By Ed Hill, Professor, College of Engineering & Information Sciences, DeVry University
Since my foray into software development more than 25 years ago, I have had the opportunity to learn new languages like BASIC, Pascal, COBOL, C#, .NET, HTML5, CSS and SQL, as well as learn how to work with new technologies. It is a never-ending cycle of upgrading my knowledge and developing in areas needed for the ever-changing job market. I know my experience is not unique; developers worldwide are learning at the same, rapid pace.
As a professor of information technology, the emerging trend I see driving the need for new skills in the technology sector is the growth of cloud computing. The cloud is bringing dynamic, new careers for today’s and tomorrow’s information technology students and professionals.
So what’s the driving force behind the popularity? According to a study by the London School of Economics and Political Science, the increase of cloud computing jobs is twofold. First, there is increasing investment in cloud computing, and there also is an increased interest in the field that has impacted job creation.
With reasoning behind the trend aside, there is an increased need for experienced, well-versed software developers in the field, as the hiring boom is accelerating, even as other sectors slow or stagnate. According to WANTED Analytics, major career sites have thousands of job postings for cloud developers listed each day.
Some naysayers argue certain jobs in IT may become irrelevant, but this does not seem to be the case for those involved in the systems development process. Whether redeploying existing applications to the cloud, creating new applications, launching a mobile strategy or purchasing cloud services, it is clear developers will be needed for migration, development and integration in the future.
If you are a student or professional in this field, the advice below may prove helpful:
Watch for Trends
The cloud is an ever-changing landscape and there are some strong, recent trends worth noting for those interested in the field. For example, in a guest post on Forbes, Pete Chadwick argues that open source platforms will be key to cloud strategies. In addition, Microsoft now sells Linux based cloud solutions running under its Azure brand, further demonstrating demand for these tools.
Just a year or two ago, I would have said Microsoft promoting Linux would be less likely than South Florida, where I work, getting hit with a snowstorm. As Chadwick points out, businesses do not want to risk having their data or applications locked up in a proprietary service that forever ties them to a single vendor. By deploying cloud applications on open source platforms, organizations retain control and can move between various public cloud providers like Microsoft, Amazon or operate a private cloud in-house.
Build Your Resume
Having basic cloud skills on your resume will be important before – or shortly after – entering the industry. If you have no previous experience, Amazon or Microsoft Azure both offer low-cost accounts available for learning public cloud services. Open source cloud platforms are also available free for download.
If you have never taken professional-level software development classes but are interested in learning the skills needed to become a professional developer, I would encourage you to look into a degree program like DeVry University’s Computer Information Systems Degree Program (full disclosure: I teach at DeVry) that will give you the opportunity to get hands-on experience needed to succeed in your career.
Network, Locally and Nationally
Regardless of your experience in the field, networking with professionals in your community can provide additional opportunities to learn about the field. Look for user groups, conferences, such as RiaCon and DevWeek, and other places you can expand your ties with fellow developers.
And remember: keep looking up; the cloud is where your career is going!
Ed Hill is a professor in the College of Engineering and Information Sciences at DeVry University in Miramar, Fla. Before joining DeVry in 2002, he served as the vice president of information systems at FSD, Inc. in Miami, Fla. Hill holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Southern Methodist University and a master’s degree in computer information systems from the University of Miami.Tags: cloud, cloud computing, cloud computing professionals, DeVry University, Ed Hill, information technology