Here’s Why Training Will Get You a Job in the Cloud

Standing in the way of the cloud’s expected growth isn’t technology, but a growing shortage of tech professionals with the right skills, hiring managers say. Currently, companies are struggling to fill an estimated 1.7 million open cloud jobs—more than 24 percent of the 7 million positions expected to be available by 2015. In a study conducted for Microsoft, researcher IDC said the number of workers needed to fill those positions will grow by 26 percent each year during that period.

Sunny CloudscapeCushing Anderson, an IDC vice president, calls this skills gap a “harsh reality” that companies face. The solution, he says, lies in getting more tech professionals the training and certifications they need to handle cloud-related jobs. Because cloud technologies require new skills, he sees this as a more challenging staffing problem than tech managers usually face. “There is no one-size-fits-all set of criteria for jobs in cloud computing,” he observes. Thus, training and certification are “essential” for preparing candidates to work in cloud-related positions.

In particular, during 2013 companies will seek developers and engineers who can create software for the cloud, as well as infrastructure experts who can oversee data migration, vendor performance and other first-generation projects, says David Foote, CEO of researcher Foote Partners in Vero Beach, Fla. Companies also want next-generation enterprise architects who understand how the cloud fits into their existing structure, along with cloud administrators and resource planners who can estimate enterprise-level needs for computing capacity. Security specialists will continue to be in demand, but they’ll need the ability to identify and mitigate cloud-specific risks.

Foote believes that cloud hiring slowed in 2012 for another reason: Some companies had to address architectural, cultural and organizational issues that got in the way of data sharing, analysis and effective migration. With many of those resolved, he expects hiring for cloud-related positions to ramp up in 2013.

The Short-Term Approach

On a Microsoft blog, Adina Mangubat, CEO of Seattle-based Spiral Genetics, said her solution has been to hire employees who seem like a good cultural fit, then train them to handle cloud-related jobs. Anderson thinks this is a good approach. “As opposed to leaving a position open for a year and waiting for a perfect set of skills, hire someone with potential and train them,” he says.

If more managers took that approach it would be good news for tech professionals, many of whom contend that employers should hire based on a candidate’s overall experience, then pick up the tab for specialized training.

But relying on that approach gives an advantage to those willing to spend their own money on training. Even people deemed to be “good fits” will require more time and investment to get up to speed. Employers simply prefer to hire people who can hit the ground running.

70 Responses to “Here’s Why Training Will Get You a Job in the Cloud”

  1. Any suggestions as to how to best get the right training. I don’t want to spend time and money getting a skill that isn’t high in demand just because it has the word CLOUD in the title.

    • There’s also the possibility that, even if you do enroll in a program for a “hot” skill, by the time you complete the program, that “hot” skill has been replaced by another “hot” skill.

      I’m thinking of switching my MBA concentration from marketing management to MIS. I enjoyed the project management concepts that were touched on in my most recent class, and they would be expanded in the MIS concentration classes. I don’t know if this will qualify me for “cloud” work (on the business side as opposed to the programming side), but frankly, I don’t know what else would. The technology changes too quickly for universities to adjust. The program I am in is focusing on churning out adaptable business leaders who can think, plan and lead companies into the future. It doesn’t focus on specific hard skills, because they change too quickly.

      • Now that I’m a business student, I’m convinced that what we really need are more people who understand how to run businesses. We need more competent leaders. A competent leader would understand what we’re talking about here, that technology changes too quickly for universities or “career schools” to keep up. The focus of a university should be on producing critical thinkers who have the ability to pick up on new technologies quickly. There is a place for hard skills, but the concentration should be on those that will *never* go out of fashion, like math. Calculus hasn’t changed since Newton invented it.

        Continuing education is the responsibility of an employer.


    Pardon me for being skeptical, but Microsoft has never been afraid of letting the truth to get in the way of a good story. Microsoft has been selling the “skills shortage” myth for quite sometime now.

