IT infrastructures have been seen as being inflexible, large, and costly — and manpower-intensive. But now, cloud computing and virtualization have turned the idea of a data center on its head. Server instances can be configured in minutes as opposed to waiting days or weeks, and these infrastructures can be modified quickly to fit changing business needs.
To work more efficiently with these flexibilities, IT pros need to learn some new skills. Whether these skills involve working alongside the cloud and virtualization movement or the data center’s shift toward software, network engineers and storage administrators have made shifts in developing their skill sets.
When considering any career in this new wave of software-defined technology, it’s important to be developing the right skills to work with cloud computing, virtualization, or data centers.
Go Hybrid with Your Skills
Virtualization, cloud computing, and data center skills are converging due to the rise in hybrid data center environments. As a result, data center managers must learn how to work with and manage a combination of on- and off-premise services from cloud vendors.
Some key phrases used in job postings within this field include:
- Emotional intelligence
Although traditional data center skills aren’t going by the wayside, there is a greater need to enhance those skills with the ability to manage a cloud and virtualization vendor. To illustrate, it is critical to have the types of infrastructure skills that cover a wide range of disciplines such as:
The experience and background required for the contemporary data center go beyond traditional roles. In addition, there is a huge demand for people who understand energy management and how that contributes to the applications — along with the work they are executing.
If you can become an expert Jack-and-Jill-of-all-trades, then you’ll have no issue finding an employer. In fact, many IT pros are being trained to gain competence within a wider set of tasks.
Here are some of the skills IT operations managers look for in potential hires:
The Software-Centered Skills Gap
As you are probably well aware, many established data centers now rely on virtualization. It’s become increasingly easy to take a hardware-filled data center and define it with software. So, it is important to understand how virtualization improves efficiencies along with the benefits provided by cloud-native applications.
According to Gartner, public cloud spending through 2020 is expected to reach $216 billion. Network engineers must have a comprehension of how to manage a true hybrid infrastructure that uses virtualization and cloud technologies to streamline and simplify IT capabilities.
This is about enhancing an established data center with complementary technologies and third-party applications. This also includes support for application development. Yet, there is a caveat: The available skill sets have not yet met the rapid expansion of the cloud.
In other words: There is a skills gap.
Based on a report from McKinsey’s Silicon Valley group, only 43 percent of companies will rely on a traditional IT infrastructure by 2018. When migrating to the cloud, companies need professionals who can manage migration projects in an effective and secure way.
There must also be an alignment of new and existing technologies to continually meet the organization’s current business needs. Furthermore, they need professionals who can learn to run clouds and applications in clouds.
Specializations Aren’t Dead, They’ve Just Changed
There was a time when companies wanted IT pros to be experts at everything. This shifted to a desire for specialists in Linux, Windows, the data center, and other platforms. But now there has been a convergence. IT pros are once again heavily favored by potential employers if they are certified in working with virtualization, cloud computing, and data center technologies.
Even as an increasing number of data centers migrate to the cloud — and become more software-centered — many are still hybrids with varying technologies working in conjunction to suit the overall needs of the business.
Since IT is composed of so many moving pieces, professionals must have the ability to lead organizations toward a software-based data center and world. As a result, organizations want individuals who bring diverse skill sets and have a greater impact on business processes.
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