Shortage of Skilled IT Professionals Means Job Growth in Cloud Architecture
January 30, 2015
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According to a recent report from Cloud Computing News, there is a shortage of skilled IT professionals who are confident in their ability to establish cloud computing solutions for companies. This bodes well for those interested in the growing field of cloud architecture. As the industry evolves, the need for competent professionals with a breadth of experience will inevitably increase.
What Is a Cloud Architect?
Before delving into what cloud architects do, it is essential to have an overview of what the cloud is and how companies use it. The cloud is a network of servers all tasked with specific duties, from storing information to running the applications used on computers, according to GCF Learn Free.
Though the Internet has been in use for more than two decades, there has been an evolution from desktop storage and applications to network-based storage. With the rise in companies and personal users opting for more efficient network storage solutions in lieu of clunky desktop software and expensive licensing, the need for oversight and management has also increased, creating the new role in IT known as the cloud architect.
Cloud architects are IT professionals who oversee a complex network of information for an organization or for a cloud service such as Rackspace, Microsoft's Azure or Amazon. Think of these service providers in the same way you would think of choosing a mobile phone — all have access to similar networks, but differences are found in the way these networks are optimized, secured and organized.
Role of a Cloud Architect
A cloud architect manages existing cloud architecture and optimizes it for the benefit of an organization's profit, security and ease, according to wiseGEEK. Cloud architects don't create the architecture, but rather manage it to best serve their client or organization.
According to InfoWorld, cloud architecture is a combination of expert knowledge in three key areas: enterprise architecture, service-oriented architecture (SOA) and cloud technology.
For instance, think of a music conductor. Conductors must be familiar with all instruments in a symphony, be familiar with the music being performed and have a sense of the audience that will hear it. Cloud architects must have experience in different roles with multiple skill sets and years of experience, which makes theirs a more senior role.
Crucial Skills to Have in the Industry
If you are interested in cloud architecture, familiarize yourself with infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), software-as-a-service (SaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS). These terms describe different cloud platforms. Organizations such as Amazon or Rackspace offer IaaS, whereas you use SaaS when accessing Google Drive.
Organizations need someone who has expertise across specialties such as architecture development methods, information security experience and infrastructure knowledge, all known as "enterprise architecture."
Similar to how 19th-century railroad-tie makers synced lines for better travel, cloud architects work with SOA as the foundation for how one program communicates with another. Finally, cloud architects have a strong basis in information security, including security architecture and analysis.
Best Steps to Take
If you are interested in this field, start by looking into getting a degree in computer science or information technology. It is also important to earn certifications, such as those in SOA. More importantly, gaining experience in Internet security and cloud computing is extremely helpful.
To bolster your formal education, consider researching upcoming seminars in your area, such as the Cloud Computing Strategies Conference in Chicago in April 2015.
Though the role of a cloud architect is a senior position, a shortage of skilled IT professionals means there will be more opportunities for those with the right experience and skills to get into this field.
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