    Bill Gates has an interest in importing cheap third world labor into the United States in order to reduce labor costs, and has found that the politically correct way to do that is to claim a skills shortage myth. He began his effort by hiring two of his father’s shady business associates to lobby Congress to support an increased number of H-1B visas. The “business associates” of Gates Sr. are two guys named Jack Abramoff and Grover Norquist. After Abramoff was sent to prison for bribing Congressmen, Gates began a different strategy. Bill Gates became a philanthropist.

    Bill Gates reassigned his job title of CEO to Steve Ballmer (Gates kept the title of Chairman of the Board at Microsoft). And Bill Gates became a philanthropist. Bill Gates began to spread his vast wealth to further the philanthropic activities to the benefit of, you guessed it, Bill Gates. One of his philanthropic exercises is to pass out money to so-called “think tanks” to concoct studies that reach predetermined conclusions that benefit the financial interests of Bill Gates.

    For instance, Bill Gates has provided millions of dollars of funding to the Brookings Institute, who in return concoct studies by a researcher with absolutely no technical training that reach predetermined conclusions that benefit Bill Gates financial interests. Then the Brookings Institute publishes the results of their concocted study on Brookings Institute letterhead.

    Then Bill Gates and Microsoft can continue their practice of laying off US workers and backfilling those positions with cheap, entry level, third world workers.


    Oh, all we need is training, huh? Well great, what training? Where do we get the training? How much does it cost?


    This is just more skills shortage propaganda. Often the very corporate executives that claim there is a skills shortage are the same corporate executives that construct certification and training barriers that have nothing to do with technical ability. IT IS COST! Microsoft’s training is just another Bill Gates scam to liberate more young people from their money.

    Take for instance the Microsoft technology C#/.NET. The beginner course at a local private training facility is $7000! That is just step one of a multistep process. Look at Spring technology owned by VMware. The barrier to certification is the cost of REQUIRED training, which amounts to $2790 for a four day class which coaches you on how to pass their test. Unless you pay VMware $2790 to attend one of their training classes, you will not be certified. Certification is not offered to students who learn Spring on their own or by other means.

    The barrier in most of these lessons is the price of the training, not the technical challenges of the technology. These training/certification scams are just OUTRAGEOUSLY PRICED scams the “educate” gullible students in some transient technology that will only gain them temporary employment at best.

    • Hi –

      I take all your points, and I wondered if you’d do me a favor (anyone else is welcome to jump in on this, too): Post in this thread two or three questions you’d like to ask employers and/or managers about the “advantage of training.” We’ll call some of them and put the questions to them, then write up what they say.

      If you — or, again, anyone else out there — wants to be interviewed to provide counterpoints, send me an email and we’ll set something up. If anyone wants to write a guest post about all this, let me know about that, too.

      If you want to get your message across, why should we limit it to the comments and discussion boards? Let’s get it out in front of more people, one way or another.



      • I am confused as to what specific training these companies are talking about, especially in light of the fact that there is a problem in this country with scam “career schools” that are little more than diploma mills. They promise students ‘training for a career in [insert high-pay field here],” but when the students graduate, they find that no employer recognizes the value of the diploma.

        I had this happen to me in the 90’s, when I got a “paralegal certificate” from a now-defunct “career school.” Several potential employers told me, very bluntly, that the diploma wasn’t worth the paper it was printed on. I wish I had talked to them before wasting all that time and money.

        So these would be my questions:

        * Which specific skills are these employers looking for? “Cloud skills” is a very broad category; it’s like saying “marketing skills.”
        * Further to the above, which specific training programs/schools/diplomas do these employers recognize as valid?

        Further, since I’m in an MBA program, I am curious as to opportunities exist on the business side of cloud computing, so I would add this:

        * Would an MBA with a concentration in MIS be considered sufficient “training” for a cloud-oriented job on the business side? Also note that, in my case, I have an undergrad degree in Math/CIS.
        * If yes, which specific jobs would the degree qualify me for?
        * If no, are there any entry-level cloud-oriented jobs–jobs that would put me on a career path–that the degree would qualify me for?

