10 Cloud Computing Skills That Could Boost Your Career

Cloud computing has become a hot area for IT. Companies want to reduce capital expenditures and the cost of administering computer systems in house. That might sound like bad news for someone with an information systems management degree.

A holistic view of the entire software cycle is important when, in cloud computing, you're likely to work on incremental releases and a continuous enhancement cycle.

However, it isn’t, if you gain experience in and knowledge of the subject. With the right skills, you become someone needed in this new world of cloud computing. Computerworld interviewed one IT professional with seven years of cloud experience who currently receives 20 recruiter inquiries a week. But what are the right skills? Here are ten to focus on, according to the magazine:

Know the right programming languages
You’re unlikely to write cloud-based applications in low-level languages like C#. Better to focus on Ruby, Perl, Ruby on Rails, Python, Java, and JavaScript. Get ready for a more interactive approach to development with rapid prototyping.

Learn about DevOps
A portmanteau of development and operations, DevOps is an approach to IT that breaks down the walls between those who write code and the people who run it. Everything from initial design to quality assurance, release management, and maintenance become part of the same endeavor. A holistic view of the entire software cycle is important when, in cloud computing, you’re likely to work on incremental releases and a continuous enhancement cycle.

The right database skills
Software for commercial purposes almost always entails some sort of database work. In a cloud environment, however, you’ll come across such database systems as Hadoop, MySQL, MongoDB, and Cassandra. Knowing traditional SQL systems — Oracle or SQL Server — is still wise, but the more cloud-centric tools you know, the better off your career will be.

Mobile app development
Mobile devices aren’t necessary for cloud computing, but the two areas of technology are often found together. Increasingly, corporations want mobile access to systems for employees on the go.

Specific cloud application experience
Corporate departments have become more aggressive in choosing cloud-based systems like Salesforce.com to provide functions they need, rather than waiting for IT to deliver a solution. In addition, such cloud service providers as Amazon, Google, and Microsoft have offerings that an IT department might want to use. The more familiar you are with using and managing such services, the more quickly you can get up to speed in a company.

Virtualization
Virtualization is a set of technologies that allow organizations to make more efficient use of infrastructure capacity, including the ability to shift workloads even as they run. Initially developed for in-house server farms, virtualization is fundamental to the existence of cloud computing. It can affect how you write and run applications, so a grasp of the topic is a must.

Linux
Although cloud computing does not explicitly depend on Linux the way it does virtualization, many service providers like using the free operating system over Windows. With no licensing fees, it potentially lowers costs and offers great flexibility and power similar to Unix. Chances are at least some of the cloud systems you use will run Linux.

IT automation and configuration management software
Two popular applications in cloud environments are Puppet and Chef, which are configuration management tools. Both are good to know.

Application abstraction and API development
In-house application development hasn’t disappeared. If anything, cloud services can make it easier, faster, and cheaper than ever. However, part of the cloud approach is to make anything you do a tool that can become available for use in other applications. Any project should include an API for potential reuse, so knowledge of programming interface development is a plus.

Security
Security is always a basic concern of IT organizations. But companies have less direct control over cloud systems, so you’ll need to know the specifics of handling security in a cloud setting. The more of these skills you have, the better you look to the market, and the greater the knowledge and experience can have on your career.

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