IT skills in cloud
A new survey of 2 000 CIOs by analysis giant Gartner found that, although budgets are not growing yet as the recession recedes, they are looking hard at technologies such as cloud computing and virtualisation to reduce IT costs and help to drive revenue growth.
The move towards cloud computing and virtualisation has brought about innovative ideas and has become one of the most prominent trends in IT today. What does cloud computing and virtualisation mean for the future of IT skills?
Gartner estimates that, over the course of the next five years, enterprises will spend $112 billion (about R800 billion) cumulatively on software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), and infrastructure as a service (IaaS), combined.
Compuways CEO Arnold Graff says Compuways has re-engineered its processes to incorporate Internet and automation technology in the changing roles of the recruiter, employer and job seeker in the recruitment process. “We have adopted technology trends and our success is attributed to nurturing loyal clients and candidates, using the Internet to complement the recruitment process. It helps us to assess and supply the right level of skill at the right time.”
Gartner maintains that cloud computing is very much an evolving concept that will take many years to fully mature. It also underlined the fact that the cloud computing model is not simply the next generation of the Internet.
Cloud computing is driving discontinuity that introduces exciting opportunities and costly challenges. Organisations need to understand these changes and develop realistic cloud sourcing strategies and contracts that can reduce risk.
“For infrastructure needs, companies can now even obtain hardware functionality by subscribing to such services over the Internet. This means they no longer have to buy and maintain servers, they can get this via a service provider on the Internet. It also allows one to grow systematically as the need arises,” says Graaff.
He says for software applications the model is similar. “Businesses can now replace their in-house software packages with subscribed software services from the same vendors. For example, an accounting package that was previously used in a company and installed on an in-house server is now available on the Internet by subscription on a monthly or usage-base by the same company.”
This reduces the need for SMEs to maintain servers and network infrastructures; they can rather get the same functionality over the Internet on a 'pay-as-you-use' basis.
“What does this hold for the future of the in-house technical infrastructure specialists and for the in-house software developer?” he asks. “Infrastructure specialists will now be needed more to work in vendor environments. Their job skills will be the same as always, although virtualisation skills and certifications will be more in demand. In such vendor companies, there will be an added need to equip these technicians with people and sales skills because of the business model of supplying the services to clients.”
He says as for in-house software developers, they will now need to customise and extract data from online software services. “These programmers will need to skill themselves up more on the front-end with Web and scripting software skills to enable in-house applications with Web front-ends; and use or extract data from online software services companies for in-house customisations.”
“In brief, technical skills will never become obsolete, there will be more of a shift to where they will be employed. At Compuways we are ready to supply the right kind of candidate for every position in an IT environment, whether it is with an IT vendor or with and an IT user. Software application developers for in-house systems or for vendors supplying Web services, we are able to ensure the right person is matched to the right position in the right company,” he says.
“Over the past 20 years in the IT industry, we have seen a major shift, from mainframes to PCs, from procedural software programming languages to fourth generation programming languages to object oriented programming languages. From mainframe to mini computers and then to servers, from servers to virtualised servers. There was never a point where good solutions-oriented IT skills were not in demand,” he concludes.