      • I’m looking for business-oriented jobs because that seems to be where my strengths lie. My undergrad GPA was only 3.1. My GPA in my MBA classes is at 3.96, at the halfway point through the program. This includes several math classes where my fellow business students struggled mightily; my latest professor–in my probability class–actually told me that if everyone had my math skills, he wouldn’t have as many problems.

        While I’m never going to be the World’s Greatest Programmer Evah, it seems to me that strong analytical, math *and* writing skills should have some value to an employer.


        Mark, the following are my questions:

        1. What is the course work?

        2. What is the cost?

        3. Where is the course offered?

        4. How much time do we need to commit?

        5. Where do we go if we do NOT get a job?

    • Hi Twins Fan. I got my first certification in 2000 – NT 4.0 MCSE Track and paid a good amount for the training. I have a close friend from college who thought if we got this certification along with our college BA degrees we could start in the middle instead of the bottom during the post Y2K era. My History/Secondary Education did not pay like I hoped it might and I did not have the stomach to teach. I had only made $8.25/hour prior to completing the training and certification. My first job was $21/hour and then I landed a corp helpdesk job where the reason I was hired was said certification plus degree at a decent salary. I wont say how much they paid me cause you will laugh, but for me it was the key to paying off college debt and starting a career.

      I got severanced after 4 1/2 years after I started that job and had done well. It was the management above us that caused the sell off. They offered me some money to stay and shut down the operation and I did some other things outside of the business. One off contract work and fixing peoples PC’s. I was not doing that much so it seemed like I needed to get my certs up to date. I then completed the upgrade exams to MCSA Server 2003 then upgraded to MCITP Server 2008, then Virtualization and then this last July MCSE Private Cloud totaling 14 passed exams.

      I found the exams were asking questions about “product features” and how to apply those to business problems. Once I found that with one exams it became obvious what I should look for. I used Microsoft E Learning videos and practice tests, Microsoft Virtual Academy which was free and Pluralsight training for things like AFDS, Azure and Biztalk. Some of it cost a few hundred dollars and some was free. You just have to take the time to prepare. That in itself is the hardest thing to do when you have a 40+ hour job.

      I think learning the product features and understanding how Information Technology is quite generic. It does not matter if your company sells bottles of oil, candy bars or processes financial data, its all the same thing. The challenges of making the data always available and up to date along with disaster recovery have been with us for some time. The “cloud” offers solutions to those historical problems. If I would offer any advice to passing the exams it would be to understand that.

      I wish you luck

      Take care


  4. Sorry, the idea of the cloud technology is to greatly reduce expenses by sharing common IT infrastructure, not to provide long-term great jobs to the IT folks. It’s like “off-shoring” the infrastructure in the first place, without ever hiring an entire department!
    Maybe I’ve been told too many times I was an “expensive” resource 🙂

  5. I am glad someone is putting forth the idea that it’s time to start thinking about training people instead of expecting the perfect candidate to fall from the sky. In the last 5 years, employers have gotten the idea that employees should already have the training necessary to do the job and that employers don’t have to invest anything. The problem with that is many fold. One is, if I already have a job, doing what a prospective employer is looking for, why should I leave? You don’t offer training, growth or something different. All you want is the perfect tool. People aren’t like tools that can be bought at the local Ace Hardware. The next thing you know, they’ll want their money back if the new employee doesn’t fullfil their expectations. I realize that arrogance of supply is driving a lot of this, but when is common sense coming back? Mark, thanks for that article.

  6. Responding to some of the posts which negatively views cloud computing as not a great source of jobs for IT, I would I have to disagree with their perspective because I happen to be training in cloud computing and the technology is the next wave of IT and this article is right on the money in that employers are facing more shortages of cloud computing in the future and those who have a negative view of this awesome technology most likely have had nonpositive experiences with employers in regard to them perhaps due to lack of technological know-how.

  7. I am getting really tired of the “if you only had training, you would have a job” stories.

    This really is all about corporations increasing profits by depressing wages rather than making better products. I am a very competent, experienced project manager with recent experience implementing cloud, on premises and blended applications. I have converted enterprise systems from dedicated hardware to virtualized servers and storage. I also have extensive experience, both as project manager and hands-on with business intelligence solutions.

