Getting a Job in Cloud Computing: Interview with David Linthicum

David LinthicumWho is David Linthicum and why should I read this interview?

David has spent the last 20 years leading, showing and teaching businesses how to use resources more productively and innovate constantly. He has authored 13 books on computing, 3,000+ articles, 500+ conference presentations. You might have heard or seen him on any number of his appearances on radio and TV. I believe David expanded the vision of both startups and established enterprises as to what is possible and achievable.

David, you are currently a Senior Vice President for Cloud Technology Partners. Could you talk a bit about Cloud Technology Partners and your role within the company, and the Cloud Community?

Cloud Technology Partners
Cloud Technology Partners (CTP) is the premier cloud services and software company for enterprises moving to AWS, Google, Microsoft and other leading cloud platforms. Additionally, we help build clouds for ISVs and other technology company looking to cloud-enable their offerings.
I’m an SVP on the executive team executing a variety of roles, including client acquisition, engagement management, marketing, and I provide vision for the overall company strategy.
I attempt to be a visionary in the cloud marketplace, writing and speaking about what’s coming next. I focus on the details behind the technology, providing step-wise processes that define how you actually take advantage of the emerging technology, such as cloud computing.

As a former professional Blogger for InfoWorld you’ve watched distributed computing mature. It seems impossible to overstate the growth of Cloud Computing right now. Do you agree, and if so what do you attribute this to?

Cloud computing is a fundamental shift in how we consume computing resources, but it’s also a fundamental shift in how we deal with application development, data storage, security, and governance. What’s driving the shift to cloud computing is a need to get IT spending under control, but most of all a need to create IT platforms that are quicker to program and provision.
What’s driving the shift to cloud computing is a need to get IT spending under control, but most of all a need to create IT platforms that are quicker to program and provision.
Cloud computing is a platform that provides speed and agility. As enterprises migrate to the cloud they do so motivated by cost savings, but stay once they discover the value of agility. The use of cloud, as well as the rise of DevOps, means that we can think differently as to how we deliver IT services.
Perhaps, it also means that we can now move IT to the delivery business solutions at the “speed of need.” That’s why Cloud Computing is experiencing exploding growth.

From recent Gartner analysis, many of the best tech jobs are in and around Cloud Computing. Where do you see entry points for people transitioning into the industry?

Most of the good cloud computing jobs are skill specific, such as AWS S3 and EC2 developers, or perhaps Google and Azure security specialists. Best I can figure, there are 3 open positions chasing 1 qualified candidate for the specific skills positions.
My advice to IT folks looking for a transition into the cloud industry is that they should learn a very specific skill through training. Certification is a good objective because it proves to companies that you possess, at minimal, the basic level of skills that they need.
Once you get that first job, you can pretty much write your own plan as to working on other aspects of the cloud that interest you more. If you want to explore new hyped applications such as IoT and Big Data, you are in the door and making the shift will be trivial compared to breaking into the cloud side of computing. Getting that first cloud job is really just the first step, but it’s necessary.

What skills and traits are valued most by Cloud employers and companies?

Most enterprises and technology companies looking to hire cloud skills are searching for those individual who have specific skills, again,  such as AWS, Google, and Microsoft. In my wide experience, the days of being a generalist are behind us, and most enterprises know the cloud platforms they want to harness, and are looking for skills that fit into those detailed business and development plans.

You have written some 13 books on computing. Clearly you understand the value of continuous learning. How do you view the role of Cloud training?

Cloud training is extremely important considering that there is a huge cloud-skills shortage now.

Cloud platforms are quickly evolving, and the training must evolve just as rapidly as well. If we don’t have the trained staff to build and support cloud-based applications and infrastructure, none of this cloud stuff will work very well. This is the number one reason that enterprises fail at the cloud. They simply lack skilled people who can effectively execute in a timely and secure manner. The skills aren’t optional for a person or a company, they are required for success.

Ask two people what they think of Cloud Certifications and your likely to get three opinions. What are your thoughts on Certifications in general and Cloud Certifications in specific?

Cloud certifications means that a person has reached a certain level of knowledge and skills around the use of a cloud service. It’s not magical, but employers are more likely to hire someone who is certified, versus someone who is not. No matter if it’s cloud or non-cloud gigs.

Certifications are important in general, and very important for cloud specifically.

You work across platforms and see the pros and cons of each. Do you see enterprise using multiple Cloud providers?

Yes, that seems to be the path. However, the proportions are important as well. While AWS is by far the most popular IaaS cloud platform, many enterprises have Azure and Google in there as well. Typically for special purposes, such as cheaper storage, big data, or in support of existing and migrating .Net applications.
The trick to deal with “multi-cloud” deployments is to provide automated provisioning and management to sits above all clouds leveraged. It’s this layer of abstraction the allows you to managed all cloud through a common interface that hides most of the complexity of dealing with heterogeneous cloud platform from you.

Are there features that truly distinguish the three big providers? Could you note them?

AWS is known for having the richest set of capabilities, or services. Thus, they also have the largest market share. Enterprises may be seeking 50 key services that their public cloud provider, should offer. AWS has 70 of them. AWS is one stop shopping, and this can be appealing for 100 different reasons.
Azure is really an extension of the Microsoft platforms, and if you’re a Microsoft shop, it’s typically going to be the best path. While they are still behind AWS is some features, they are steadily progressing the platform, and are more and more a sound alternative to AWS.
Google is the late entry. However, even though they are lacking some features, the ones that they have are well engineered. Storage, for example, is cheap and fast on the Google cloud, as is data analytics. Considering how much Google will be spending over the next several years, they are likely to catch up to both AWS and Microsoft.
Considering how much Google will be spending over the next several years, they are likely to catch up to both AWS and Microsoft.
Editor’s note: Cloud Academy offers learning resources for the major cloud providers. 

