If you’re an IT professional in a small company, the prospect of cloud adoption may seem like a death knell for your career. After all, the more data and function your company puts in the cloud, the less it will need an IT team to maintain and upgrade internal IT systems, right?
Well, it’s not a groundless fear. Companies adopt cloud computing in part to reduce costs, because it allows for fewer servers and fewer IT people to watch over them. “If what everyone thinks will happen does happen with cloud adoption, it will affect IT jobs across the board,” predicts Patricia Sigmon, president and founder of LPS Consulting, which helps small companies maximize their technology investments, sometimes with cloud-based solutions.
But this doesn’t necessarily mean cloud adoption is bad for your career. In fact, it might be a good thing if you run an efficient IT operation and make sure to keep learning the skills that will make you more valuable in a cloud-dominated IT landscape.
Here are five reasons cloud adoption may benefit your career:
1. Your department is already too busy.
“We are inundated with requests and projects, and I’m continually asking for more staff, not less,” says David Shapiro, director of Information Technology Services at Lebanon Valley College in Annville, Penn. The college, he says, is seriously investigating a cloud solution for some of its functions. “Less work would give us time to do more things that could truly help our students and staff.”
2. Your company needs vendor management.
The most foolish way to do a cloud deployment is to select a vendor, obtain a service level agreement (SLA) and then sit back and assume that everything will go according to plan, because it won’t. IT experts and even cloud vendors themselves recommend that an individual or team at the customer company take responsibility for overseeing the relationship with the cloud vendor. “You have to get on the bandwagon and position yourself to be in the middle,” says Sigmon.
3. Your company might build an in-house cloud.
At large companies, most of the cloud-based interest today centers around private and hybrid clouds — those that reside partly or completely on your company’s own servers. If smaller companies follow suit, someone will have to create, maintain, and oversee those systems. By making sure you’re up on virtualization and other cloud-related skills, you can position yourself to effectively lead an in-house cloud deployment.
4. You might get snapped up by a vendor.
It’s no secret that technology companies are vying for IT talent these days, and the explosive growth of cloud computing means cloud vendors might be especially eager to hire. “The more people start to rely on cloud computing, the more jobs shift to the provider,” explains Ivanka Menken, co-founder and CEO of The Art of Service, which offers training and certification to IT professionals covering a range of topics, including cloud computing.
5. You’re good at adapting to new ways of doing IT.
If you’ve already made peace with the fact that widespread cloud adoption will change the way you do your job and have started acquiring the skills and expertise you need in that new environment, congratulations. You’re a step ahead of the game, because cloud computing has profoundly changed what business people expect from IT. Menken recently attended a meeting of an entrepreneurs’ group where a highly respected small-business owner was making a presentation. “He made the comment that, ‘IT should not be allowed to offer a solution,’” she says. “‘They should first and foremost look for a free app that does the job the business needs done, and secondly, look for a cloud-based application. If neither of those is available, they can potentially create a solution in-house, but not before that.”