Business leaders know that innovation is a key component to success. Stay stagnant, and the competition will outpace you by developing new solutions that better address the current market demands. But from a technology standpoint, there’s a common bottleneck to innovation: the dearth of cloud and technology skills. From cloud architects to DevOps engineers, developers to security engineers, there is a shortage of people to fill open roles.
This blog discusses the cloud skills shortage, how businesses are overcoming the shortage, the importance of training and upskilling for the cloud, and how to change your company’s skill development mentality, among other topics. Dive in to learn more.
What is the cloud skills shortage?
Despite all the economic shifts at play, the talent economy for technology skills remains constrained. And among all the labor shortages and challenges with attracting and retaining tech talent in particular, one area stands out: cloud skills shortages. Cloud computing remains the number one most sought-after skill: between 2017 and 2020, cloud job postings grew by 94%, and the global pandemic has only added to this.
As organizations increasingly leverage cloud solutions, there is a dearth of qualified professionals — particularly experts that can handle mature workloads and critical applications — to complete the objectives at hand. To make a difficult challenge worse, existing professionals are often short on the required skills. Our own Cloud Academy survey found that 79% of leaders say they don’t have the right skills to get the job done.
What is the impact of the cloud skills shortage?
Cloud skills shortages are inevitable as more businesses migrate to cloud-based infrastructure and services. While all contributors to the cloud-based software development life cycle are affected, there’s a dearth of software engineers to help create and update products and services. Starting from 2022 onwards, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics expects there to be a gap of 200,000 developer jobs to be filled on a yearly basis, while IDC predicts a need for 4 million developers by 2025.
In order to keep up with the demand, businesses need to create a cloud-savvy workforce because failing to do so means there are some big roadblocks they will encounter:
Failing to deliver products on time. There are missed opportunities when businesses ship late, as well as deteriorating team morale.
Cutover issues. Moving fast without the proper team in place can result in big problems and technical debt, increasing spend and stalling new initiatives.
Falling behind competition. Organizations can lose momentum, they miss out on the benefit of being first to market, and suffer lost enthusiasm among employees who know when they’re lagging behind.
Altogether, there is a lack of transparency into available skills throughout an organization and a general lack of skills readiness. Issues with skill transparency and skill gaps are standing in the way of business success.
How to overcome the cloud skills shortage
Planning and structure are key to figuring out a way through a skills shortage. Consider the following options and how they fit with your organization.
Understand and repair the disconnect between education and real-world experience
Universities and colleges alone will not be able to meet the urgent training requirements in technology anytime soon. They’ve often delegated learning responsibilities to companies and government agencies. The fact is that higher education can’t keep up with the demand for cloud skills. Higher education curriculums frequently have a slower refresh rate than cloud services, so the courses cannot keep up with the speed of innovation. Even NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering returns to online courses two years after launch – at that rate the big three cloud providers have long made changes covering multiple generations of technology. But there’s a way to bridge this divide.
With stronger partnerships between universities, businesses, and cloud providers there can be a way to educate students in real-world technologies that they can more quickly apply in the workforce. When there is synergy between academia and business, there can be more up-to-the-minute learning that combines technical training with a unique business strategy.
Training and upskilling: important for both new and current employees
Upskilling and recalibrating employees at work can improve knowledge and foster a culture of engineering-led thinking and positive career development. Whether employees need to branch out a reskill – say having a java developer transition to DevOps – it’s not important where employees are located within an organization that matters the most, but if they have a keen interest in technology and basic technical aptitude.
Businesses should offer in-depth cloud training to new hires before they start their jobs, beyond upskilling or reskilling. Ideally, the training can enforce application, i.e. how to apply tech to real-world problems and use cases.
Emphasize Cloud Skills Development
The act of encouraging more builders is the best way to get out of the talent shortage crisis. This is not about hiring or training more project managers. As you rapidly expand your cloud-based services to create custom solutions that are agile and easy to maintain, you’ll see that you need in-house talent to create and deploy your bespoke solutions. This type of talent is the real way to differentiate a business.