    After my position was eliminated only to be replaced by an h1b contractor, I have been interviewed for a number of positions. In each case I got through multiple phone interviews to be rejected when they saw that I was older at a face to face interview.

    So if any of the recruiters for those 1.7 million openings are reading this, contact me. I have the skills and experience and can start tomorrow.

    • Steve have you completed any certifications for the clould? Having experince is good but employeers need to know you have what it takes to pass the exams. Also if you do not have a college degree it will hurt you. Just my 2 cents. Good luck in your search. Ciao!

    • Steve, I disagree with your post. I live in one of the hot tech spots (Austin, TX), with massive connection to the University of Texas and its share of recruiters, and let me tell you what: the article is spot on. The biggest growth here are in Cloud Computing, Mobile Computing, and User Interfaces.

      In most of the comments you are posting, you are taking it out on the H1Bs. You are partially right, but for every job an H1B has taken, many of us have succeeded in keeping our jobs here just fine, so face it: there IS an issue with the quality of the workforce. Over the summer, I did some work with the biggest financial retirement company, and guess what? There were a lot of techs who did not know what they were doing, but spoke the loudest in the smoke area about H1Bs and the likes.

      I do agree with you about the age situation though, but that is hardly related to the topic of the article, and to H1Bs in general.

      • My comments are directly related. If there is such a shortage of cloud resources, why aren’t companies willing to pay those of us with current demonstrated expertise?

        In a market economy these employers with such a pressing shortage should be willing to pay for these rare skills including being willing to pay to develop resources they have.

        In my case and many others that I witnessed first hand, a regular employment position paying around $100k is replaced by a contract h1b making $25-$35/hr.

        I am in Silicon Valley and have experience with cloud, virtualization, community platforms and secure mobile access, but I make more than the contractors hired through Infosys and its competitors.

        The sad part is that if management knew how to calculate ROI, they would notice that we experienced PM’s get projects done quicker, better and on budget which means that the companies actually save money with senior people.

    • Steve,
      I know exactly how you feel. I was laid off in June 2009 while the company was building their ‘Private Cloud’.

      I spent 13 months interviewing for jobs that I was qualified for (or over-qualified) and came to the conclusion that my age and the idea that I would be ‘expensive’ was the reason for not being hired. One of the problems I ran into is that all jobs require some level/type of certification in order to even get through the HR shredder. The fact that I had 15 years of experience didn’t matter. (I even had to talk to an HR person and tell them that the reason they claimed I wan’t qualified was the exact type of experience I had!). I was initially denied an interview for a position that had be re-advertised and had interviewed for (a new state governor closed the job before they could hire…)

      In response to the certification requirements I paid for training out of my pocket while unemployed and that did nothing.

      I was fortunate to get a job providing user support with a 25% salary reduction. I’m still looking for the right opportunity but if you don’t want to relocate, or can’t, and your skills aren’t “in the Cloud” there isn’t much out there.

      Nothing wrong with being certified but if all you ever do is take the class and pass the course then I don’t see any value in the cert. But if you don’t have the cert no one will hire you so you have a chance to get the experience. Catch-22.

    • Steve, YES to “depressing wages rather than making better products.” I work for a large corporation that just went through another re-org which involved many layoffs and most people being shuffled to entirely new departments. In my company’s case, not only are we creating poor products, but also we are not supporting our digital products at all, once they’re for sale. And that means unhappy–and soon-to-be unhappier–customers. In my opinion, if the customer isn’t happy, what is the point of anything the company tries to sell?

      Mark, somewhat related to your request below, what about asking managers about lack of training for company-specific products and procedures? As in, if a company lays off or moves around everyone that knew company/product-specific skills and info, what are the managers going to do to fill these new gaps? And if they are not going to fill these gaps, what will they do when customers stop buying or return products?

