Looking to fast-track your career? Think ‘cloud’

Marc Thaler

Many CIOs began their careers as IT administrators, a process that took years, sometimes decades. Cloud computing in its various forms offers an unprecedented way for admins to fast-track their careers.

By driving your company to the cloud, you can transform and ease your own workload, and use that time to reinvent yourself.

The move to the cloud is inevitable. Of course, not everything will move, but a large swath of computing has and will continue to make this transition. That is true for IT tools as well.

Research house IDC reported that IT services provided over the public cloud is a $47.4 billion market today. By 2017, that revenue is predicted to more than double to $107 billion. The cloud is also taking over a good chunk of spending. Growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23.5%, the cloud is expanding at a rate five times of that of the overall IT industry.

One way you can drive the move to the cloud is to start with the tools you use on a daily basis. IT security and management tools are all available as cloud services. Here you gain several benefits:

  • The costs move from capital expenditure (CAPEX) to operational expenditure (OPEX).
  • You don’t have to buy and support the hardware infrastructure to run the software.
  • Most tools are automatically updated without the admin’s intervention.

Those things alone free IT staff from a lot of grunt work.

More importantly, the cloud alters how these tools are used. IT can access these tools without sitting in front of a PC attached to the local area network (LAN). Mobile devices or remote systems can access the tools using a web interface. What makes this all the better is the fact that the cloud is kind of fun; it focuses far more on delivering features and functions than the nuts and bolts of how these functions are supported. And that makes the cloud easier to learn.

The best approach is to first learn what makes sense for your company, enabling you to identify which decisions will have the most impact. Perhaps you have an in-house Exchange email system that is a bear to maintain, or needs an expensive hardware and software upgrade. You can be the one to investigate how and why to move this to the cloud. And lead that change.

Such a move is good for your employer, but it will also help you in the short and long terms. In fact, according to a job wanted analysis from WANTED Analytics, the demand for cloud experts has quadrupled in recent years. And one of the areas of expertise that’s most in demand is network administration. Systems engineers are also in high demand.

Some cloud skills you very likely already have. The cloud is based, in large measure, on virtualization. And most IT teams have at least virtualized a good measure of their servers, if not their desktops as well. And of course, getting to the cloud requires a reliable high-performance wireless area network (WAN), an area most admins know as well.

You also need good business skills. For the transition to the cloud to work, you have to pick the right vendors, negotiate and craft appropriate contracts, and then manage these vendor relationships. These skills will increase your value to an organization even more.

The move to the cloud opens up numerous opportunities for hard-working, career-focused individuals. If you’re looking for a quicker ascent up the career ladder, start thinking cloud today.