“[You] could either watch it happen or be a part of it.” – Elon Musk

Many IT Managers, especially more experienced ones, who have grown their careers in infrastructure management and systems administration may feel threatened by the emergence of cloud technologies or may dismiss cloud computing as a passing fad. To remain relevant, IT Managers need to understand both the benefits of cloud technologies and how they can deliver value to their organizations.

There are several pathways and initiatives that IT Managers can start within their organizations to help embrace the value of cloud technology. In this post, I’ll share two objectives. Firstly,  IT Managers need to upgrade their skills along with their team to handle cloud projects. Secondly, there are several easy-to-execute cloud projects that can help an IT Manager make a mark in the organization.

IT infrastructure is increasingly giving way to cloud technology. According to the Gartner forecast the total global public Cloud market revenue in 2018 is estimated at a staggering $235 billion (CAD) and will increase to $275 billion in 2019, a $40 billion dollar or 17.02% increase in one year. Forrester forecasts more than 60% of global enterprises will rely on at least one public cloud platform to drive digital transformation and delight customers.

Cloud computing is here to stay. By embracing cloud strategies, organizations can both reduce the dependence on in-house infrastructure and legacy, on-premise software applications. As cloud computing widely transforms IT operations and roles, plenty of activities remain the same which makes transitioning for an IT professional easier. The organization’s infrastructure, applications, and vendors still need to be managed and monitored.

Cloud strategies also offer a traditional IT Manager to spend more time in strategic leadership responsibilities, rather than be bogged down with technical fire fighting. The IT manager can provide more value by focusing on business needs in real time as they arise. The transition from a traditional IT role to a cloud-based role should be easier with further training.

Here are some examples of common IT roles and suggestions on how to develop them into roles that are competent with the Cloud. 

Systems Engineers: traditionally carry out various tasks involving systems design and analysis which includes correcting software errors in existing systems and improving performance through hardware upgrades. Transitioning to a cloud role involves developing cloud relevant skills such as virtualization and LINUX/UNIX administration skills. Another initiative a Systems Engineer can pursue is learning Python to help facilitate a cloud vendor’s APIs.

Network Engineers: tend to typically administer and maintain a company’s computer network, hardware, switches, application software, and configurations to protect company data.  A Network Engineer’s transition can focus on specific cloud-based skills and abilities such as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) administration. As well as auditing the Cloud environment to ensure standards and protocol are being followed.

Database Administrators (DBA): are generally responsible for the performance, integrity and security of databases. Many vendors are providing cloud versions of their products. For example, Microsoft will offer SQL Server on Azure. This means traditional DBA skills are still applicable, but SQL Server in Azure will provide additional capabilities to interact with data over the Cloud. Newer concepts of data have emerged that are inherently cloud-based, such as big data. One big data vendor is Hadoop.

Here are 3 certifications that can help with your transition from a traditional IT role to a cloud-based career.  

 

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Vendor      
Amazon

AWS Cloud Practitioner Essentials

AWS Cloud Practitioner  
Cisco

CCNA

CCNP

CCIE

Salesforce

Platform App Builder Platform Developer 1

Platform Developer 2

IT professionals and managers should take it upon themselves to understand how cloud technologies will impact their roles, engage in self-study, pursue new industry certifications and attend industry related events. IT Managers can also help their organizations intelligently leverage the Cloud by proposing new projects such as:

  1. Migrating to Office 365
  2. Implementing hybrid backup strategies that leverage Cloud  
  3. Cloud-based CRM

The Cloud offers many opportunities for the organization to enable users and develop business processes that are more efficient and effective than in-house infrastructure and legacy, on-premise software applications. Moreover, by understanding and seeking training opportunities, the traditional IT Manager can keep up with the pace of technology. Furthermore, providing job protection along with better pay for the IT Manager and subordinates as well.

 

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