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Cloud job prospects: did video kill the radio star?

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Video killed the radio star” is a song about the life of a singer whose career was ruined by the advent of television, a new technology. I am never in support of technologies replacing human talent. But we need to keep up with technological advancements which have been phenomenally impacting our lives.

History tells us that customer requirements, demands, social and market trends and technological advancements made businesses evolve. It created new challenges for those who did not adopt the technologies early or try to adapt to the changing business models. Skilled resources have always found ways to sustain even in the fiercest competition by enhancing their skills and embracing the changes.

Recently, we saw teenage idols Justin Bieber and Carly Rae Jepsen leveraging Youtube. In 2012, Psy’s “Gangnam style” became an Internet sensation and worldwide hit, having been viewed more than 1.4 billion times. It is not surprising that this gave the world music industry a big boost. The global music industry announced a rise in music sales for the first time since 1999 (Source: news article). We need the right balance of talent, technologies, marketing and foresight in this highly competitive digital world.

Cloud computing is an automated IT service delivery model which requires less human intervention. Some people have a misconception about this automation. Skeptics say that many IT practitioners will lose their jobs in near future because of this automation. I will try to discuss with some examples to prove that cloud is in fact a catalyst for job creation.

Cloud automation allows IT administrators to break free from mundane and repetitive tasks. These human resources can now be engaged in other business critical areas. A business or IT leader with foresight will train their employees with cloud skills and other relevant technologies. Cloud enables a business to do more with less. By doing so, an organization improves its productivity. This reduces the operating cost. Consequently price of services or products goes down. This allows a company to be competitive. The money thus saved by leveraging cloud can be used for expanding the business. With this expansion of business comes the requirements for hiring more resources to run this newly created business. I hope this simple logic in this section defies the notion that cloud will eliminate jobs.

A report by Sand Hill Group finds that:

“Cloud computing has the potential to have a much bigger economic impact and create more jobs than the Internet as cloud applications and platforms begin to transform the entire IT landscape.”

Jobs will be created not only in technical areas directly related to cloud computing. Cloud will also touch other technical and business areas which have some inputs from cloud in the ecosystem. It is very hard to envision what types of new jobs will be created in future.

In the 1960s, no one could imagine such a huge IT market. Even five years ago, we could not imagine how cloud computing, mobile, big data and social media will radically create a new landscape and as such create new jobs. There is a very high demand for professionals with social media skills these days. Now go back to 2005. Who could think it would be a valuable skill and powerful tool for business one day?

In cloud ecosystem, there is one entity besides cloud service consumers, cloud service providers (CSP) and cloud service creators (CSC), which has drawn attention in IT industry. This is cloud service brokerage (CSB). CSB is an organization who does not own or create any cloud services but helps other organizations find the right cloud products from a variety of CSPs and CSCs. Jobs in CSB have been created because of the demand of cloud services in market. Who thought CSB would be an important business?

According to research done by analyst firm IDC, cloud computing will generate 14 million jobs between 2011 and 2015. Some key findings from this study and relevant data are:

  • Jobs will be almost equally created in SMB and large enterprises, although SMBs will dominate in terms of job creation
  • More than 33 percent of jobs will be in communications and media, banking and manufacturing industries
  • 50 percent of all new cloud jobs will be in China and India

Current IT practitioners and new joiners should enhance their cloud skills and embrace this new wind of change. I hope that there won’t be any melancholic employee like the “radio star” lamenting over a struggling career. I am an optimist and eagerly waiting for cloud computing to open door for more jobs.

Senior Managing Consultant at GBS Cloud Centre of Competence

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