Data Center POST interview with Callum Bushby, Delivery Manager, Cloud Engineering, Datacenter People
By Contributing Editor Anne Whealdon
Callum Bushby is Delivery Manager for the Cloud Engineering practice at Datacenter People, a leading niche headhunting firm helping businesses at every stage in their development identify and engage hard-to-find cloud and data center professionals, both contract/interim and permanent. Leveraging over 10 years of experience in technology and engineering executive search and recruitment, Callum works with cloud service providers and enterprises that are adopting and using cloud technology to help them recruit for cloud engineering positions. These positions include cloud architects and AWS, Azure and GCP experts, as well as cloud specialists in data, analytics and DevOps.
We recently sat down with Callum to discuss cloud computing, talent shortages and more.
Data Center POST, Anne Whealdon (DCP-AW) Question: What are you currently seeing in the cloud computing industry?
Datacenter People, Callum Bushby (DP-CB) Answer: We’re seeing that the use of cloud computing services and applications is continuing to increase rapidly. Moving systems and processes to the cloud is a key step in an enterprise’s digital transformation strategy, and this is currently contributing to the growing dominance of cloud services. The CIOs and IT managers that I speak to are all saying that cloud skills are the most necessary to bring about digital transformation.
DCP-AW Q: Why are we witnessing a shortage of qualified candidates for cloud engineering positions?
DP-CB A: With cloud computing accelerating digital transformation, enterprises are investing more and more in cloud teams, and this is creating more niche and specialist cloud roles. This has resulted in a widening gap where certain cloud roles are not being filled simply because there aren’t enough people with the right skills. According to 451 Research, 90 percent of enterprises have reported a lack of skills in multiple cloud disciplines, and that deficit has doubled over the last three years.
DCP-AW Q: What are the main skills/background needed for cloud engineering positions?
DP-CB A: A mix of operations, software and architecture is needed. A candidate should be familiar with AWS, Azure, GCP or OpenStack. Additionally, since the foundation of cloud architecture is built on APIs and Web Services, knowledge in that area is key for knowing the fundamentals. Then, the rise in demand for other skill sets such as Docker are a clear sign of how businesses are becoming interested in container technology.
Talent and experience with virtualization, storage and networking is also very beneficial, and a programming background is often needed to help with this. Operating software in the cloud also necessitates skills in disaster recovery, redundancy and the like. While all of these pieces are important, a cloud engineer should have good technical and creative thinking skills to address different use cases.
DCP-AW Q: What is being done to address this gap?
DP-CB A: The rapid pace of technological development is resulting in a widening skills gap, especially in cloud, where the complexity of reskilling workers for cloud technology can be overwhelming. This is exacerbated by the short shelf life of technology skills today. The skills technology professionals acquired just 10 years ago are now largely obsolete, and given the rapid evolution of the cloud sector, the relevancy lifespan of those skills is only getting shorter.
Enterprises will train their current staff to help fill the gaps they have. They will also use partners to help them find the right talent — employees that they would otherwise have to invest a lot of resources to find — and hire those resources for a specific project on a contract basis or as a permanent hire.
Investing in talent already in the business through training and certification won’t help address short-term or urgent demands for skills, but it is advantageous for medium to longer-term demands. The industry is developing a culture of constant learning, which will help keep skills fresh and ensure businesses are keeping pace with emerging cloud technologies. Retaining employees is another pain point in solving the skills gap, as competition for skilled employees is high, and there are numerous ways that enterprises are shifting employment strategies to try to solve this.
In the long term, the talent pool is increasing as the quality of university courses has improved; the talent entering the industry now is about the best it has been.
DCP-AW Q: What are the potential consequences for companies not hiring skilled employees?
DP-CB A: Not having properly skilled individuals can negatively impact revenue, hurt business and employee morale, damage market relevance or create security risks. It can also increase the possibility of implementing poor or useless architecture, slow down business operations and more.
DCP-AW Q: What is your advice for companies experiencing this shortage?
DCP-CB A: 1) Assess your business needs and future plans for moving to the cloud. 2) Partner with a recruitment firm to find the best talent.
When looking to acquire niche talent, niche searches are the best and most effective way to do it. Datacenter People specializes in these niche placements, and unlike mainstream recruitment companies or internal talent delivery teams that only focus on active job seekers, we have created a strategy that targets “passive high-performance” individuals. These are proven cloud professionals who are already employed and succeeding in their roles, and this ensures that businesses get the talent they need by tapping a huge market of developed skills.
Datacenter People delivers a unique search methodology which, combined with an exclusive network and priceless insider knowledge, will uncover the very best interim or permanent cloud candidate for your business, accessing expertise across cloud assessment, planning, migration and domain experience. This enables you to bridge your own in-house skills and resources gaps.
DCP-AW Q: Thank you for these great insights, Callum. To learn more about Datacenter People, please visit www.datacenterpeople.org