Cloud computing skills have surpassed expertise in IT security, project management, virtualisation, network skills, database management, business intelligence and application development knowledge to become the most valuable proficiency sought by enterprise IT, research has revealed.
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The study by recruitment specialist, Robert Half Technology, found that IT directors and CIOs rated cloud knowledge (39%) as more valuable in terms of career path and advancement, followed by security (37%), project management (33%), virtualisation (29%), network administration and engineering (27%), mobile and application development (27%), database management (24%), C# development (15%), business intelligence (14%) and Java development (13%).
The huge rise in the adoption of cloud computing initiatives is driving organisations to employ greater numbers of cloud experts, found the research.
The research revealed that nearly half (41%) of IT directors said they would hire additional staff to support cloud initiatives. Of these, permanent employees would make up 17% of new hires, while contractors or interims would make up 24%, they added.
About 1.7 million cloud computing-related job roles globally could not be filled in 2012 because applicants lacked the training, certification and experience needed to work in a cloud-enabled world, a study by IDC found.
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The demand for cloud-savvy IT professionals will grow by 26% annually until 2015, creating as many as seven million cloud-related vacancies worldwide, the analyst firm predicted. IDC warned that there is an urgent need to retrain existing IT professionals and encourage students to pursue cloud-related IT training and certification.
In Europe, Middle East and Africa, the research firm forecast that cloud-related IT jobs will grow by 24% per year to about 1.4 million by 2015.
In the latest study, 41% of IT directors said their cloud initiatives were fully staffed. Just 18% said they did not have cloud initiatives in place, suggesting that most companies (82%) have undertaken or will undertake cloud projects.
As well as hiring cloud experts, IT directors said they are investing in training and education to bring their current IT teams up to speed on cloud skills. About 49% of enterprises are delivering in-house training and development, while just under a third (32%) are investing in external training courses and 30% provide e-learning. A quarter of respondents also admitted to delivering on-the-job training while a fifth (20%) said they rely on previous experience in another company.
“The fact that so many companies are investing in cloud initiatives, as well as training for their teams, means there are rich opportunities and a clear career path for IT professionals with cloud skills,” said Phil Sheridan, UK managing director, Robert Half Technology.
“With such a high proportion of companies planning to hire additional staff in this area, it’s clearly a good time to focus on cloud skills as well as security around cloud initiatives and across the technology function.”