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Cloud computing trend: Cloud skills in high demand in 2023

Explore the top skills gaps identified by leaders and cloud engineers, including cloud security, architecture, data analytics, and automation.

Jul 12, 2023 • 6 Minute Read

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  • Cloud
  • IT Ops
  • Software Development
  • Data
  • Security
  • Professional Development
  • AI & Machine Learning
  • Learning & Development

More than 90% of organizations use some form of cloud computing service, and 70% say it makes up half of their IT infrastructure. And yet organizations still struggle to see success with their cloud strategies. Why? Their teams don’t have the skills to make their cloud systems efficient, effective, and scalable. 

And it’s not necessarily because the talent doesn’t exist. More than half of technologists report they have experience with one or more cloud platforms. That’s not to say there isn’t still a shortage of cloud talent. There is, but organizations face a larger problem: They don’t know what kind of skills their current (or incoming) cloud engineers need because they lack a comprehensive cloud strategy.

Without that strategy, cloud leaders are flying blind when they try to upskill, reskill, or recruit cloud talent. And when cloud leaders are flying blind, so are their technologists.

Discover more cloud computing trends and insights in Pluralsight’s 2023 State of Cloud report

Cloud strategies determine the cloud talent you need

Cloud strategies provide grounding and purpose to cloud skill development by forcing leaders to think about the specific skills their teams need to succeed in cloud in their organizations. But keeping leaders and technologists on the same page about what skills they should develop and why is an even greater benefit.

Cloud generalists get you started

At the beginning of an organization’s cloud journey, leaders may look for cloud generalists—engineers with a broad understanding of cloud concepts and tools—because they can be cheaper to hire, help make high-level cloud decisions, and collaborate with other technologists because of their broad knowledge in technology. 

But keeping up-to-date on the rapidly changing technologies in and around the cloud takes a lot of time and energy. So these generalists tend to have only surface-level understanding of cloud concepts.

Cloud specialists drive larger business outcomes

As leaders start to develop more mature, outcome-based cloud strategies, the makeup of their cloud teams also needs to change. They need people on their teams with deep knowledge of cloud infrastructure, cloud security, data management, and other specific skills that make cloud systems more effective and efficient and drive towards specific business goals. 

But cloud specialists are few and far between, which means they're expensive. Not to mention, cloud services, best practices, and regulations change so frequently, they have to constantly reskill to keep their specialist skills current.

Dive deeper into the kinds of technical talent and why T-shaped talent is the gold standard

What are the top skills cloud engineers need in 2023?

We asked cloud leaders and technologists about their biggest skills gaps in our 2023 State of Cloud survey. While the top five answers were pretty similar for both groups, they differed in how they’re prioritizing which skills are the most pressing.

Top skills gaps according to leaders

Leaders identify their skills gaps as solutions to larger business problems like security and efficiency.

Top 5 cloud skills gaps according to cloud leaders

1. Cloud security

It’s not surprising that security would top the list for leaders listing their organization’s greatest skills gaps. Leaders across the board (whether in tech or not) are increasingly concerned about the security and integrity of their technical systems. Not only did Pluralsight’s State of Cloud report identify cloud security as one of the biggest challenges organizations face, but a recent Gartner report also identified cloud security as the fastest growing segment within the information security market. 

That concern only increases for leaders thinking about, or who have already implemented, a multicloud structure.

2. Cloud architecture

The next biggest business challenge leaders are trying to solve is the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of their cloud solutions. The best way to increase efficiency, lower costs, and improve accessibility of cloud solutions is at its architectural foundation. When cloud architectures are built right, they can quickly adapt to new services, changing business needs, or new requirements (and without crazy amounts of refactoring). 

3. Data analytics, engineering, and storage

With AI and machine learning taking the business world by storm and data breaches costing organizations millions, leaders are looking for ways to shore up their data processes and practices. But these are fairly expensive roles to fill. The median pay for data administrator or architect roles is $101,000 in the US. And the need for these roles isn’t going away. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 11,500 job openings for data admin and architect roles each year until 2031.

Top skills gaps according to cloud engineers

Where leaders are focused on solving specific business problems, cloud engineers seem to be finding ways to make their lives easier.

Top 5 cloud skills gaps according to cloud engineers

1. Data analytics, engineering, and storage

Data management is an operational beast that continues to grow the more you feed it. Cloud engineers know that building the right data storage solutions and implementing the right analytics systems is key to controlling that beast. Incidentally, it also bolsters security efforts and makes cloud solutions more resilient to industry change. As an added bonus, data skills give them an “in” to the worlds of artificial intelligence and machine learning that currently are blowing up status quo business models.

2. Automation and DevOps

Cloud engineers are embracing the “work smarter, not harder” mindset by focusing on how they’re building cloud systems, not just what they’re architecting. From auto-scaling to CI/CD to intelligent automation, cloud engineers are looking for automation and DevOps skills that make their lives easier. And, coincidentally, that also make it easy to adapt to customer and market changes.

3. Cloud architecture

While cloud computing isn’t exactly a new cloud computing trend, many teams are still dealing with system migrations (or the consequences of previous lift-and-shift migrations). By focusing on their architect skills, cloud engineers are preparing themselves to build resilient, scalable, flexible, and secure systems that are easier to maintain.

Pluralsight Content Team

Pluralsight C.

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