Most individuals and companies operating in the data center sphere are keenly aware of the impact of cloud as a top trend to prepare for in 2019. At the heart of this new push towards the cloud is the need to fundamentally change the way data centers are being built and implemented in terms of functionality and distribution. As a result, the industry is moving to fill the gaps and meet the needs of the cloud in a host of ways, including changing from bespoke infrastructure to a more fixed-form approach and moving towards the edge. However, with every pivot the industry makes and with each new application, strategy or technology it incorporates, there remains one top concern: the ability to find suitably skilled employees even as the necessary skill sets evolve and the talent gap widens.

The cloud proliferates and enterprises are leaning more and more towards incorporating services from cloud providers such as AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google and more. A new data center landscape is shaping up to accommodate these new needs. The contemporary data center is no longer a mixture of shapes and sizes featuring unique, narrow-use deployments. Instead, commonality has become king with resource interchangeability being key to supporting the cloud and its shared infrastructure with efficiency.

Beyond what is now going on inside individual data centers, the cloud migration has spurred a large-scale reimagination of infrastructure topography. The edge has grown to be perhaps the biggest buzzword in the cloud-dominated era, as extending data processing and storage closer to devices, sensors and end users allows for maximized speed and lowered latency to support and optimize cloud systems. No longer is the data center industry drawn exclusively to traditional hubs like Northern Virginia, New York or Chicago. Instead, as the cloud grows, we continue to see the industry expand and pinpoint new underserved markets for their next build outs.

However, amidst the shuffle and reorganization of the data center in the pursuit of cloud optimization, the struggle of filling job openings is growing. In truth, it’s getting tougher to recruit and retain staff as virtualization shifts and re-prioritizes skills. The expanding presence of cloud and hybrid cloud environments means that employees need to be able to manage both on-premise assets and off-premise services from cloud providers. Perhaps most notably, cloud engineering is becoming a growing focus, with a knack for cloud computing design, planning, management, maintenance and support becoming a hot commodity. Demand for this type of talent is outpacing supply, making the hiring outlook poor.

Unfortunately, the talent shortage begins far before individuals reach employment age. The lack of knowledge about potential work with data centers is a critical blow to the industry from the get-go. Information regarding the importance and function of data centers is missing at the age when young adults are choosing their paths, meaning that more and more people simply aren’t aware of the opportunities in the field. To turn the tides of the talent shortage, the data center industry needs to begin promoting interest and education early on.

But what can the data center industry do to reinvigorate their hiring practices, have more success finding great employees and sustain the cloud right now? In essence, leave it to the professionals. One of the best ways to ease the stresses of hiring the perfect candidate is to put your trust in a partner that hires for a living. Peter Hannaford, CEO and founder of Datacenter People, a worldwide recruitment firm focusing in the data center industry, stresses the need for specialization and niche search in hiring. The Datacenter People team has spent years producing a highly researched database of specialized individuals. The company focuses on “passive high performance” individuals, or people who are already gainfully employed and proven successes in the data center environment. This method yields better hiring success for companies, providing them with highly skilled individuals that suit every need. Trusting a team of seasoned experts, who are well accustomed to the challenges of finding talent in the age of the skills gap, is paramount for businesses looking to avoid the time and cost-inefficiencies of improper hiring.

The path that data centers are on continues to twist and turn, necessitating agile and capable teams of data center professionals. Admittedly, finding an ideal group of employees to support your data center is growing more difficult as trends like the cloud emerge and desirable skills evolve, but hope is not lost. Even as the data center environment grows, expands and morphs to accommodate the future, experts such as Datacenter People are standing by to ensure all personnel needs are met along the way.