Is Your Organization Ready for Cloud Transformation?

Organizations need to be willing to support the upskilling and reskilling of their technologists if they want to win at cloud computing.

Is Your Organization Ready for Cloud Transformation?

The cloud industry has experienced a boom in growth this year. Research from Gartner suggests that global spending on public cloud services in 2022 will exceed $480 billion, a 22 percent increase from last year alone.

Increased reliance on cloud computing means that organizations across all industries need to begin investing resources in refining their cloud infrastructure. As more companies commit money, talent, and time towards their cloud programs, it becomes necessary to ensure that there is a return on cloud investments.

True cloud mastery cannot be achieved without a skilled cloud workforce. Here’s how to make sure your organization is ready for cloud transformation through workforce development.

Upskilling in the Cloud Has Never Been More Important

For organizations that are just getting started implementing their cloud programs, the need to train their developers in cloud technologies is imminent. More than likely, engineers and developers will be learning the cloud while they are migrating to the cloud.

What makes this “learn as you go” approach challenging is the incredible speed at which cloud technologies are developing. This accelerated development has caused challenges for technologists across organizations, contributing to a growing cloud skills gap.

The result of cloud skills gaps is bottlenecks, delays in product shipping, and abandonment of key strategic initiatives altogether. Without immediate attention and dedicated upskilling efforts, this cloud skills gap will not close anytime soon.

Organizations that have not yet explored the benefits of cloud migration will likely realize the economic imperative of doing so. Research from McKinsey suggests that there is around $1 trillion from cloud computing up for grabs across Fortune 500 companies this year. The organizations that seize this opportunity and adopt cloud-first will reap most of those fiscal benefits.

Though the cloud skills gap can seem daunting for any organization beginning its cloud journey, it is essential to develop programmatic solutions to upskilling that help your technologists gain the skills and confidence they need to accelerate your cloud transformation.

Cloud Skills You Should Be Teaching your Technologists

Many organizations that have already begun their cloud journeys will move from focusing on cloud implementation and adoption to honing their organization’s cloud maturity in the coming months. However, honing your technologists’ fundamental cloud skills should still be a top priority.

Developers who can master the basics of cloud computing, ensuring that their organization’s cloud infrastructure is secure and stable, are invaluable. The first task in any cloud upskilling program should be mastering the principles of a well architected framework for cloud computing. This includes multiple availability zones, auto-scaling, minimal blast radius, and least privileges.

As your organization gets further along in their cloud maturity, it becomes important to take a more proactive approach to your cloud strategy. That includes focusing on cloud security, governance and cost management, migration, containers, and configuration and automation. These higher-level considerations for the cloud will help ensure that your organization takes a holistic approach to its cloud journey.

The nature of cloud technologies is constantly evolving. As the prioritization of cloud continues to grow, more emphasis will be placed on composable applications – and architectural principles – due to the agility they enable. Additionally, since API development is at the heart of composability, API development and cloud services like Amazon API Gateway and AWS AppSync, both used for API development, will likely grow in popularity.

How to Transform your Cloud Workforce

Cloud transformation – like any workforce transformation – does not happen overnight. However, talent shortages in the tech industry have made it particularly difficult for organizations to keep pace with cloud innovations.

Rather than adopting a mindset that you need to hire the “right” talent to complete your cloud transformation, you should instead focus on how to train your existing workforce into cloud fluency. At Pluralsight, we have become fond of the idea that organizations should focus on being creators rather than consumers of talent. The goal here is to look internally for the tech talent you seek.

When it comes to developing cloud skills within your organization, this approach means that you must foster continuous learning opportunities for your technologists so they can stay updated on the latest cloud skills. By offering training opportunities that allow your technologists to upskill on the job, your organization will begin to see steady progress toward your cloud goals.

One of the most impactful things that organizations can do to enable their technologists to become cloud-ready is to allow time and space for on-the-job, daily learning in order to keep pace with the ever-changing world of the cloud. There is a range of online learning options for cloud skills.

Online courses in cloud fundamentals, AWS concepts, and mastering AWS architecture are great resources for continuous cloud learning. As I mentioned, it is a reality for many developers and IT professionals that cloud learning will happen concurrently with cloud migration and adoption. These on-demand courses can help technologists brush up on their cloud skills so that they can implement them immediately.

In my experience, some of the best cloud learning opportunities implement hands-on learning experiences – like cloud sandboxes and learning labs – to let technologists learn by doing. These tactile learning experiences can be incredibly powerful for building skills and helping troubleshoot and solve problems in different cloud scenarios.

The Takeaway

Organizations need to be willing to support the upskilling and reskilling of their technologists if they want to win at cloud computing – or in any other fast-growing technology sector. Individuals cannot be expected to close their cloud skills gap if they have no institutional support. This means that organizations must provide access to learning resources, allot dedicated time for employee upskilling, and tie learning and development to business outcomes. Ensuring that your organization invests in tech skills development – especially within the cloud – will be an essential practice for years to come.

Drew Firment
Drew Firment is SVP of Cloud Transformation at A Cloud Guru, a Pluralsight Company. He works closely with business and technology leaders to accelerate cloud adoption by migrating talent to the cloud. Drew was previously Director of Cloud Engineering at Capital One where he led enterprise cloud operations within their Cloud Center of Excellence and migrated the early adopters of Amazon Web Services (AWS) into production. He founded Capital One’s cloud engineering college that drove a large-scale talent transformation, and earned a patent for measuring cloud adoption and maturity. Drew is recognized by Amazon as an AWS Community Hero for his ongoing efforts to build inclusive and sustainable learning communities.