How to get a job in cloud computing
“We try to cherry-pick candidates who bring a vast array of different skill sets to the table,” says Bunker. “On the technical side, we’ve had graduates with extensive coding experience in the likes of Java and Perl, in addition to agile software-development experts.”
Linsell agrees that employees must cover a lot of ground. “Cloud infrastructure covers networking, storage, compute and software technology, so we look for the traditional skills and certifications in those areas.”
IT is no longer only about making sure everything works; it’s about providing services to the business
Both believe skills must go beyond technical expertise. “IT is no longer only about making sure everything works; it’s about providing services to the business,” says Bunker. “Therefore, an equal focus for our employment strategy is finding experienced project and programme managers within IT services, often with experience client-side.”
Linsell concurs, stressing the need for a strong customer focus and familiarity with best working practice. “Customer service excellence, flexibility and transparency are what in part make Adapt different,” he says.
An agile personality
Cloud computing also demands a certain type of personality. “We look for people who want to work in a dynamic environment. People who thrive on challenge, who are comfortable taking risks, and who learn from their mistakes by adapting quickly,” says Bunker.
Salesforce.com’s Seligman agrees. We’re a customer-centric company. The success and trust of our customers are our most important cultural values. We hire extraordinary engineers who are attracted to the agile way we work.” Seligman looks for people fascinated by technology and mobile devices. “Ultimately, it comes down to a willingness to be agile and revolutionary and move fast. People have to feel they can do it!”
For Linsell, good communication skills and empathy for the customer are both important. “They need to be able to think laterally and understand how their work contributes to meeting the customer’s objectives – we’re typically only a part of their business success. They must be passionate about translating theoretical technical benefits into real-world advantage.”
Challenges and rewards
One challenge is helping customers understand the different approaches, and the benefits and pitfalls of each. As Linsell notes: “being able to clearly articulate what we do and don’t offer to our customers is very important to avoid any later misunderstanding, and it helps customers compare our services with the competition.”
Companies need to take a managed, long-term approach. “The biggest challenge with the pace of development is to bring beneficial change to market without impacting our service excellence – a bit like changing the engines mid-flight,” says Linsell. “Customers want real business benefits, not technology change for technology’s sake.”
On top of technical issues, cloud services cross borders, which brings regulatory burdens. “For organisations operating across Europe, with cloud readily delivered across multiple countries, one of the biggest challenges to overcome is ensuring they’re fully compliant with different regulatory laws,” says Bunker. While companies have legal and regulatory advisors, these are issues for the business as a whole.
Working in cloud infrastructure can be financially rewarding, with average salaries ranging from £28,500 to £75,000. The biggest reward, however, is being on the cutting-edge of IT. “There’s never a dull moment, as you feel like you’re building the future,” says Bunker. Seligman agrees. “It’s an absolute hoot. What could be more fun? There’s an enterprise app revolution and smart start-ups are jumping in. It’s rewarding to know that we’re creating a platform for these sorts of opportunities.”