  8. mchlyrs


    I tend to agree with the slant of the comments you are receiving. The same sort of thing was being said when VoIP came into play, or going back even further, when internetworking was taking hold. The “problem” is not training, the problem is with hiring managers and HR departments who are trying to fill job requisitions from managers who specify that positions be filled with candidates who have previous experience (another way of saying “track record”). Training does not necessarily equate to experience and Hiring Managers, HR, and people in general are poor judges of potential – at least that is my take and experience… Otherwise there would not be an over-reliance on automation tools and keyword analysis in the hiring process – most HR departments are trying to fill round holes with round pegs, especially in regards to a minimum amount of experience.

    Adina Mangubat, CEO of Seattle-based Spiral Genetics has the right idea, but she is an obvious exception since they are a startup and relatively small (6 employees as of August 2012). Her focus on a cultural fit, and the fact that she is a CEO focused on the hiring process, was a dead giveaway that they are an exception – most companies are looking for skills/experience first.

    I can’t say that your advice to pay for and get your own training is a bad idea – but I would say be smart about it when it is your own money – because it probably is not the golden ticket to a new job. Personally I’d steer away from vendor certifications and pursue a general area of study from a platform like ($29/mo.) – let your potential employer pick up the tab on the expensive vendor certification since their environments dictate which certifications matter.

    In the meantime, I suspect that things will proceed as they always have… recruiters will try to first locate those people who already have experience by raiding the competitors. And HR departments will continue to be the CV shredders they have always been.

    • You’re right that this isn’t a new topic, though I think it’s only been relatively recently companies have cut back on the amount of money they’re will to spend to train even their own employees. There were a few pointrs I was trying to make in the story, and maybe I didn’t make them as well as I should have: First, the skills shortage here has gotten to a point where more companies are willing to take on people without the “right” background and train them. Despite that,m they’d rather not spend the money on training if they don’t have to.That means being up to speed gives you an advantage.

      Whether or not it’s worth spending your own money and time to get the training isn’t for me to say. As a hiring manager, I’m much more interested in bringing on someone who can get up to speed quickly. As an employee, I wish I had more (meaning, I wish my company would pay for) opportunities to get educated/trained/credentialed — or even just exposed to more ideas and insights about what’s going on out there. And, no, I haven’t spent very much of my own money to go to a conference or take courses. So, I think you’re right that if you’re going to go and get trained on your own, you’ve got to approach it carefully.

      The thing is it’s hard to change the dynamic here. I don’t blame managers for finding ready-to-go candidates more attractive. I think that’s human nature, and it’s not going to change any time soon. And, you’re right again, training isn’t a magic bullet. And it helps distinguish one candidate from another at most steps in the process.

      At the end of the day, finding a job is more alchemy than science. This is another aspect of it to stir into the mix.

      Thanks for your comments,


      • Just saw a report on the Today show about a trend in hiring over 40 interns. Please add to the question list a topic about this. I have found that although I want to move down a different path it isn’t easy at my level/salary. Human nature understands why you leave a job for more money but not for less. I wish I could find a company willing to take me on as an intern with the thought that if I do a good job they would offer a long term job. It would also make it much easier for me to see what training would be needed for me to succeed. Some of us are willing to take one step back in order to take two steps forward.

        And if hiring managers wants a person who could hit the ground running just think about getting someone with years of IT experience at a reduced rate who wants to prove themselves.

      • Interesting you brought up internships. Since I am an older worker–a Gen X’er–the proliferation of using unpaid interns as opposed to low-paid entry-level workers is possibly the biggest reason why I’ve given up on ever being able to use my Math/CIS degree.

        I would have no problem at all with an “internship” per se, but:

        1) I cannot afford to work for free. I just can’t. If I am making no money, then there is no money for work clothes or gas in my car/train fare…let alone food so that I don’t have to sit there watching everyone else eat while I try to fill up on water. I need to be paid *something,* even if it is minimum wage.

