Reskilling IT workers for the cloud

The global job market has seen dramatic changes. Competition for highly skilled IT workers is fierce, especially those experienced in public cloud and complex multicloud and hybrid cloud environments. A Gartner study published in late 2020 estimates that through 2022, more than 50% of infrastructure and operations organizations will fail to meet company cloud adoption goals due to a lack of in-house skills and experience.

Enterprises across the globe are finding it harder than ever to find the right cloud skills in-house. To successfully reskill their workforce, they need to put in place a compete program that covers training, new team environments, new ways of working and close relationships with cloud partners.

Here’s a look at five ways you can reskill your employees for the cloud:

Embrace online learning platforms. The move to remote working provides more opportunities for workers to improve their skills online. Workers do not need to take time commuting, for example, so they can focus on gaining new skills remotely via online learning platforms. Also, the cloud is a great enabler for learning about the cloud – there are cloud-scale learning platforms available now that are able to reach many more people at a much larger scale than ever before.

Restructure your teams. One management technique is to have a team of 10 people structured to be composed of two senior-level professionals, four mid-level workers, and four junior, entry-level people. As your entry-level people advance to mid-level skills, you rotate a new set of entry-level people into the team. Those entry-level workers can learn from other members of the squad.

You can’t just train someone and throw them out on their own. If they work with more highly trained individuals, they tend to learn faster and acquire more applicable, real-world knowledge faster.

Leverage cloud provider resources. Each of the hyperscalers provides access to valuable training resources and detailed information on certification levels and exams. Good examples include the AWS Training and Certification site, Microsoft Learn for Azure and Google Cloud training.

Help workers broaden their horizons. Entry-level workers should be much more broadly aware of what is going on with the business than IT workers of the past. In a traditional IT environment, you had server people, network people, applications people, database people and performance people. Those lines are completely blurred in a cloud environment. Today’s cloud professional needs a much broader set of tools and the ability to essentially go full stack, and any training should be conducted in such a way that the worker has an overarching picture of how their skills contribute to the overall success of an organization.

Develop triple-threat employees. Besides technical skills, the behavioral factors of employees are key. When retraining people for the cloud environment, keep in mind there is deep value for IT workers that are a triple threat. That is, technical proficiency (development and coding and in some cases math and statistics), domain knowledge (such as financial services or manufacturing) and communications skills.

Storytelling helps people in IT engage and evangelize people in the business. Telling the right story can improve the success of technology projects and decisions about the best approach to take. You can do all of the requirements and analytics work possible, but if you can’t create a story at the end that is compelling enough to change somebody’s mind, then all that work could be for naught.

Near-term and long-term advice

Bear in mind that reskilling for the cloud is a journey that takes time, so immediate needs for highly skilled resources can be met by an experienced managed services provider with expertise across the Enterprise Technology Stack. Not only can a managed services provider bring skilled resources, but also specialized capabilities such as intelligent automation, application modernization and domain knowledge for specific industries. Managed services providers can quickly introduce new talent and help overcome business transformation challenges related to organizational silos, inefficient processes and engrained behaviors.

Also, be mindful that the level of worker expertise is dynamic and changes with time. The team members exist as a living system with skill levels and experience changing as time goes on and each interacting with one another in different ways to address the competition. As expertise changes and team members change, you need to have a clear view of what types of knowledge are needed for your organization and it is imperative to be effective at marshalling resources where they are needed most.

Helping people obtain the skills needed to thrive in a cloud environment requires a lot of development. Through it all, when reskilling workers for the cloud, a primary goal is to have IT workers whose skills go beyond just technical prowess; reskilled workers should be fully rounded and possess the business savvy to help solve problems while being aware of how cloud technologies fit into your organization’s operational success.

 

 

James Miller is DXC Technology’s chief technology officer and vice president for Cloud and Platform Services. He builds key client relationships, advises senior leadership on technology trends and initiatives, and provides oversight and thought leadership to grow both DXC and our customers’ businesses. Previously, Jim was a Fellow and industry chief technologist for manufacturing, automotive, aerospace and defense, and strategic accounts at Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

 

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  1. Interesting point of view!

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