Tech jobs of tomorrow: cloud computing

Whether you’re hiring or applying for new roles in emerging technologies, it’s important to know where tech is headed and how companies are adapting hiring and skilling strategies.

We’ve culled a few insights from the World Economic Forum’s The Future of Jobs Report to get you up to speed on what you need to know about the tech jobs of tomorrow. This article on cloud computing is the third in a four-part series, with two previous editions on blockchain and machine learning and an upcoming report on big data.

Cloud computing: A key enabler for digital transformation

When it comes to digital transformation, one technology is poised as a key enabler in supporting business agility and innovation: cloud computing.

According to Forrester, “cloud computing will firmly establish itself as the foundation of tomorrow’s enterprise application platforms.” In this way, a solid cloud computing strategy acts as the “gateway technology” for companies to feel comfortable and confident adopting other emerging technologies in the years to come.

More than half of companies have already implemented public or private cloud solutions, according to IDG’s State of Digital Business Transformation report, led only slightly by big data and mobile technology. IDG also expects cloud computing’s role to grow over the coming years, with many companies adopting a “cloud-only” approach for new systems.

Like each of the technologies listed in The Future of Jobs Report, cloud computing will drive job change across a range of industries. Overcoming workforce skills gaps is a top job-related concern as technology leaders grapple with this increased demand for cloud.

Cloud computing’s impact across industries

Cloud computing will be a strategic driver of new business models over the next three years, with 72% of companies reporting that they’re likely to adopt cloud solutions by 2022. (That’s in line with the 73% of companies who plan to implement machine learning technology by 2022 as mentioned in the previous edition of this series, again signaling these two crucial technologies as deep wells of opportunity for a large majority of companies.)

Industries who most anticipate adopting cloud computing by 2022 include information and communications technology (at 91% of companies in this industry expecting to adopt), aviation, travel and tourism (79%) and oil and gas (78%).

Changing roles and new jobs in cloud computing

Cloud computing is changing IT job roles in a number of ways, as automation becomes the default and business models shift to accommodate digital-first strategies. As a backbone to support these new models, companies are continuing to adopt DevOps practices, requiring developers and IT operations teams alike to learn new skills.  

Going forward, nimble teams will be expected to understand a range of cloud platforms as well as automation, orchestration, configuration management and security — all while adapting software development processes for as-a-service applications and continual delivery cycles. Further, with the increased convergence of teams into multifunctional units, the need for soft skills like communication and collaboration will become much more important.

Across the three leading sectors, aviation, travel and tourism face the largest reskilling challenges, with 68% of the workforce in that sector anticipating some length of training to adapt to cloud computing and other emerging technologies, and according to The Future of Jobs Report, 18% are expecting more than a year of retraining and reskilling.

Meanwhile, the information and communications technology industry as well as the oil and gas industry report that half of its workforce will need some level of reskilling.

What’s next for cloud computing?

Driving value from cloud computing calls for strong planning and ongoing reskilling to deliver results. When building short- and long-term cloud computing strategies, here are three industry-specific considerations to keep in mind:


Cloud computing in information and communications technology

For companies in information and communications technology, advances in cloud computing ranks as the second highest trend driving industry growth.

Cloud computing will be instrumental and become the foundation of automation in all of its forms, especially as machine learning revolutionizes the way digital information is filtered, catalogued, disseminated and consumed.

Companies in this industry that hope to compete on the machine learning front (consider chat bots, for example) will need to ensure they have a solid, dependable cloud framework in place.


Cloud computing in aviation, travel and tourism

While barely making the top ten list of trends driving innovation in the aviation, travel and tourism sector, cloud computing will be adopted by nearly eight out of 10 businesses in the industry by 2022. This supports the idea of cloud technology as an under-the-radar, but core enabler, of business operations for this industry.

According to a recent World Economic Forum white paper, “cloud computing offer(s) companies the opportunity to radically reinvent their operations,” and “create agile organizations in which innovation can flourish.”

We can expect cloud to enable a host of fundamental and necessary advancements in this space, including creating a more seamless and personalized travel experience for consumers, and delivering better security across national and international ports and borders, among others.


Cloud computing in oil and gas

Advances in cloud technology are the leading trend driving growth for the oil and gas industry, according to The Future of Jobs Report. Cloud computing is already a mainstay for companies as they seek to increase intelligence and automation capabilities to improve services and drive revenue growth.

Significant and distributed computational power is needed to support data analytics in the field and deliver the insights needed to increase efficiency, the key to improving margins in this sector. Cloud technology could also support evolving seismic imaging technologies to improve well monitoring or make development drilling more accurate and cost efficient.

To be successful as they plan for the jobs, roles and skills they’ll need in the future, companies must understand and believe in the opportunities created through technology. They must also have a pulse on the key skills gaps in both the local labor market and their leadership team, and employ flexible hiring practices to attract and retain the best talent. And no matter what happens, you can expect cloud technology to be at the center of that evolution.