        2) If an internship pays between minimum wage and $12.00/hour, then it’s not reasonable to expect me to commute 20, 30, 40 miles or more one-way to get to it, or to move for it. With gas prices hovering darn near $5.00/gallon, if I’m going to take a job that pays that low, I’m looking at about a 15-mile radius in which I can commute. Otherwise, every cent I “earn” will be poured into gasoline and wear and tear on my car, or on train fare. Further, people don’t pick up and move so they can take a temp job paying $12.00/hour or less, at least not if they have any financial sense.

        I took a [non-tech] temp job last year that paid only $10.00/hour. It was located about 8 miles from my home, and parking was free. That gig made financial sense; I wasn’t making an amount >= what I was spending on gas and parking/train fare.

        If I could find a tech job or “internship” located reasonably close to my home, with free parking, I could go work there for $10.00/hour as well. I could even go as low as minimum wage. But I cannot go down to $0.00/hour.

        I don’t understand why I should have to go down to $0.00/hour. The $10.00/hour temp job was a clerical gig that required little more than the ability to type, follow directions and use a computer. That was it. You didn’t even have to type fast; 25 wpm was sufficient. It is beyond me why they would be willing to pay $10.00/hour for bottom-level clerical work, but tech employers don’t want to pay anything, literally, for labor that is far more skilled, even on an entry level. (On another thread, there was a debate WRT whether AJAX should be considered a high-level skill. I guarantee that none of my co-workers at that temp job would even know what AJAX *is.* They’d think you were talking about cleanser. But their labor was valued at $10.00/hour.)

        • Trothaar:
          They do it because they can. There’s always some greater fool, at least in this economy, that will work for free or substandard wage. This is because of the surplus of workers. Call it the arrogance of supply. Whatever the case, if no one applied for these positions, they’d have rethink it.

      • MyMotor: someone on LinkedIn once told me that in order to work unpaid internships, I should “just go on welfare.” I’m not making this up.

        That was possibly the single most offensive piece of “advice” I’ve ever been given. I have never collected a dime of welfare in my life, and I’m not about to start now.

        What angers me is that if the practice of unpaid “interns” collecting welfare is widespread–and I suspect that it is; how else could they be supporting themselves?–this means that instead of the employers paying for these temp workers, everyone who actually works for a living is paying for it.

        As an anarchist, I think that if you want to work for FREE, you should be allowed to do so. But I also think that it should be up to YOU to figure out how to support this lifestyle choice. Get money from your family, get yourself a sugar daddy or momma, sell fruit on freeway offramps, beg on the streets, I don’t care…but you should absolutely NOT be permitted to force taxpayers to support you and YOUR lifestyle choice.

        And on the employer side, it should not be up to ME to pay YOUR employees. That is YOUR problem.

        • I am a classical liberal, may be minarchist. That said, they do it because they can and because they get positive feedback meaning some idiot does it. Going on welfare to do an internship is nuts, IMO, but politically, it seems to be the direction that this country is going. All I can say is that the best medicine is a vibrant economy. We aren’t there yet and I have my doubts for the future. between collectivists/progressives and corporatists, we are changing our society to one of control and measured outcomes that favor the lowest common denominator. At 50 yo, I don’t think I will be part of this as I have may be 15 years of work left at most. May be the best bet is to screw training and trying to please a master and go it alone. I can tell you that after getting a MS in IS, the only person it made a difference to was me. It hasn’t done anything for my career and if anything, probably held me back, which goes to your observations. Our society has become one that is not only a service economy, but one where employers now just want widgets that are replaceable and do one thing. I bet in 10 years, may be a little more, that when China becomes free, no one will want to come here anymore, but go there. We’ve gotten the results we deserve.

      • I’m probably just going to stay with the marketing management concentration instead of switching to MIS. The MIS classes would be more difficult, and I don’t think they’ll make me any more marketable to an employer. At least with plain, old-fashioned marketing, I might be able to launch an entrepreneurial opportunity. I can’t do anything entrepreneurial with MIS.

        • My experience of the job market says you are more likely to find a job that pays well in Marketing than in IT. Exec’s see Marketing and Sales as bringing in business and IT as overhead. They are more willing to pay for Marketing people.

