26 Nov 2021

Why are cloud skills so in demand?

Guest Blog: Learning People, part of techUK's Cloud Week #CloudFuture

Cloud computing has arguably been the biggest tech beneficiary of the Covid 19 era, seeing an acceleration of the much-hyped move to the cloud. Whether it be the adoption of cloud-based communications, servers, CRMs or ERPs, businesses and organizations found themselves moving to a cloud first model of IT architecture with the adoption of IaaS (infrastructure as a Service) on top of our more familiar friends SaaS and PaaS.

So it’s no surprise that the global cloud infrastructure market is expected to reach $170+ billion in revenue in 2022 and in the process exacerbate a global skills shortage of certified professionals.

The average UK “cloud engineer” salary is already more than £69,000 and according to LinkedIn, cloud computing skills were among the top three most in-demand skills for employers in the past three years.

A recent Tech Republic report on in demand certifications had Google Cloud and AWS certifications as the 2nd and 3rd highest paying tech certifications.

At this point we should recognize that when examining the skills required in a Cloud computing environment it is important to understand the broad environment of job roles that require cloud skills. Although Cloud has been around for a while there is still a focus on the new roles being created which emphasizes cloud only skillsets. Job titles like the aforementioned cloud engineer or cloud architect are identified as roles to be recruited.

Our analysis of the overall job market shows it’s much more complicated than that and actually the most common way for organizations to add cloud skills has been to evolve their existing IT infrastructure roles.

Job postings for system engineers and network engineers are more numerous than postings with cloud-specific titles. As companies place more of their IT architecture in the cloud and consider new options for their workforce, networking performance becomes more critical. Many consider network and system engineers the foundation of their teams with cloud skills adding critical value.

As ever though, things aren’t standing still, Gartners Emerging Tech Roadmap shows businesses are investing in edge computing, AR, hyper automation, Wifi 6 and 5G. At the same time, they are evolving their network security and deploying cloud based controls and access security. For example, SASE (secure access service edge) is designed to tackle the widespread security problems presented by the Covid powered rush to cloud adoption.   

All this inevitably leads to an obvious problem. And it’s one we hear from employers and recruiters up and down the country. Put simply we have a shortage of people with the skills to fill the vacancies that exist in cloud today. Added to this the emergence of multiple new technologies is creating wider skills gaps causing further distress for hiring managers and those planning strategic projects.  

Companies in the US are already dropping previous requirements for degree level education and although the UK has the new T Levels, digital skills bootcamps and Apprenticeships, 92% of UK hiring managers report difficulty finding enough cloud talent and face the further challenge of keeping hold of existing staff who are capitalising on the demand in the market.

As ever there needs to be a suite of solutions from industry, education and private training providers. Employers will have to accept that the magical candidate with two years’ experience is passing into unicorn rarity and adapt to the new reality of sourcing talent from untapped and under-utilised labour reserves including (still!) that well known minority, women in tech, as well looking to BAME and neuro diverse candidates.  

The future success and growth of cloud computing requires a new partnership between organizations and training providers of all sorts, to create new talent pools and upskill the existing workforce.


Mark Wheatland, Head of Partnerships at Learning People. Learning People is one of the UK’s largest tech education training providers delivering job ready candidates to UK tech.


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Laura Foster

Laura Foster

Head of Technology and Innovation, techUK

Laura is techUK’s Head of Programme for Technology and Innovation.

She supports the application and expansion of emerging technologies across business, including Geospatial Data, Quantum Computing, AR/VR/XR and Edge technologies.

Before joining techUK, Laura worked internationally in London, Singapore and across the United States as a conference researcher and producer covering enterprise adoption of emerging technologies. This included being part of the strategic team at London Tech Week.

Laura has a degree in History (BA Hons) from Durham University, focussing on regional social history. Outside of work she loves reading, travelling and supporting rugby team St. Helens, where she is from.

[email protected]

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