Do you have predictions for the future of the Cloud Computing ecosystem?

It’s perhaps the most important aspect of cloud computing. We need strong third-party tools that manage security, governance, and monitoring, etc. across clouds. Those can’t come from cloud providers. I personally believe that third-party tools will provide the largest growth in the marketplace after this year, and will be bigger than the public cloud players.

If you could go back in time and offer some advice to a younger you about learning and careers, what would that be?

Never stop thinking about what’s next, and never be happy with the status quo.
The name of the game is innovation, and constantly asking questions as to ways to do things better. You keep that always as a motivator and you’ll drive positive change.

I am the editor and I want to point readers to Cloud Academy‘s free 7-day trial subscription. We offer the opportunity of learning paths that build effective strategies for career advancement. Our video courses, quizzes, and labs prepare students for certification and real-world computing.

Learning Path











Written by

Paul Carlstroem

Paul loves narrative. He enjoys the satisfaction of telling simple, compelling stories about complex topics. He has worked for McGraw-Hill Education, Springer Business and Media, and other STM organization. He has enjoyed navigating the exciting changes in the computer, technical and educational publishing industry during periods of great disruption. It is Paul’s strong belief that solving a problem is only part of the story.

Related Posts

— January 15, 2019

2018 Was a Big Year for Content at Cloud Academy

As Head of Content at Cloud Academy I work closely with our customers and my domain leads to prioritize quarterly content plans that will achieve the best outcomes for our customers.We started 2018 with two content objectives: To show customer teams how to use Cloud Services to solv...

Read more
  • Amazon Web Services
  • Cloud Computing
  • Google Cloud Platform
  • microsoft azure
— December 21, 2018

2019 Cloud Computing Predictions

2018 was a banner year in cloud computing, with Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) all continuing to launch new and innovative services. We also saw growth among enterprises in the adoption of methodologies supporting the move toward cloud-native...

Read more
  • 2019 Predictions
  • Cloud Computing
Albert Qian
— August 28, 2018

Introducing Assessment Cycles

Today, cloud technology platforms and best practices around them move faster than ever, resulting in a paradigm shift for how organizations onboard and train their employees. While assessing employee skills on an annual basis might have sufficed a decade ago, the reality is that organiz...

Read more
  • Cloud Computing
  • Product Feature
  • Skill Profiles
— July 31, 2018

Cloud Skills: Transforming Your Teams with Technology and Data

How building Cloud Academy helped us understand the challenges of transforming large teams, and how data and planning can help with your cloud transformation.When we started Cloud Academy a few years ago, our founding team knew that cloud was going to be a revolution for the IT indu...

Read more
  • Cloud Computing
  • Skill Profiles
— June 26, 2018

Disadvantages of Cloud Computing

If you want to deliver digital services of any kind, you’ll need to compute resources including CPU, memory, storage, and network connectivity. Which resources you choose for your delivery, cloud-based or local, is up to you. But you’ll definitely want to do your homework first.Cloud ...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Cloud Computing
  • Google Cloud
Albert Qian
— May 23, 2018

Announcing Skill Profiles Beta

Now that you’ve decided to invest in the cloud, one of your chief concerns might be maximizing your investment. With little time to align resources with your vision, how do you objectively know the capabilities of your teams?By partnering with hundreds of enterprise organizations, we’...

Read more
  • Cloud Computing
  • Product Feature
  • Skill Profiles
— April 5, 2018

A New Paradigm for Cloud Training is Needed (and Other Insights We Can Democratize)

It’s no secret that cloud, its supporting technologies, and the capabilities it unlocks is disrupting IT. Whether you’re cloud-first, multi-cloud, or migrating workload by workload, every step up the ever-changing cloud capability curve depends on your people, your technology, and your ...

Read more
  • Cloud Computing
— March 29, 2018

What is Chaos Engineering? Failure Becomes Reliability

In the IT world, failure is inevitable. A server might go down, an app may fail, etc. Does your team know what to do during a major outage? Do you know what instances may cause a larger systems failure? Chaos engineering, or chaos as a service, will help you fail responsibly.It almo...

Read more
  • Cloud Computing
  • DevOps
— November 22, 2017

AWS re:Invent 2017: Themes and Tools Shaping Cloud Computing in 2018

As the sixth annual re:Invent approaches, it’s a good time to look back at how the industry has progressed over the past year. How have last year’s trends held up, and what new trends are on the horizon? Where is AWS investing with its products and services? How are enterprises respondi...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Cloud Adoption
  • Cloud Computing
  • reInvent17
— October 27, 2017

Cloud Academy at Cloud Expo Santa Clara, Oct 31 – Nov 2

71% of IT decision-makers believe that a lack of cloud expertise in their organizations has resulted in lost revenue.1 That’s why building a culture of cloud—and the common language and skills to support cloud-first—is so important for companies who want to stay ahead of the transfo...

Read more
  • Cloud Computing
  • Events
— October 24, 2017

Product News: Announcing Cloud Academy Exams, Improved Filtering, Navigation, and More

At Cloud Academy, we’re obsessed with creating value for the organizations who trust us as the single source for the learning, practice, and collaboration that enables a culture of cloud.Today, we’re excited to announce the general availability of several new features in our Content L...

Read more
  • Cloud Computing
— August 29, 2017

On ‘the public understanding of encryption’ Tweet by Paul Johnston

Some of the questions by journalists about encryption prove they don't get it. Politicians don't seem to get it either (most of them). In fact, outside technology, there are some ridiculous notions of what encryption means. Over and over again, the same rubbish around encryption gets re...

Read more
  • Cloud Computing