Cloud computing jobs - Demand for cloud architects on the rise

Cloud computing jobs - Demand for cloud architects on the rise

Cloud architect most sought-after role in survey of cloud roles

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If you visit the popular tech-focused job site Dice.com and search for cloud computing jobs, you'll get more than 3,800 hits. According to Alice Hill, managing director of Dice.com, that's up 72% over last year.

Basically, cloud is a segment of the jobs market that is going gangbusters.


On the day Hill's team culled the list, the most sought-after position that employers were looking for was Cloud Architect. The rest of the top 10 are:

- Cloud Software Engineer

- Cloud Sales Executive

- Cloud Engineer

- Cloud Developer

- Cloud Systems Administrator

- Cloud Consultant

- Cloud Systems Engineer

- Cloud Network Engineer

- Cloud Product Manager

But these cloud titles, and the job descriptions behind them - are very much in a state of semantic and substantive flux. But the "cloud" bent of the Dice.com listings is quite obvious.

Hybrid titles

In addition to the top 10 cloud-specific titles, there are several hybrid titles - like DevOps, for example - that phonetically describe which two old IT silos - straight development and straight operations - have morphed into a new line item in the cloud-focused IT budget.

And still others - traditional positions like project manager, business systems analyst and network architect - are evolving into jobs that require their occupants to work in the cloud daily.

Generally speaking, a cloud architect evaluates a company's computing needs and deploys appropriate cloud solutions to meet them. The generalisations stop there.

MICROS-Retail, a division of MICROS Systems, Inc., is a provider of technology and services for the retail industry with a customer list that includes Cabela's, Godiva Chocolatier, IKEA, Staples and Starbucks. The Michigan-based firm posted an in-house cloud architect job in late September. Candidates need to be both expert in large scale distributed system design and implementation and must view cloud computing as the future of online services.

The company wants this person to bring its future cloud from design through post-release support with an emphasis on automated metrics collection and analysis; lifecycle automation systems, robust monitoring and alarming systems with automated repair; and automated right-scaling.

The ad says the right person will have experience with Amazon AWS, Software as a Service (SaaS) and online Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) models; be comfortable with the technologies, the tradeoffs, and the design patterns of the cloud; have a strong and proven Java and object-oriented development skills; and, have Perl, Python, Ruby or other scripting language experience.

It would be useful, also, if the job seeker has created large internet-scale distributed systems, has created other PCI-compliant solutions, understands distributed databases and sees the big picture of delivering a 24/7 service.

In that same time frame, a worldwide services outfit is trying to poach a cloud architect who's built a cloud for a large enterprise, has 15+ years of experience developing high-performance databases, has a passion for Big Data, expert knowledge of Core Java / C++, multi-threading and analytics, wants to be hands-on more than half of the time spent on the job and has a PhD in a related discipline.

These job descriptions vary wildly - and they are likely to for a while - because it's "still an open play on how any organisation is going handle a whole host of cloud design and implementation issues," says Chris Brenton, a cloud security architect at CloudPassage, a cloud server security company.

"So yes, they are looking for the right person, but in a sense they are also looking for some direction in terms of how the cloud can best be implemented in their own, unique environment," Brenton says.

Crossing boundaries

In a recent newsletter to its job seekers, Dice.com referred to the role of DevOps as "Brangelina" because it is widely considered to be an IT department super-coupling, the union of developer and systems administration skill sets.

There are on average 200 DevOps listings daily on Dice.com. These listings comprise DevOps engineers, leads, contractors and specialists. A search on www.simplyhired.com, showed over 1500 listings asking for some DevOps experience. According to recruiters, hiring these folks is a big headache for employers and involves multiple offers, counteroffers and increasingly bigger salaries.

According to Rick Bauer, a senior member of CompTIA's skills certification staff, which is currently conducting research for an IT Job Task Analysis to be published later this year or early next, there are likely many more hybrid positions coming down the pike for IT professionals working in the cloud.

While they are not yet developed enough to warrant nicknames akin to Hollywood super couples, Bauer expects couplings to happen around network operations and server administration and network operations and storage management.

John Reed, senior executive director of Robert Half Technology, a worldwide IT staffing firm headquartered in California, argues that IT departments looking to roll out cloud implementations are also looking for IT folks with hands-on experience in cloud to step into the roles of both business systems analysts and project managers.

Qualified candidates for business systems analyst jobs would effectively be able to take a critical look at which IT systems can and can't be pushed to the cloud. "And of the former, these analysts need to have both experience and critical analysis skills to understand which of those need to go in to the cloud first to help the company achieve the gains the cloud promises," Reed says.

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