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The IT industry is undergoing a significant evolution to keep up with cloud application demand

Is Your IT Career Ready for the Cloud?
By Bree Brouwer

The IT industry is undergoing a significant evolution to keep up with cloud application demand. We see this happening as a mindset shift, from traditional IT teams to more well-rounded, cloud-focused job roles. The IT industry has become so cloud-minded that Gartner predicts that by 2020, this cloud shift will impact more than $1 trillion of global IT spending. This shift, however, has left some IT professionals feeling a little anxious about what lies ahead. The good news is that cloud computing is relatively new by IT's standards, which means it's constantly expanding to encompass new career paths.

Despite the Cloud Shift, Traditional IT Skills Aren't Dead
With the increased use of cloud computing and AI, some traditional IT roles are being phased out as machines and tech systems take their place. However, the key skills used in many IT positions are still in play. The change is that these skills are now being applied in a more creative way rather than the set-in-stone IT roles of old. The appeal of cloud-its flexibility and scalability-requires those working in IT to adjust accordingly. IT can often move faster now, and is under pressure to respond quickly to both customers and internal users.

IT pros may be used to a process-based application of their skill set, but the cloud will call for a creative administration of those skills. For example, someone who is traditionally a network architect still has a place in a cloud career. Their detail-oriented mindset is necessary. When applying that knowledge to a cloud system, they'll be focusing more on big-picture design and less on specific network components. Learning trending cloud applications, such as cloud-based unified communications (like VoIP), will be useful. There's also a big shift in IT management, and cloud management is a growing market segment that needs both technology and people to succeed.

Preparing for the Cloud Shift as an IT Professional
You can remain competitive during the cloud shift by educating yourself. Because cloud computing is something most IT teams are pursuing, the IT industry is experiencing a deficit in employees who have the necessary cloud knowledge to help enterprises achieve their goals. Bridge that critical skill gap by taking time to learn new cloud-based technologies. For example, learning the infrastructure of Oracle cloud applications and middleware/integration software is one of the most sought-after skills in 2017 for IT pros. Additionally, VoIP's increased popularity as businesses move to a cloud-hosted phone system requires skilled system administrators and technicians.

Ask your employer if they'd be willing to assist you with training by putting you through an online certification program, or brush up on new cloud skills by self-teaching. Whether you're looking to lead your IT team through the cloud transition, or you're ready to make the switch to a cloud career, learning the systems and cloud administration strategies will position you for success.

Looking Ahead to a Cloud-Focused Future
Cloud computing is still growing, and so are the careers becoming available. From cloud data architects, cloud security experts, operations-focused cloud managers, cloud engineers, developers and technicians, the entire IT suite is experiencing a surge of new application-focused career opportunities. With that in mind, learning, training and general curiosity is a must for IT professionals looking to stay relevant with the changes going on in their field.

IT professionals in traditional roles such as CIOs or IT Directors are already feeling these cloud shifts. Embracing change and sharpening their skill set, whether it's learning specific SaaS applications or systems such as AWS, Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud Platform, should ensure career growth alongside IT industry growth.

The IT industry is undergoing a significant evolution to keep up with cloud application demand. We see this happening as a mindset shift, from traditional IT teams to more well-rounded, cloud-focused job roles. The IT industry has become so cloud-minded that Gartner predicts that by 2020, this cloud shift will impact more than $1 trillion...

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