10 hot cloud computing skills

As more companies embrace shared services, staffers with cloud computing chops are watching their fortunes rise.

Joe Roberts has had his pick of jobs. And with his experience in cloud computing, he still does.

Roberts had several job offers when he moved in November from his former position as a senior IT lead/systems engineer working on a SaaS product to his current job as a senior DevOps engineer at Bit9 in Waltham, Mass.

And Roberts, who has seven years of cloud experience on his resume, is still in demand: He says he averages about 20 inquiries from recruiters each week.

"I'm constantly getting calls from people looking for someone who not only understands IT, but engineering practices, agile methodology, who can work with operating systems, security, networks, and can automate all of those things," he says, noting that colleagues with similar cloud experience report the same high interest from employers.

Such scenarios aren't surprising, given the growing use of cloud computing at organizations of all kinds -- and the corresponding need for workers who are well versed in cloud technology.

But companies aren't looking for any single skill when hiring people to work on cloud projects. Rather, they're seeking technologists who are familiar with a variety of programming languages and various platforms, often preferring those with experience in multiple areas over people with a laser-focus in just one discipline. And while the list of desired skills varies from employer to employer, an analysis of what recruiters and companies say they want in cloud workers reveals a list of 10 skills that tend to be the most sought-after.

Across-the-board Demand

There's no doubt that demand for people with cloud-based skills is rising. Consider some recent figures from North Bridge Venture Partners: It surveyed 855 business leaders last year, and 75% of the respondents said that they were using at least one cloud platform in 2013, up from 67% in 2012.

According to the survey, software-as-a-service usage grew at a rate of 15% from 2012 to 2013, and 64% of organizations surveyed said that they used SaaS offerings last year. Meanwhile, adoption of infrastructure as a service grew at a rate of 29%, with 45% of respondents reporting that they used IaaS in 2013. And platform-as-a-service utilization increased at a rate of 22%, with 33% of the respondents saying their organizations used PaaS offerings last year.

Moreover, cloud computing is used in various industries, from the communications and media sector to banking and manufacturing.

"More and more companies are adopting a cloud computing strategy, and that means more [companies] need cloud resources," says John Reed, senior executive director for IT staffing firm Robert Half Technology in Menlo Park, Calif.

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