With the rise in remote work, the cloud industry has experienced extraordinary growth, largely due to enterprise businesses transitioning their physical IT infrastructure to the cloud. Along with this rapid expansion into cloud technology comes the need for a workforce with cloud expertise.
At the moment, the IT needs are changing faster than the employees in charge of these programs can handle. In fact, only 56% of cloud leaders report having an actionable plan to upskill their workforce in cloud environments.
The lack of planning surrounding employee training is only one of the pain points that comes with navigating the complexity of the cloud. Other barriers to success include a lack of internal skills and knowledge, balancing competing priorities with day-to-day work, and providing enough time for employees to study the ins and outs of the major cloud providers, while also doing their existing full-time jobs.
A Cloud Guru, which specializes in modern tech skills development, recently analyzed more than 3 million hours of its user data and surveyed 26,000 cloud learners—including IT leaders, engineers and developers— to compile its State of Cloud Learning Report. The report sheds light on the reality of the industry, uncovering details about the most popular cloud learning platforms, the barriers to growth in cloud expertise, and the future of cloud skills development.
While the report highlights some of the biggest roadblocks to cloud learning, it also lays out a clear path for the integration of cloud learning into everyday business operations. In this eWEEK Data Pints article, ACG explains four actionable ways to support cloud learning and which cloud environments enterprise leaders should be prioritizing.
Data Point No. 1: Cloud technology education accelerates companywide innovation.
It’s clear that cloud expertise, measured via certifications and hands-on experience, is growing in value for both companies and the individuals who work for them. In fact, more than 90% of IT leaders surveyed expect to expand their cloud services in the next one to three years, a testament to the benefits of cloud adoption.
In this midst of this rapid acceleration, IT leaders recognize the importance of retaining employees who fully understand the complex and quickly-changing cloud environments. Overwhelmingly, cloud leaders believe their organization would function more effectively with a uniformly shared basis of cloud knowledge (97% agree).
This education also benefits the time-to-value for new products and features, and IT leaders are taking note. Indeed, 71% already report seeing the time-to-value speed up after investing in the cloud.
Data Point No. 2: Employee retention strengthens with increased career development opportunities.
Not only does an investment in cloud learning provide benefits for enterprise operations, it also leads to enhanced career development opportunities for employees, creating greater workplace satisfaction and retention. 94% of employees shared that they are more likely to stay long term with an employer who invests in their career through skills development, cementing that additional training has a big impact on employee happiness. That’s a factor that is in the leadership team’s control.
Along with greater employee retention, an investment in upskilling can provide other benefits in the workplace, including the creation of more job opportunities and salary increases. In fact, 52% of individuals reported that cloud certifications unlocked greater opportunity, with 80% of those respondents identifying a higher salary as a direct result of these certifications. Ultimately, upskilling individuals in cloud technology fuels each employee’s sense of autonomy, strengthening loyalty and retention.
Data Point No. 3: Upskilling in multiple cloud platforms helps businesses stand out.
While Amazon Web Services (AWS) is still the primary cloud provider, 70% of IT leaders confirmed that their organization is currently utilizing multiple cloud platforms, demonstrating the value of understanding how to navigate AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform.
While fewer people are trained in Azure (35%) and GCP (30%), there is still a need to understand how to operate within these cloud environments, especially since these platforms are seeing some explosive growth. Interest in Azure has been surging; in June, Azure training time was up nearly 800% year-over-year, compared to between 50-100% for AWS and Google Cloud. When asked which cloud providers individuals planned to train on in the future, Azure jumped out to a narrow lead at 54%, followed closely by AWS and GCP.
While AWS is the baseline, upskilling employees in Azure and GCP ensures companies remain nimble and can easily adapt to changes in the industry.
Data Point No. 4: Managers who proactively plan to upskill their IT workforce will see longer-term success.
It’s not enough to know that cloud learning is critical to any growing IT team. Hiring managers need to plan to upskill their workforce over time. While recruiters may be looking for candidates who already have AWS, Azure and/or GCP skills, even those who arrive at the company well trained will still need additional learning opportunities in order to stay current.
Looking ahead to 2021, enterprise leaders should plan to include cloud learning in their budget and employee development plans. There should be a cadence for training—either monthly, quarterly or aligned with annual performance reviews—to integrate this ongoing learning into the existing HR program.
HR teams and hiring managers who prioritize upskilling will be building a highly trained and incredibly adaptable workforce.
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