The top five in-demand cloud skills for 2017

Financial results for the fourth quarter of 2016 reveals massive growth for the top cloud providers. With 47% and 93% revenue growth for Amazon AWS and Microsoft respectively, one thing is clear – cloud is growing at a breakneck pace. Enterprises and small businesses will continue to adopt and invest in cloud technology. But the rapid expansion of cloud has created a skills gap; there’s a lack of qualified cloud professionals. To support this growing demand, businesses require skilled cloud professionals. Take advantage of this opportunity and expand your cloud skill set; how many of these in-demand skills do you possess?

Database and big data

It’s estimated that 80% of the world’s data is ‘dark’ – collected and stored by computers, but invisible and unusable to organisations. Big data systems – delivered through the cloud – are starting to tap into this potential resource and the sector is predicted to grow at a rate of 60% annually, report IDC. Experts argue that cloud will be the place where enterprise databases live – “The cloud is going to be the destination for a lot of this big data moving forward” says Jeff Kelly, big data expert at Wikibon. Businesses need somewhere to store and access their data, which is now increasingly hosted in the public cloud. There are an abundance of cloud database services, provided by small and large cloud providers. As organisations continue to migrate databases to the cloud, professionals should familiarise themselves with how these platforms work.

Application security

As cyber threats become more complex and the number of businesses using the cloud attracts larger numbers of cyber criminals, cloud professionals must be increasingly vigilant when developing applications for the cloud. The lack of thought given to security built into publicly used applications is a huge weakness, one that can be exploited by cyber criminals. “On average there are now 777 cloud apps in use in European organisations, but 94.4% of these apps are not enterprise-ready from a security standpoint” states Eduard Meelhuysen, VP at cloud security firm Netskope. Software developers must understand the security threats to software developed for cloud. It is ultimately the developer’s responsibility to ensure the security and compliance of their Azure applications. Plus, when EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is introduced in 2018, Azure application security must improve or businesses will risk up to £17 million in fines. However, with only 2% of cloud applications ready for GDPR, there’s a massive amount of work ahead for cloud professionals. If you need to develop your security skills – or prove them to potential employers – consider attaining (ISC)2’s Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP) certification. This high-level certification is co-developed by the Cloud Security Alliance and provides an in-depth look at cloud application security.

Enterprise cloud migration

It’s not just small businesses that are migrating to the cloud, commercial enterprises are doing it too, and at an increasingly rapid rate. Nearly 77% companies relied on traditional IT infrastructure in 2015. As large businesses migrate to cloud-based infrastructure, this number is likely to drop down to 43% in 2018, according to a report from MicKinsey’s Silicon Valley group. But enterprises migrating their applications and services to the cloud continue to face roadblocks. Cloud migration challenges are among the top constraints for IT, according to a survey from Frost & Sullivan. The cloud may offer some automated features, but migration is not one of them. This means that enterprises typically rely on customised, professional services from partners or providers. Businesses require cloud professionals with the knowledge to oversee migration projects in an organised and secure way.

Containers

The cloud computing industry has witnessed a surge in the use of containers, a more agile and secure alternative to VMs, designed to virtualise a single application. Containers are an ingenious way to develop and deploy micro-services, especially for cloud-based apps. Whilst arguably not a career-defining skill for most, knowledge of containers is becoming increasingly important for cloud professionals. 81% of businesses suggested that they will increase use of containers in the future, according to a survey from Robin Systems. Interestingly, 40% of respondents also said they had already deployed big data applications tools, like Spark and Hadoop in their containers. Containers promise to make operations more portable and efficient. Impressively, the application container market will grow from £610 million in 2016 to £2.17 billion by 2020. Containers will be used for deploying solutions to solve real-world business problems. Companies will use them to provide new services that are secure, efficient, elastic, and scalable, says Anand Krishnan, EVP and GM of cloud at Canonical

Cloud enterprise application development

As more businesses launch public and private cloud initiatives, the importance of application development and testing in the cloud is increasing. If applied properly, the cloud provides faster application development and can facilitate DevOps style collaboration. Other benefits include: using cloud features with minimal coding, reducing development time, and creating realistic distributed testing for application life cycle management.

Source: Alex Bennett – Cloud Computing News

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