Who is responsible for closing the cloud skills gap?

  • Fresh data from an Aviatrix study found the cloud talent gap is still a huge problem for enterprises

  • Upskilling is a short term solution for enterprises, but a more holistic approach is needed

  • Regardless of approach, the rapidly changing cloud landscape makes it hard to keep up with which skills are needed

Like a cockroach crawling behind the walls of a beautiful home, a skills gap lurks just outside the cloud paradise Amazon, Microsoft and Google have built. But who is responsible for squashing the problem – the great tech landlords who want enterprises to make a home in their data centers, or the enterprises themselves?

The fact that a skills gap exists is pretty much common knowledge by now, but fresh data from Aviatrix drives the point home. The cloud networking vendor surveyed more than 400 respondents in security, cloud and networking roles and found nearly two thirds (62.6%) reported their company struggled to hire the necessary talent to support cloud initiatives. And 65.7% said they had difficulty finding the right resources to learn about high-demand skills.

Those statistics have practical implications. A lack of in-house talent was cited as the number one obstacle to deploying cloud-based technology, with 49% of respondents flagging it as an issue. Lack of training was also high on the list (44.7%), beating out infamous multi-cloud interoperability issues (43.5%).

Building a next-gen workforce

So, who is responsible for solving the problem?

Aviatrix put the onus on organizations, encouraging them to prioritize training and certification programs to upskill their teams. Indeed, Arthur D. Little Principal Hariprasad Pichai told Silverlinings short-term efforts “almost always includes a mix of upskilling frontline staff and external support in a tight labor market.” But he added companies should also “think about aligning technology teams to new ways of working in a cloud-first mindset.”

Cloud providers are also pitching in. Amazon Web Services launched its Skills to Jobs initiative last year, while Microsoft has its Skills for Jobs and Power Up programs and Google Cloud has Skills Boost

An AWS spokesperson told Silverlinings that since launching Skills to Jobs last year in the U.S., Egypt and Spain, the company has expanded the program to three more countires - Italy, Germany and Singapore - to meet demand. 

Pichai said such industry certification programs “need to be complemented with jobs-to-done upskilling, placing the onus back on the organization to rethink their operating models and talent issues.”

Longer-term, Pichai said structural fixes might include revamping curricula in technical and higher education institutions, with input from industry players.

Basically, closing the skills gap needs to be a joint effort supported by cloud providers, enterprises and educational institutions, Pichai said. The AWS spokesperson agreed.

Another key to success, according to AWS? Ensuring job seekers can "talk about the skills they have learned and how they have applied them through jobs, internships or project based work."

But Pichai noted there’s one more factor that makes the cloud skills gap hard to close: rapidly changing requirements.

“The cloud skills gap has been a moving goalpost with the need to train different types of people with more advanced skills,” he concluded. “Skills needs have evolved from cloud migration and routine IT tasks towards more automation, analytics, enterprise observability and security.”

You can bet artificial intelligence (AI) skills will be part of that mix soon too. Better get learning.