Top 5 Skills Gaps Every Cloud Practitioner Needs to Close

The key to successful cloud adoption lies in upskilling teams to ensure efficient and secure implementation.

Drew Firment, Chief Cloud Strategist, Pluralsight

January 29, 2024

4 Min Read
cloud cutouts overlapping
Jacek Lasa via Alamy Stock

With 94% of leaders now using cloud services for their technology initiatives, it’s clear that cloud is a vital part of an organization’s infrastructure. The problem is, simply using the cloud won’t garner the strategic advantages your organization is seeking. In fact, only 27% of leaders say their cloud initiatives are driving customer value.

One of the most vital components of working with the cloud is aligning technology decisions with skill development strategies and desired outcomes. So, how can you create this operating plan and integrate cloud technology successfully enough to generate valuable results within your organization? One key solution that business leaders should focus on first is closing cloud skills gaps.

If your organization is hitting a wall with cloud adoption, or you aren’t seeing the long-term results that were expected, expanding cloud literacy across all employees is the answer. PluralSight research shows that 62% of organizations limit cloud training to their technical teams, something that plays a substantial part in the challenges of building an organizational cloud strategy. Investing in your own talent and upskilling internally is integral for any company’s success, and cloud skills are no exception.

Here are five skills gaps that anybody working with cloud technology should close in order to support an organization’s comprehensive cloud strategy.

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1. Cloud security

PluralSight's State of Cloud reports shows that, for cloud leaders and technologists, cloud security is both the number one challenge and in-demand skill. Even expert cloud engineers must familiarize themselves with the foundational principles of cybersecurity, as leaders among all industries are growing more alert when it comes to data breaches and the overall security of their technical systems. The most prominent security factors in cloud data breaches, according to CrowdStrike, include unrestricted outbound access, neglected cloud infrastructure, and disabled logging -- roadblocks that can be alleviated with heavier cybersecurity training.

2. Data analytics, storage, and management

Just like cybersecurity, proficiency in data skills is absolutely essential to building better cloud solutions. Emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence are causing technologists to be increasingly aware of data breaches, and one of the best solutions is the upkeep of data processes and practices. A higher level of analytical experience leads to more efficiency in finding patterns in data, making strategic decisions, and generating value through optimized system performance. On top of these skills, knowledge and experience in data storage and management allow technologists to build reliable and expandible cloud infrastructures. In short, solidifying your data skills is necessary to maintain cloud security as well as increase durability in cloud solutions.

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3. Software engineering and development

The third cloud-focused skill gap that organizations need to close is software engineering and development knowledge. It might seem obvious to name software development as a key skill to have when working in the cloud, but a strong foundation in software when building structured and systematic approaches to cloud strategy is an absolute necessity. Those skilled in software engineering and development have the tools they need to support adaptable cloud solutions, enabling organizations to focus on long-term outcomes rather than only thinking about short-term adoption goals.

4. DevOps and programming

Knowing the basics of code benefits cloud engineers as they work to build solutions, but DevOps and programming skills also encourage collaboration, automation, and ultimately a more efficient cloud system. Additionally, these tools assist engineers in simplifying their building methods, fostering a system better fit to adapt to changes in the market. Advanced familiarity with programming languages even helps with customization in systems and allows for a smoother transition when integrating new systems. All those factors can boost competitive advantages and expedite processes.

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5. System administration

The fifth and final cloud skills gap is centered around system administration and dexterity in cloud infrastructure. Possessing the skills to manage servers, networks and storage resources is fundamental to high-performing and reliable cloud strategies. Being able to work proactively to identify and resolve these issues ensures an efficient and optimized cloud environment. In addition to increased speed and reliability, expertise in SysAdmin skills can support cost-effective cloud solutions by lowering expenses through a highly adaptive and accessible approach to building the infrastructure.

Creating a Cloud-Centric Future

The success of cloud adoption in organizations is only as strong as the skills of those implementing it. Knowledge in an area like cloud security might seem like a no-brainer, but our State of Cloud survey shows less than half of leaders have established comprehensive security policies and practices for the cloud, even with cloud security named as the top challenge faced by leaders. Something as complex and powerful as the cloud cannot be adopted and generate value overnight. Leaders must ensure they have upskilled their teams with proper resources and skills before expecting to see their desired outcomes. Upskilling allows technologists to stay informed and up to date in their roles, complete long-term projects, and find new roles as emerging technologies continue to dominate the industry. Above all, closing the skills gaps that have generated from the rise of cloud is the only way your organization can properly leverage cloud benefits and meet your long-term objectives.

About the Author(s)

Drew Firment

Chief Cloud Strategist, Pluralsight, Pluralsight

Drew Firment is Chief Cloud Strategist at Pluralsight. He works closely with business and technology leaders to accelerate cloud adoption by migrating talent to the cloud. Drew was previously Director of Cloud Engineering at Capital One where he led enterprise cloud operations within their Cloud Center of Excellence and migrated the early adopters of Amazon Web Services (AWS) into production. He founded Capital One's cloud engineering college that drove a large-scale talent transformation and earned a patent for measuring cloud adoption and maturity. Drew is recognized by Amazon as an AWS Community Hero for his ongoing efforts to build inclusive and sustainable learning communities.

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