Cloud Computing Growth and the Growing Career Opportunities

By Tracey Lanham, Program Mentor, Cloud Computing, Western Governors University

Cloud computing has a wide variety of offerings, in addition to having the ability to allow organizations to scale a plethora of services as needed, providing a cost-effective and equipment-efficient solution that the traditional in-house IT services cannot supply. Although cloud-based solutions were already gaining in popularity due to ease of setup, more robust functionality, and reduced overall cost of ownership, when the pandemic consumed our working populations and isolated many to work from their homes, many organizations found themselves reaching for cloud-based solutions that they might not have otherwise considered, and at a much faster implementation rate than expected. As they started to realize the encompassing wealth of available services, they needed individuals who could recommend services that would work well together, while supporting the organization’s overall goals. Since there are a variety of cloud service providers and a wealth of options from each one, it makes sense to have people who understand the services, products, implementation support, and cost differentials as they venture into both cloud and hybrid-cloud platforms.

Due to this rapid expansion of cloud computing, many people are taking advantage of its rapidly growing, extremely diverse career field opportunities. There is a good population of IT professionals who understand the impact cloud computing has on organizations and their ability to adapt quickly to changes in the market while maintaining their financial oversight of IT equipment and services. Adding cloud computing skills to their resumes is making a huge impact on their viability in the job market at a time when there are more job openings than qualified individuals to fill them. Many of these individuals are finding themselves back in the classroom to gain the knowledge and certifications to showcase their ability to support a cloud-enabled organization.

In addition to having traditional IT skillsets, these individuals need to have access to multiple cloud platforms, the ability to explore the portfolio of options that each provides, and to have a good overall understanding of how to piece these services together in a way that makes sense, both from a functional standpoint and a financial standpoint. These aspiring individuals need more than just the traditional hardware and software skills that once hallmarked the “IT Tech” in the organization, but now it is just as essential to couple the vast understanding of the interworking of these components with the ability to articulate full organizational cloud solutions, showcasing viable options and price points for the desired functionality and growth of the organization.

In today’s competitive market, it is essential to have more than just a degree in the field. The degree showcases the broad scope of what the student has learned, and provides some essential skills, such as writing, problem-solving, and reasoning, in addition to those specialized IT and cloud skills that are required in these types of positions. In conjunction with this, today’s students also need certifications, which represent professional level subject mastery and experience with the content matter. Today’s certifications are more than objective-based memorization types of assessments. These certifications allow the student to perform in simulation-based scenarios where they need to fully understand the concepts and be able to synthesize their learning into actually delivered output. This is what is necessary for today’s cloud computing roles. Because of this, these students need access to actual cloud environments and services to gain the insight and experience they need to properly function as a professional in the field.

In alignment with how technology has created specializations in an ever-changing world, cloud computing is experiencing the same type of career opportunity growth that is becoming very popular and highly sought after in the industry. Unlike other careers that pinhole a person into an industry, cloud computing can be found globally in every industry imaginable. This is driving people who have followed an alternate career path to decide to retool their education and become a part of one of the fastest-growing industries as they couple their existing skills with newly defined cloud computing skills, readying themselves to work in IT within their native career field. For example, many healthcare professionals are finding this to be an advantageous shift as they look for a less physically demanding career choice while still being able to utilize their knowledge of the healthcare field. This makes them fundamentally more valuable than someone coming in with only the IT skills while needing to learn the industry-specific knowledge that is necessary to be functional. Overall, careers in cloud computing are experiencing rapid growth as people flock to these learning opportunities from a wide variety of industries and backgrounds. This is creating great diversity as people are finding themselves on the pathway to rewarding careers in every type of industry. Like so many careers in technology, cloud computing offers a wide variety of specializations from which to choose, and people are finding their way to these careers through college degrees, certifications, and experience.