Career Spotlight: Cloud Computing Jobs
When cloud computing first arrived on the scene a few years ago, it was widely believed that the new technology would lead to fewer jobs. Now, however, it seems that the opposite is true: jobs related to cloud computing are on the rise, and many remain unfilled as the demand for skilled candidates outpaces the supply. While it is still not entirely clear whether cloud services positions are simply replacing the jobs lost in the technological shift or contributing to a net increase in employment, the bottom line is that cloud computing contains promising opportunities for those willing to seize the moment.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed in its July 2013 jobs report that data processing, hosting, and related services added 3,600 jobs that month. The BLS projects that computer systems design and related services are projected to grow at a rate of 3.9 percent annually between 2010 and 2020, compared to an average rate of 1.3 percent across all industries. That growth could translate to 671,300 added jobs by 2020.
Despite the growing demand for these services, a Microsoft-sponsored report published in January by the International Data Corporation found that 1.7 million cloud computing jobs around the world remained unfilled by the end of 2012. "Workforces around the world are steps behind when it comes to attaining the skills necessary to thrive in the cloud computing industry," said IDC program vice president Cushing Anderson. "Unlike IT skill shortages in the past, solving this skills gap is extremely challenging, given that the cloud brings a new set of skills, which haven't been needed in the past. There is no one-size-fits-all set of criteria for jobs in cloud computing. Therefore, training and certification is essential for preparing prospective job candidates to work in cloud-related jobs."
So what are some of the cloud computing careers available, and how can job seekers prepare themselves for opportunities in the field? Dice.com, a technology-focused job site, highlights a number of jobs it considers the most in-demand positions related to cloud computing. These include:
- Cloud Architect - These professionals are in charge of developing and implementing cloud-based initiatives that meet certain business and IT performance goals. Cloud architects must design systems that are scalable, reliable, supportable, and secure. Employers often seek candidates who have bachelor's degrees in computer science or engineering and 10 or more years of experience in large-scale, multi-platform networks. Candidates should have expertise in Shell, VBScript, Perl, or Python, and be well-versed in Linux and Windows. They should also be experienced in designing, installing and administering virtualized environments.
- Cloud Product Manager - Cloud product managers are in charge of product planning for cloud-based services, including designing concept and strategy documents, determining requirements specifications, and leading the sales processes, including licensing, pricing, and packaging. Job applicants are expected to hold bachelor's degrees in business or computer science and have at least three years of experience working at a software development company involved with cloud services. Candidates should also have excellent communication skills.
- Cloud Software Engineer - Cloud software engineers are responsible for creating software that integrates with cloud services. Candidates are expected to hold bachelor's degrees in computer science and to have at least 2 years of experience in software development, including experience with ETL (Extract-Transform-Load) techniques, system configuration and deployment automation technologies, programming experience on a Linux/Unix operating system, and knowledge of at least one compiled-code language.
In addition to these careers, there are a number of other possible career paths in the cloud computing field, and the industry's growth makes it an opportune moment for tech-minded job seekers to investigate the options available. Forbes compiled a list of the 10 highest-paying cities for cloud careers, and found that San Jose-Santa Clara-Sunnyvale, CA; Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT; San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA; and Washington, D.C.-Arlington, WV-Alexandria,VA were at the top of its list, all offering positions with salaries of over $114,000 and more openings than qualified candidates. However, with 1.7 million unfilled jobs around the world, the possibilities are vast.
"Analysts Expect Growth in Cloud Jobs," Washington Post, August 14, 2013, Mohana Ravindranath
"Careers in Growing Field of Information Technology Services," Bureau of Labor Statistics, April 2013, Lauren Csorny
"In the Cloud, Many Jobs Go Unfilled," Associations Now, August 21, 2013, Rob Stott
"Top 10 Cloud Computing Jobs," Computer World UK, October 9, 2012, Christine Burns
"Where the Highest Paying Cloud Computing Jobs Are," Forbes, February 27, 2013, Louis Columbus