  9. I interact with Unskilled labor every day. We outsourced our IT department to a major Indian vendor that only employee’s unskilled entry level people that have demonstrated they cannot follow any written instructions…over and over again. Their unbelievable lack of even the most rudimentary troubleshooting skills is mind boggling after two years of this. Our constant 6 hour troubleshooting calls to fix the simplest of issues is at best a poor excuse for a comedy skit. I realize it’s past time to vacate my position, as being around here when the house of cards they built collapses would be untenable. .

  10. These days to many people are out of work and this is tough for individuals looking for work especially students trying to acquiring their degrees from Colleges or Technology Schools.
    It seems the only thing the powers to be want to build are prisons and not fill vacant positions then more talent is actually applying for positions out of the United States. If we want our, Infrastructure
    and Technology sector better than what it actually is we need to start hiring some or all of the students currently attending school before they are offered positions outside of the United States.

  11. Tech professionals in the U.S. are better off leveraging cloud technologies to create their own businesses than worrying about certs and trying to hit moving targets. Big software and tech companies have let employees know exactly what kind of treatment they can expect to receive over the last 15 years of outsourcing and the game of musical chairs. For those in a job, I would recommend beefing up on the LAMP stack knowledgebase while in your current job and focus your energy on starting a new business or joining a startup. For those who need work, just take any job that pays the bills and do the same.

    On a Microsoft blog, … – don’t care.

  12. I Like all the comments said if you think about it, China just developed new trains along with new tracks and these trains can actually travel to the speed of 220 miles per hour. Travel times are considerably cut in half we fight amongst each other instead of bringing about New and Improved Technology. If we continue to be so far behind in, Technological Advancements our society will watch other countries advance their infrastructures while we are left far behind. I think to many of us avert from new ideas without seeing the full potential of them jobs are created by innovative individuals who actually just had a dream. This is what formed our, Great Democracy of United States of America we have forgotten about those principles and accomplishments.

  13. Bussman

    Vendor certifications are a complete farce in terms of determining a person’s technical knowledge and skill.

    I work for a large IP network equipment vendor and the company’s vendor certification program amounts to ony marginally more than knowing the port densities and peformance specifications of the products – essentially the specs needed to sell the product. Passing the certification has little to do with how to develop and configure or troubleshoot an IP network.

    Similarly, there is a very large 900 lb gorilla in the network hardware industry who has a very complex vendor certification program that has been the industry de-facto standard for certifications for years. Many of those certifications are similarly weak in substance but expensive to gain. Every day I get calls from people holding vendor certificates from that vendor’s programs (and many others, too) asking me to help them troubleshoot a network issue. These troubleshoots all follow a simple and logical path of ellimination to get to the root of the cause. To do this one must know the protocols that make an IP network function. But most of these “vendor certified” people haven’t the foggiest idea how to do this. They have no real problem solving skills and only a few have any idea how the protocols work. To be truthful I get annoyed when a “certified network engineer” asks me about a protocol issue that I expect an “network engineer” to know before the certification is issued. The funny thing is, I have no such certifications but I am the answer guy they call!

    As I see it vendor certification is just another lever designed to pry more dollars out of someone’s pocket. And those hiring managers and HR departments that demand vendor certifications are the real fools in this fiasco.

    So the bottom line in my comment is hiring managers and HR managers need to pay attention and work within the industry to jointly develop standards based training and certification programs that provide focus on how the industry standard protocols function and how they work in multi-vendor environments. The “Cloud” is a multi-vendor environment and it is going to remain that way forever. The technician or engineer of today and tomorrow has to know the standards first for any vendor specific training to be truely meaningful.

  14. attended two different training schools that have now out of business. One filed for bankruptcy a day before graduation. Years later salli mae still after borrowed money. Also no lots of tech with certifications that don’t know jack. Some can’t even open up a computer or fix a laptop and these support guys that read off scripts.

  15. attended two different training schools that have now out of business. One filed for bankruptcy a day before graduation. Years later salli mae still after borrowed money. Also no lots of tech with certifications that don’t know jack. Some can’t even open up a computer or fix a laptop and these support guys that read off scripts.

