The focus around IT only continues to grow and expand. Many people have the opportunity to look at what they’re doing now and evolve that to become something even greater. Still, there are those folks that truly enjoy being a professional at a specific technology. You know what? There’s nothing wrong with that at all. Many specialized engineers and architects create wonderful careers developing platforms for massive organizations.
However, there are those that want to explore, be noticed, and see what’s beyond the engineer hat. There are those that want to explore more cloud careers. So, what can you do? How can you shine a brighter light on your cloud career path? Let’s take a look!
- Get noticed. Social media is your friend – start using it. Networking, both online and in person, is absolutely critical to your growth as an IT professional. Get out there, write a blog, get noticed, and become a thought-leader around cloud. The other big one around social media is consistency. You create a living profile of yourself in the cloud. Keep it alive and it helps get you noticed. You can get a lot of interaction and share your ideas on blogs and forums. Another big one to remember is that recruiters and hiring managers almost always check online to see what you do and who you are. I was recently interviewing a senior Cisco architect who had absolutely NO professional online presence. It’s a competitive world out there, and social media and professional profiles go a long way. Bottom line: get on social media; it’ll only be to your advantage.
- Diversify your skillset. Cross-training is critical to becoming a next-level cloud professional. By understanding the critical components that make up cloud computing, you suddenly begin to see the big picture. Even by understanding the majority of these components will greatly increase your abilities in the cloud. Also, learn about the software layer that lives within the data center. Cloud APIs are making a big impact in how we control and distribute resources. Start learning more about cloud, network, storage, compute, and, of course, the data center model.
- Learn the language of business. Want to get into the front office? Want to get into the executive or managerial space? Then it’s time to understand direct business needs and how they can be translated into IT solutions. Basically, start thinking like an architect. Look for places where cloud can help with corporate or infrastructure efficiencies. After that, don’t be afraid to speak up! More than ever before organizations are looking for intelligent IT people who understand technology and can explain how it all works in logical business terms. Why is this so critical now? Executives fully understand that technology now directly drives business. This means they need to better integrate business processes with the capabilities of IT. There needs to be that person who can translate business needs into IT solutions
- Understand your value. As you gain experience make sure you understand the value that you bring to both your organization and the industry. Talented engineers often fly under the radar because they’re happy with the status-quo. Just like anything in technology, you have to evolve. Know the value of your experience, education, and certifications as your progress through your career. Here’s a big tip: be wary of position hopping. The grass may be greener, but, after a while, organizations are going to be skeptical in investing time in someone who’ll just leave in 10 months.
- Start to think “outside of the data center.” Be creative with your solutions. The progression of cloud computing, virtualization and converged infrastructure has created a much larger library of potential solutions for today’s business challenges. Many types of delivery models and optimizations all act as pillars to create a more powerful overall platform. As a creative cloud professional, think outside of the data center when searching for solutions. Get your head into the clouds and begin to understand where certain challenges can be overcome in using creative solutions.
There are a lot of new areas in the IT and cloud world to jump into. Big data center shops are actively looking for cloud engineering and architecture professionals. Probably the biggest and best piece of advice to any IT professional is this: never stop learning. Read blogs, take in new articles, download white papers, and ask questions.