Developers need to be empowered to focus on just one area, not focused on app maintenance and support. They need to be uplifted and lauded as valuable resources who can do such things as:
- Explore new technologies
- Make architectural decisions
- Give new life to limited code
- Find innovative solutions to business and technological problems.
- Experiment with code and let their creativity run wild
- Increase technology growth overall
Most organizations will see a significant change if they follow this guidance. Following the successes of businesses that were born in the cloud, it only makes sense to allow developers more freedom instead of just having them constrained with project managers.
Design corporate cloud training around job roles and career paths
You are going to need to design a curriculum around key roles. A forward-thinking cloud workforce learning strategy will be based on job roles and custom organizational personas. This helps to solve the urgent shortage of cloud workers.
Traditional learning methods tend to be siloed, and are more focused vertically on one group or function than the whole organization. An organization that has a broad horizontal focus across all departments will be more efficient.
The old way of upskilling was to have training focused on one area of an organization. The new, better way is a persona-based curriculum. It includes skills and roles that can be applied across multiple functional areas, such as cloud architects, strategists, and senior developers. After all, every company is now a tech company in order to compete in the modern market.
Cloud certification is an important step but not the end game
Cloud certification is important. To do it right you can have a varied structure including curated digital learning, vendor-led boot camps, and cloud certification workshops. And of course, there has to be a major element of hands-on work, to solidify the theory learned and ensure greater success post-exam – skill training must be experiential. So how does that work?
Cloud service certifications are not the only goal of experiential training. It should also focus on the end goal: successful deployment and innovation that involves new ways of working and encourages engineering-led thinking within companies. This is why Cloud Academy covers the entire learning process, including Hands-on Labs to learn skills, and Lab Challenges to test skill acquisition and provide detailed validation to the learners.
Application of the technologies is key, and certifications are an excellent first step in building a consistent foundation.
Change your company’s skill development mentality
This shift in thinking will be a major one. As one Cloud Academy customer put it, “Moving to the cloud isn’t just an IT operations job. It’s a software job, a product management job, and even a sales job. Your organization sees a complete shift in your business from top to bottom, and everyone needs to be involved” (James Dawson, VP of Information Technology at GlobalMed).
Changing the culture of learning is effective when incentivized with proper motivation. A strong skill development & cloud training provider will provide tools like leaderboards and internal credentials to motivate engagement. Plus, employers can encourage employees to highlight their accomplishments using meaningful internal credentials. Deloitte gives workers digital badges that they can use to highlight cloud skills, completed bootcamps, certifications and other learning experiences. These badges allow coworkers to tag and understand other workers’ knowledge and skill sets.
Learning culture changes can be made more effective when they are motivated with the processes.. A successful skill development & cloud-training provider will provide tools such as leaderboards and internal credentials that can be used to motivate engagement. Organizations might issue digital badges to workers for highlighting cloud skills, bootcamps, certifications, or other learning experiences. These badges can be used to help coworkers tag and understand the knowledge and skills of other workers, as well as highlight the technical ladder they are climbing on their way to increased career prowess and experience.
The importance of overcoming the skills gap cannot be ignored. According to IDC Futurescape on cio.com, “By 2026, enterprises that did not effectively address the talent and digital skills gap in their organization will constrain revenue growth opportunities by 20%. This will be one of the hardest challenges for CIOs to overcome in the next three or four years, and one they need to begin working on today.”
Today is indeed the day to make that shift to retain and build your workforce. Business leaders can effectively balance the need to power innovation accelerators – such as cloud skill sets – with economic factors, by leveraging Cloud Academy’s Skills Readiness solution. Contact us to learn more about how we help companies go beyond training to onboard, upskill, reskill, and retain proven tech talent through our platform.