Navigating complex cloud infrastructures amid growing skills shortage

Navigating complex cloud infrastructures amid growing skills shortage

As cloud infrastructures become more complex, it’s important for organizations to close the skills gap with training and tech investments.

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The technical skills gap continues to widen, as evidenced by a recent report by The Linux Foundation, which found that 92% of organizations are struggling to hire talent with sufficient cloud computing skills. This has created a challenge for many organizations looking to modernize.

Furthermore, the same report found that 91% of organizations that have deployed cloud-based technologies leverage Kubernetes, resulting in a 455% increase in the demand for Kubernetes certifications. Similarly, a survey of IT leaders conducted by Red Hat found that the adoption of emerging cloud-based technologies is increasing, with 71% implementing edge computing and 68% deploying container technology.

While the benefits of these technologies merit enterprises’ attention, implementing them have made cloud and IT architectures significantly more complex, especially as more organizations adopt distributed cloud architectures. As a result, the scope of work for IT and DevOps teams have expanded beyond what is normally within their purview.

With Gartner predicting that over 95% of enterprises will deploy workloads on cloud-native platforms by 2025, the talent shortage will remain a key issue for organizations to tackle in the coming years. Those that are slow to hire adequately skilled professionals will miss out on opportunities to innovate and improve the customer experience—putting them at risk of losing market share to their competitors.

What the talent shortage means for businesses

Recent research revealed that data professionals are experiencing a 63% increase in data volumes per month at their organizations. To properly manage, store, analyze and secure this data, organizations should turn to cloud-based services. However, businesses are struggling to hire new technical talent, bringing advancements with cloud technologies to a halt.

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The cloud skills talent shortage and simultaneous need for modernization can put organizations in an endless loop of missed opportunities and setbacks. The need to innovate is recognizable but is not entirely achievable. That’s why many organizations often turn to existing teams to help onboard new technologies, even if the responsibilities for doing so are outside of the team’s scope of work.

The impacts of the skills shortage on DevOps and IT teams

In addition to deploying applications and ensuring optimal performance, IT and DevOps teams are now responsible for securing infrastructures; understanding when and how to implement and leverage AI, serverless, microservices and container technologies; understanding how to deploy, operate and manage complex hybrid and multicloud environments; and understanding when and how to refactor applications among other duties.

Additionally, the skill sets, tooling and processes required for managing public versus private clouds differ substantially. Private clouds fall under an organization’s internal infrastructure, while public clouds are owned by a third-party vendor. Managing a multicloud environment requires different needs than what a DevOps team has bandwidth to provide.

Take Kubernetes adoption, for example: Kubernetes ecosystems require developer teams to manage continuous integration and continuous delivery pipelines. Red Hat also reported that 43% of developers don’t have the necessary skills for adopting containers, and 39% are lacking resources to do so.

Today’s IT and DevOps pros are busy troubleshooting and addressing infrastructure problems, and these new workloads need a new owner. Leaders should build separate teams with modern tools that support the end users’ abilities.

Requirements for bridging the talent gap

To minimize the cloud skills talent gap, leaders should invest in employee training programs. E-learning provides both current and future team members with new opportunities to level up their skill sets.

For example, the Linux Foundation training and certification and the Cloud Native Computing Foundation offer the Kubernetes and Cloud Native Essentials online training course, providing attendees with a deep dive into cloud technologies and details on how Kubernetes can help to implement and maintain them.

A recent report by The Linux Foundation and edX revealed that 92% of managers have reported an increase in employee requests for more training opportunities. Keeping the skills gap top of mind, managers are also prioritizing training investments with more than half of employers leveraging this approach. Further supporting the need for new training programs, 66% of developers reported that employer-sponsored training opportunities are the top benefit to help them succeed in their roles.

In order for training programs to be effective, they must be championed by leaders and upper management. Organizations should also scope training into existing DevOps and IT workloads instead of adding more to their already lengthy to-do lists.

Plus, when it’s time to implement a new cloud-based platform, decision-makers should seek out technologies that interoperate seamlessly and don’t require DevOps to reskill. DevOps pros should be empowered to leverage existing skills instead of having to reinvent the wheel.

Close the skills gap and modernize to future-proof organizations

The demand for cloud-based services isn’t slowing down anytime soon. In fact, research revealed that the cloud is set to represent the majority of IT spend by 2025, with 95% of respondents saying that increased movement of infrastructure to the cloud is “inevitable.”

To future proof organizations, the time to modernize infrastructure is now. Closing the skills gap is a crucial first step in this process, so organizations should hone in on bringing in new qualified and experienced cloud experts, implementing e-learning to uplevel their current team and investing in technologies that leverage industry-wide skills.

Rahul Pradhan
Rahul Pradhan, VP of Product at Couchbase

With over 16 years of experience, Rahul Pradhan is VP of product at Couchbase (NASDAQ: BASE), provider of a leading modern database for enterprise applications that 30% of the Fortune 100 depend on.

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