The skills every cloud practitioner needs in 2024

As more and more data are collected, data storage, protection and management are more important than ever – and cloud computing seems to be the ultimate solution. Moving to the cloud has become essential for businesses to be able to store and access a large quantity of data more quickly, easily and securely – and ultimately increase productivity and growth.

However, although Pluralsight’s 2023 State of Cloud report reveals that almost 70% of organisations in EMEA have more than half of their infrastructure in the cloud, only 23% are driving customer value with their cloud strategies. It is clear that adopting cloud computing is not enough to achieve the strategic advantages companies are looking for.

For businesses not reaping the long-term results of cloud adoption, many are struggling with a lack of cloud skills amongst the workforce. And not many are tackling this head on – in fact, only 8% of businesses in EMEA have established a dedicated cloud skills development program. While implementing the right technology is a good first step, it must be paired with investment in upskilling to close the cloud skills gap and truly accelerate business outcomes.

Here are five skills gaps that any technologist working with the cloud must close for their company’s cloud strategy to be successful:

Navigating the threat landscape with cloud security skills

Our research shows that the number one challenge faced by cloud leaders and technologists is making sure the technology is used securely, with 22% of EMEA businesses reporting security concerns and constraints. While cloud security is an absolute priority to avoid experiencing a cyber-attack, which risks slowing down growth, cloud security skills still feature amongst the most in-demand skills.

Being an expert in cloud technology shouldn’t stop anyone from learning continuously and building new skills. In today’s ever-changing threat landscape, it can be hard to keep pace with the latest forms of attacks. As such, even expert cloud engineers must familiarise themselves with the foundational principles of cybersecurity. Leaders among all industries are growing more alert when it comes to data breaches and the overall security of their technical systems, and building the right cybersecurity skills has become key. Additionally, the two most prominent factors in cloud data breaches are misconfigured access restrictions and inadequately secured cloud systems – roadblocks that can be alleviated with heavier cybersecurity training for every single employee.

A solid cloud strategy requires data analytics, storage, and management skills

Just like cybersecurity, proficiency in data skills is absolutely essential to implementing better cloud strategies. Businesses are facing more complex attacks as new technologies such as AI are emerging, and technologists are increasingly aware of data breaches as a result. One of the best solutions is the upkeep of data processes and practices. A higher level of analytical experience leads to more efficiency in finding patterns in data, making strategic decisions, and generating value through optimised system performance.

On top of these skills, knowledge and experience in data storage and management allows technologists to build reliable and expandible cloud infrastructures. Overall, helping all workers further develop their data skills is necessary to maintain cloud security as well as increase durability in cloud solutions.

The importance of proficiency in software engineering and development

The third cloud-focused skill gap that organisations need to close is software engineering and development knowledge. Software development skills are key to building structured and systematic approaches to cloud strategy. All employees, not only cloud practitioners, need a strong foundation in software development to understand how each cloud solution is built and used to its full potential. Those skilled in software engineering and development have the tools they need to support adaptable cloud solutions, enabling organisations to unlock long-term benefits rather than only focusing on short-term adoption goals.

Don’t forget about DevOps and programming skills

4.

While knowing the basics of software engineering and development benefits cloud engineers as they work to build solutions, going one step further and acquiring DevOps and programming skills is key to encouraging collaboration, automation, and ultimately building a more efficient cloud system. Additionally, these tools assist engineers in simplifying their building methods, fostering a system better fit for changes in the market. Advanced familiarity with programming languages even helps with customisation in systems and allows for a smoother transition when integrating new systems – all factors that can boost competitive advantages, accelerate processes and drive growth.

Last but not least is system administration

5.

The fifth and final skill gap that businesses need to close is centred around system administration and dexterity in cloud infrastructure. Possessing the skills to manage servers, networks, and storage resources is fundamental to maintaining high-performing and reliable cloud strategies. Cloud practitioners should be able to work proactively to both identify and resolve any issues – only then will they ensure an optimised cloud environment and increase efficiency.

In addition to increased speed and reliability, expertise in SysAdmin can support cost-effective cloud solutions by lowering expenses through a highly adaptive and accessible approach to building the infrastructure.

Upskilling is key to building a solid long-term strategy

While businesses are increasingly adopting cloud technology to drive efficiency, increase customer value and boost innovation capabilities, the cloud skills gap remains an issue. Only 13% of organisations have established a dedicated cloud team, as business leaders tend to prioritise rapid adoption of the technology over truly mastering the technology to bring value. Most organisations don’t know how to translate embracing cloud technology into a solid plan that leads to the desired long-term outcomes.

One word is key in every cloud strategy: upskilling. Only with the right skills will companies using the cloud be able to unlock the full benefits of this powerful technology. While business leaders might assume those working with cloud technology already know how to use it efficiently, this is not necessarily the case. Continuous learning remains key to closing all employees’ cloud-focused skills gaps, keeping pace with technological advancements such as emerging technologies, driving success, and moving securely and efficiently towards a cloud-centric future.

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Drew Firment, Chief Cloud Strategist at Pluralsight

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