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Friday, 17 April 2015 17:24

Why Government Needs to Solve the Skills Shortage to Grow the Cloud

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We're all using the cloud more and more, but there's still a significant problem when it comes to adopting the cloud further and that's the skills shortage and our new Government whoever they might be needs to act fast

As the Editor of Cloud Computing Intelligence I get to talk to a lot of people, in all sorts of businesses from large enterprises through to small start-ups, and what always amazes me is the energy and enthusiasm everyone has for the cloud.

Cloud is here and it’s being used for all different sizes of organisation from the public sector through to the private sector. While the initial worries about the security of data held in the cloud are still there, it is now no longer a blocker to the take up of the cloud. Security is still taken seriously, but organisations now look at it as an acceptable risk, that they need to understand and work with, as they can all now see that the benefits of cloud vastly outweigh the drawbacks.

Additionally the lack of big names in the cloud world is also no longer a problem. HP, Microsoft and IBM have all actively embraced the cloud. HP has jumped on open source and its Helion OpenStack cloud solutions are a radical shake up from the sort of solutions you would have seen coming from HP even five years ago. Plus their ideas for a new application-market based on OpenStack should if all goes according to plan shake up the current cloud market substantially. Microsoft has worked very hard to keep its Azure cloud platform from turning into a proprietary cloud solution and this openness has turned it into the second choice in the cloud market after Amazon. While IBM has invested heavily in its SoftLayer cloud platform, is acquiring cloud businesses to bolster its cloud suite, and as with Microsoft it’s now willing to work with anyone.

So everything is rosy? Well not quite, there is still a skills gap in the cloud and it’s getting worse not better, and this isn’t going to go away quickly.  Universities are starting to produce graduates with cloud skills, but it’s still a drop in the ocean compared to what we need.  A recent statement from Andrus Ansip, European Commission (EC) Digital Single Market chief, said. “Despite rapid growth in the ICT sector, creating some 120,000 new jobs a year, Europe could face a shortage of more than 800,000 skilled ICT workers by 2020."

What is needed is for the new Government on May 8 – whoever that may be - to take the lead and put more training initiatives in the pipeline. They need to help businesses large and small with financial help, to train the people they already have, and above all they need to help create new skilled staff through a vastly increased apprenticeship scheme. Apprentices, by the way, can be any age and as of Jan 1 this year the Government will help businesses take on apprentices with grants of up to £3,000 per year - in London - for training that can be controlled and shaped by the employer.  And from your side what's needed is to keep your faith and enthusiasm in the cloud, and to not wait for the cloud-skilled graduates to arrive but instead to go and find out more about what apprenticeships can offer.   



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