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The Growing Cloud Skills Shortage: Q&A with Couchbase's Rahul Pradhan

The ability to seamlessly analyze data at scale to provide end users with a more personalized experience requires the know-how to maintain and operate cloud technologies. That’s why modern enterprises must invest strategically in resources and talent that can move modernization efforts forward. This includes implementing technologies that simplify cloud migration, enable existing staff to leverage technologies and languages they’re already familiar with, and facilitate collaboration with internal and external teams—ultimately allowing DevOps to quickly develop innovative and differentiated solutions to better compete in the market.

In what areas specifically are cloud skills not up to the job?

Given the proliferation of cloud solutions and the distributed nature of global businesses, IT infrastructures continue to evolve and are becoming increasingly complex. New technologies are being cobbled together with legacy technologies.

Now, DevOps and IT teams have responsibilities outside of their usual scope of work, including understanding how to operate complex and varied cloud technology stacks, leveraging APIs to integrate workloads to the cloud, supporting and managing hybrid work environments and multi-cloud technologies, containerizing and refactoring applications, leveraging AI and serverless, securing critical IT infrastructures, and having a knowledge of mainstream programming languages that are best for cloud-based software, including Java, JavaScript, Python, and GO.

How is the talent deficit preventing companies from adopting new technologies—which technologies are they trying to leverage?

Organizations are turning to highly sophisticated platforms that facilitate digital transformation. As new technologies emerge, complexity rises and requirements for technical expertise are heightened. With cloud-based technologies like databases, for example, organizations’ digital transformation strategies are moving away from legacy to modern, cloud-based technologies in order to scale and meet customer demands.

To alleviate the pressure placed on teams, decision makers should identify technologies like cloud databases that don’t require technical know-how. Such platforms should focus on simplicity and flexibility while also easily integrating into an organization’s existing tech stack. Additionally, organizations are looking into low-code and no-code technologies to move toward composable infrastructures. These tools guide DevOps teams and citizen developers to create modern applications faster. Furthermore, for development teams to be successful, they’ll need platforms that are fully managed to navigate the complexities of managing databases and their underlying infrastructures.

What are the other effects on companiesdoes this impact organizations in terms of their overall security and governance posture or analytics capabilities?

As more companies shift to the cloud, security, compliance, and governance should be a top priority for leaders (given the proliferation of consumer data privacy legislation). It’s imperative that your platform has met all of the required certifications and has appropriate security standards in place to ensure all communications are encrypted and authorized. Leaders should keep in mind that the cloud is secure and protected because security is a shared responsibility between the cloud provider and the enterprise. 

Today, DevOps pros are spearheading ongoing analytics innovation, urging organizations to provide them with an advanced toolset capable of producing analysis beyond traditional business intelligence. With the right cloud-based database, developers should be able to analyze operational data in real time while reducing costs by eliminating a separate layer for analytical data. This also allows businesses to derive insights, make immediate decisions and drive overall growth.

What can organizations do in 2022 to respond to the cloud adoption challenges they are facing?

To alleviate cloud adoption challenges organizations are facing, leaders should seek out technology that doesn’t require investing in new skills. In fact, a recent survey revealed 60% of architects believe this approach would significantly help meet digital transformation goals.

Take databases, for example. Migrating from an outdated, legacy database to a distributed, NoSQL cloud database makes the transition easier and far more manageable for teams without the need for additional talent. The right database will simultaneously simplify cloud adoption while enabling DevOps professionals to use their existing skills without needing to be retrained. This way, practitioners are able to use their preferred programming languages and can integrate existing platforms that are already in their tech stack to ensure modernization efforts can seamlessly move forward.

What else can organizations do?

In addition to deploying technologies that don’t rely on new technical expertise, organizations can also respond to cloud adoption challenges by better leveraging their DevOps pros. To support DevOps practitioners, leaders should focus on building out KPIs that are dedicated to skills training and attending industry and networking events. DevOps and IT pros should be prepared to revisit technology trainings—in these roles, learning and innovating never stops. Their knowledge is key in narrowing down the skills gap as new team additions will rely on their technical expertise as they grow in their roles.

Managers should also implement frequent “one-on-ones” with team members to ensure their needs are being met, to get feedback on the team’s current processes, and to have a good understanding of their bandwidth and current workloads. Instilling a culture centered around transparency, collaboration and open communication will help strengthen the team so the organization can ultimately deliver better results.

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