What’s your plan for the cloud skills gap?


Guess what? 95% of IT decision-makers say their team has been negatively impacted by the cloud skills gap. If that’s not bad enough news, by 2030, more than 85 million roles could remain vacant because there aren’t enough skilled people to fill them.

Of course, these are not new figures. We’ve been hemorrhaging skills for the past 15 years, and the advent of cloud computing—and now the resurgence of AI—has made things worse, thanks to several factors:

  • The rapid evolution and expansion of cloud technologies have outpaced the workforce’s ability to acquire the necessary skills.
  • Cloud computing is one of the most sought-after skills, and demand is outpacing supply.
  • Traditional learning methods are often siloed and do not adequately prepare the workforce with the diverse and cross-functional skills needed for cloud computing.
  • The exploding interest in AI drives many to deploy AI systems to cloud computing platforms.

Just give up?

Although this is a challenge for many IT organizations, it’s not unsolvable. The trick is to begin planning well ahead of need. Most enterprises don’t do this. Instead, they react to tactical needs and thus enter a market without a good game plan for finding the important skills.

This leads to settling for lower-quality workers who are more likely to make critical mistakes that drive down the value of cloud computing deployment. Indeed, much of the repatriation movement has been driven by IT relying on less-than-skilled cloud computing architects and developers. Enterprises are cleaning up those mistakes now, but the mistakes never should have been made in the first place.

IT leadership, working with HR, needs to get creative in how they upskill and hire. IT professionals must stay current with the latest developments to bridge the knowledge gap, and companies must plan ahead enough to ramp up training and hiring. Today’s reactionary approaches won’t cut it in terms of finding the skills you need in time to utilize them effectively.

Projects are being delayed, and worse, companies are settling for less desirable candidates. In some cases, recruiters are earning bonuses for just filling a seat rather than finding someone who can do the job effectively. What happens after a few more years when we’ve got even more failures?

Making it work

Two types of enterprises are successfully dealing with the skills shortage. One group sees it as a global market reality that they have little power to fix. The second group is taking a proactive stance and figuring things out despite the challenges. Which one do you want to be?

Automation can alleviate the burden on IT staff and reduce the need for specialized skills; it should be used wherever possible. However, the notion that AI and application development, operations, and data management automation will save you is not based on reality.

Instead, automation should be used to augment existing tasks, making skilled workers more productive. For example, automating testing, operations, and security processes frees people up to apply their skills to bigger issues. This increases productivity and allows IT to do more with fewer resources.

How to proceed

Those who will win the skills acquisition game are investing money in solving this problem. They are spending on training, hiring ahead of need, recruiting more junior-level workers who can be trained and mentored, finding mentors, and investing in executives who know how to do all this. It also means spending about 40% more on non-productive upskilling, which will lead to more productivity.

Boards and C-levels often need help understanding how these issues should be resolved. Instead, they are focusing on the utilization number and the percentage of IT spending related to “industry standards.”

These shortsighted, tactically focused companies will die the death of a thousand cuts and not understand how it happened. The short answer is that they did not make skill acquisition a priority. Now they are unable to keep up, and they lack innovation. They are otherwise screwed. I suspect you don’t want to be that company. You have some choices to make.

Copyright © 2024 IDG Communications, Inc.



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