Bridging the cloud skills gap: developing, training and retaining you

For the last ten years, cloud computing has evolved into one of the largest paradigm shifts of the computer age. Instead of requiring upfront capital investment and building a secure data centre, you can now do the same thing with a credit card and a few mouse clicks.  Any size organisation, from a single individual to a global multinational, has immediate access to all the computing capacity it needs, on demand.

New technologies, such as cloud computing, foster new skills, and skill gaps.  In a related story in May 2017, the OECD identified a significant cloud computing skills gap in UK between worker skills and job requirements in technically advanced sectors.  Ensuring adults have job-ready IT skills is a major obstacle with the skills base.  In October 2016 UK estimated that over 10 million adults lacked basic digital skills.

The first step in this process is to help businesses with a repackaged apprenticeship levy, giving employers flexibility to fund training which addresses the widening cloud skills gap in the workforce.  Businesses in need of innovation need government funding to ensure workers will be adequately trained to prepare them for these entry-level jobs.  To maintain UK’s stature as a digital leader, a talent pool must be maintained that allows workers every advantage, and our Amazon Academy programme is a typical example of what can be done. 

The UK Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries has already delivered more than 2 million training opportunities, and the apprenticeship levy will give even more workers a chance to learn in demand job skills, improving their employability.  The digital skills gap is costing UK £63 billion a year in lost GDP, with 12.6 million people lacking digital skills.  New training initiatives and apprenticeships will impact young and old alike.

However, the skills needed to get hired for these cloud computing jobs differ significantly from traditional IT roles. Changing skill sets drive demand for new skills. These changes to support cloud platform skills are not easy to define, which means enterprises need to look first at their own cloud requirements and then at skills needed to progress toward their cloud goals. Companies are suffering from a serious shortage of crucial IT skills, and fixing it may take time, although the Amazon Web Services (AWS) have some ideas.

Cloud computing is here to stay. Globally, public cloud services revenue is projected to reach US $411 billion by 2020, compared with $260 billion in 2017, according to research firm Gartner, Inc. Cloud technology in all its forms is rapidly becoming essential for business needs. Cloud computing simplifies IT, saves money, drives standardization and impacts every type of user.

Cloud computing provides a definite advantage for small business and new start-ups. Its primary benefits is based on remote access to a shared pool of computing resources. Putting data “in the cloud” requires paying someone else to manage it, and then connecting to their servers via the internet to access your data whenever you need it.  But it also means you don’t need to analyse data on your own machines, but you can “rent” them on demand.

But the growing technology creates jobs. lists over 10,000 jobs mentioning cloud computing daily. Open cloud positions on Dice grew 7% from 2016 to 2017. An inability to fill and retain skilled professionals is a significant problem for businesses if they rely on apps delivered from the cloud.  Robert Half Technology, an IT staffing firm, noted that cloud computing positions are the second largest driver of skill sets, at 24%. CompTIA found in a recent survey that 46% of respondents see the skills gap increasing. Cloud infrastructure and applications ranked high on its list of the most in-demand skills, at 57%.

A growing cloud-skilled workforce affects all kinds of business enterprises. The AWS Educate programme assists colleges with the critical tools and advanced technologies to help Europeans develop highly sought-after cloud computing skills, while making the learning experience more relevant and practical.  AWS wants to commit 100,000 people across Europe with cloud computing skills and fill in the skills gap.  They are changing their training curriculum to react to changing skill needs with cloud computing.  The AWS Academy also trains college staff in using cloud technology so they can train more students, providing college credits and resources in their war on filling the skill gap initiative.

Cloud computing will continue to evolve at a rapid pace as new tools and services are introduced.  The role of companies to bridge this skills gap is vital.  Apprenticeship levies and organisations like AWS may ultimately close this skills gap and allow companies to make a strong digital mark, and build UK’s reputation as a global technology leader.  




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  • Sue Daley

    Sue Daley

    Associate Director, Technology & Innovation
    T 020 7331 2055
  • Katherine Mayes

    Katherine Mayes

    Programme Manager | Cloud, Data, Analytics and AI
    T 020 7331 2019

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