity to learn new skills.

When you read all the wonderful marketing hyperbole around the cost savings that cloud can provide you'd be forgiven for thinking that you (the IT professional) were one of those cost savings. With a little thought however you'll see that this technology change isn't going to make you a pointless cost, instead it could make you valuable driver of efficiency and savings. You could even find that work becomes more fun.

Most of us get into IT because we love technology - a big part of that for me has always been that the tech landscape is constantly changing. Unlike being, say, an accountant we get the rules thrown up in the air every few years. We have to learn a host of new skills in order to make those adaptations and that's always been the way that technology has worked.

We are however just coming to the end of one of the longest periods of IT stagnancy, where a global economic crisis combined with "good enough" technology to deliver a period of stability few of us in technology have had. A stable period like that can lead to a dulling of our learning skills. Now it's time for a change.

What are the most important skills moving into the cloud era?

How do you acquire those skills?

And how will your job change as a result?

The number one skill you'll need in the future is going to be business knowledge just like everyone else in your business you will need to know how it works. Many IT professionals already do and please don't take what I'm saying wrongly it's not that I believe that IT pros are out of touch with the business they work for, but it's easy to forget about the big picture when you're entrenched in your own issues.

Broadly speaking though experience tells me that not many IT people know their business. I left financial services IT not so long ago (I think it's eight months) and I can hand on heart say that most of my colleagues didn't know an option from a guilt or what shorting is (I'm not sure I do). Perhaps even more applicable is that many IT pros don't understand the pressures that marketing or sales people are under, or how to help. That business alignment is the best way to do more with the cloud.

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