Which Data Center Skills are in Demand Today

Latest State of the Data Center Industry survey results show hunger for automation and cloud, DCIM, load balancing, and more

Bill Kleyman

October 1, 2015

2 Min Read
Which Data Center Skills are in Demand Today
(Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Today’s data center is an evolving engine supporting new types of workloads and users. There are new kinds of demands being placed around resource controls, facilities management, and data center optimization. Businesses are spending more money on their environments to better compete in an evolving world.

Cloud is a big part of that evolution. Global spending on Infrastructure-as-a-Service is expected to reach about $16.5 billion in 2015, an increase of 32.8 percent from 2014, with a compound annual growth rate from 2014 to 2019 forecast at 29.1 percent, according to Gartner.

As their approach to infrastructure changes, organizations are looking to invest in good people to support new initiatives. This means personnel needs to evolve with new demands of the market, which has created new positions, evolved others, and has forced the data center industry to invest in new talent.

Abut one third of respondents to our sister company AFCOM's latest State of the Data Center Survey, for example, said their personnel costs have increased because of new training and certification requirements. Yet, traditional data center infrastructure roles remain hard to fill.

It’s a competitive market, and it’s not always easy to find the right people. Respondents to the survey have had challenges filling the following top three roles:

  1. Data center facility technicians, engineers, and operators: 42 percent

  2. IT systems and/or applications personnel: 20 percent

  3. Network and telecommunications personnel: 19 percent

Furthermore, 69 percent of respondents indicated that they’ve had to increase investment in data center IT and facility personnel within the past three years, while 71 percent said they will have to increase investment in data center IT and facilities professionals over the next three years. So, what are the driving factors for these increases?

  • 53 percent indicated that there is increased demand for onsite coverage.

  • 38 percent said that retention costs for existing staff have increased.

  • 33 percent said that increased training and certification requirements drove up costs.

All of this translates to more career opportunities and growth within the data center space. Organizations are looking for diverse skill sets and data center professionals who can have more impact on business processes.

Here are the top responses to the question about skills data center and IT operations managers are looking for in potential hires:

  • Automation and cloud

  • Cisco UCS capabilities

  • DCIM experience

  • Skills around load balancing and unified communications

  • Network engineering

Certifications are critical as well. The top five job skills where certifications are required for a data center operations role are:

  1. Facilities management

  2. Data and/or network security

  3. Network engineer/training

  4. Operations and process management

  5. Project management

The demand around data center and cloud services will only continue to grow. Data center professionals will need to know how their underlying architecture impacts the business, the users, and the overall ecosystem. They’ll need to understand more about workloads they support and how to best align with business goals.

Download the full State of the Data Center Survey for more details

About the Author(s)

Bill Kleyman

Bill Kleyman has more than 15 years of experience in enterprise technology. He also enjoys writing, blogging, and educating colleagues about tech. His published and referenced work can be found on Data Center Knowledge, AFCOM, ITPro Today, InformationWeek, NetworkComputing, TechTarget, DarkReading, Forbes, CBS Interactive, Slashdot, and more.

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