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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Considerations when looking for a job as a cloud developer

How do you begin looking for a career in 2017 and beyond? The task can seem daunting at first, given the vast range of relevant technologies to learn, from public and private cloud platforms to JavaScript- (MEAN) and Linux-oriented (LAMP) development stacks. In their posting, some positions will require years of knowledge across multiple niche technical realms, in addition requiring select candidates to undergo phone, video and in-person screenings.

What prospects are ahead for cloud developers?

The good news is that demand for IT personnel is generally high, meaning that despite the complications associated with the hiring process, qualified applicants should in theory be able to find a fit. According to a survey of 845 IT workers conducted by Cloud Foundry and Clear Path, there is a looming shortage of developers that has created major opportunities for professionals with extensive cloud expertise:

  • More than 60 percent of respondents reported that a talent shortage was a real threat.
  • Fifty-seven percent also said that the shortfall had already adversely affected their abilities to hire people.
  • Demand has shifted from general cloud expertise to specific languages, deployment servers and device types (e.g., mobile and the Internet of Things).
  • Importantly, training  - rather than outsourcing - is seen as the best solution to the shortage, and current IT pros could benefit greatly from expanding their current skill sets.

When we say that specific cloud tech is becoming a more important differentiators for developers, which platforms are we actually talking about? Start with the Infrastructure-as-a-Service offerings that receive a huge amount of press coverage and also serve as the centerpieces of vast technological ecosystems. Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform all fit into this category.

Being a cloud developer requires expertise in one or more specific platforms, such as Azure or AWS.Being a cloud developer requires expertise in one or more specific platforms, such as Azure or AWS.

Each of these options is associated with its own constantly evolving set of tools, services and third-party integrations. To make sense of them all, it is a good idea to seek guidance from initiatives such as the Microsoft IT Pro Career Center, which helps developer discover the positions and skills that might be most beneficial to their career tracks. This enhanced direction ensures that you don't waste time learning about software and hardware assets that might quickly become outdated and, worse, offer minimal transferable educational value.

Vital cloud platforms and roles to know

We mentioned Azure and AWS earlier, both of which support vast portions of worldwide application infrastructure. There are many other platforms to know about when job hunting, since these specific technologies along with general job post skills - i.e., in written and oral communication and project management - are among the most common requirements for cloud-related positions.

Acclaim is a useful resource for any preliminary research about what cloud jobs are in demand at any given moment, their top employers, how much they pay and what skills they typically require. For example, both cloud administrator and cloud architect include AWS familiarity in their top five most common required skills. Moreover, for both job titles, the bulk of positions tracked by Acclaim have salaries of $100,000 or more, putting them well ahead of the median annual U.S. compensation.

"Cloud administrator and cloud architect both include AWS in their top five most common required skills."

Perceived shortage of supply has undoubtedly contributed to these high salaries. Still, job candidates have to be conscious of the high levels of competition and attention the postings for them may attract, especially in the wake of the proliferation of code schools and online tutorials for developers in the 2010s. Knowledge of the key building blocks of multi-cloud architectures - i.e., mixes of public, private and/or hybrid clouds within a single organization - will be key:

  • An IDC paper sponsored by Microsoft revealed that 85 percent of enterprise IT organizations would commit to multi-cloud strategies by 2018.
  • Platforms such as Azure, OpenStack and VMware are all important ingredients in the construction of multi-cloud environments, especially on the private/hybrid cloud side.
  • Even if multi-cloud expertise is not your intended specialty, there is still considerable benefit in at least knowing the ins and outs of its particular components.
  • That IDC-Microsoft paper estimated that all IT job growth from 2016 to 2021 will be in cloud-related positions, and that 38 percent of all IT positions will be focused on cloud by 2021.

In the long run, cloud developers will do much more than simply create and test components of complex IT environments. They will also be tasked with improving the overall efficiencies of the organizations they work for. The 2017 State of the Cloud Report from RightScale revealed that a significant chunk of all cloud spending is actually wasted, at a time when many companies are investing more heavily in hybrid clouds. IT personnel will be called upon to ensure the sustainability of cloud-based workflows and applications.

Developing worthwhile cloud skills for the future of IT

The future of IT is in the cloud. While on-premises infrastructures will not fade away completely, they will increasingly be either replaced by public cloud equivalents or folded into private and hybrid cloud that deliver an approximation of the cloud experience.

Finding a rewarding job within a cloud-centric IT world requires a distinctive mix of technical skills as well as the ability to continually refine your knowledge as the industry shifts and new technologies take center stage. Just in the past few years, previously obscure platforms such as Docker (for containerization) and Node.js (for server-side execution of JavaScript code) have become mainstream as cloud development and testing have become priorities.

At New Horizons Computer Learning Centers, you can develop the knowledge and technical abilities to become qualified for major cloud positions. In addition to our numerous courses and certificates in Azure (including for students with previous experience in AWS), Linux, VMware and other focus areas, there is our webinars page, which includes frequently updated resources that can help you accelerate your job search. Find a location near you to plan the next phase of your IT career.

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