    • I was lucky. I got ripped off by a “career school” in the early 90’s. The grand total stolen was $1,800.00. These days, “career schools” are ripping off students for 10 times that much money or more…for the same worthless diploma I was sold (a “paralegal certificate”). I don’t even want to know how much they want for an “IT” diploma or “certification.”

      Because I owed so little, I was eventually able to get out from under that debt. I wish I could say the same thing about my student loans for my Math/CIS degree. Because I cannot use it, I will never be able to repay that money. Ever. If I could have gotten a job, I would have been able to repay it. I cannot repay it off of zero income, or off of the low-wage gigs I’m “qualified” to do.

      I’ve heard people complain about making “only” $40,000.00/year. I’ve never earned that much, and I never will. I’d give anything to earn that kind of money.

  16. Anita_H

    great posts in this discussion. I’m also an MBA student/ former web application developer. And the issue of training for the next hot word technology is a challenge. Companies need to realize that someone having fundamental knowledge of a variety of systems is more beneficial in the long run than just being an expert in a specific tech.

  17. Feng Bao

    Interesting comments everyone, thanks for sharing your experiences. I’ve been out of work for awhile now and I’m one of those older guys so I know I’m fighting an uphill battle. Just a quick comment regarding certifications:

    A couple years ago I paid over $300 to take 3 courses that promised would “prepare” me to get a certification. I did very well in these courses, acing all the practice exams. All thru these courses the instructor insisted the key was general knowledge as opposed to specific details mostly because when it comes to technology there are just too many details. This made sense, so I was encouraged. Time came for the actual certification test and I learn it’s a 2 part exam and each part cost almost $300. Furthermore, I look at some sample questions and learn most (not all, but most) are very specific. I became less encouraged. I talked to a few certified and employed contacts and learned they were constantly taking tests to remain current in their certifications just to remain employed. I became very discouraged. I used to think certs meant something, and I’d hope in some situations they do, but I’m not so sure they would be anything more than an expense for me.

    That said, I too am wondering what specific Cloud-related certifications employers will be looking for in 2013? Never mind that I’m not convinced at all that Cloud hiring will increase in 2013!!

  18. jlhopkins28160

    I read this blog post several times and came to the realization that no one knows what they want in terms of IT skills for their organization. IT professionals should periodically update their skills to be current in their jobs and bring value to their companies. Cloud computing is still a relatively new technology so everyone is scratching their heads determining what skills in the realm of cloud infrastructure is needed. Perhaps companies can learn the different types of public cloud infrastructure (SaaS, IaaS, etc.) and then look at the needs of the company. Companies have to create a compelling business case as to why moving operartions to the cloud saves money and brings value to daily operations. While we do need people who can effectively run companies, we also need people in HR departments that have skills in both technology and human resource developement. This would cut down on the vague job descriptions for technical jobs and would finally make a dent in the hiring of individuals compentent in emerging technologies. To understand cloud computing, a person needs skills in networking and security plus basic programming. Once the basics have been mastered you can now discuss training people for cloud positions. There is so much emerging technology coming out daily that you have to prioritize which training would provide value for a company. If you are a member of either IEEE or ACM, Skillsoft is a memeber benefit for these organizations. The key is to pick one or two emerging technologies within cloud computing that would be a career focus. Then practice either creating a cloud system or developing a business case for using as a practical example. I read the interchnages in the comment section and agree it is the responsibility of the employer to provide adequate opportunities for continuing education. Employees also have to supplement that education with training opportunities outside of the job. It is a confusing IT/technology job market and circular discussions will not help us get the people we need to do these jobs.

  19. Mark, I would ask management the following:

    If you damage the economy by maintaining high unemployment and ecomic insecurity for workers who is going to buy your products?

    If you get much or all entry level work in IT done by offshore contractors where are you going to get experienced people when the current ones leave the work force?

    If you create a marketplace where the only jobs that pay well are in law and questionable financial deals why would you expect students to invest time and money in STEM degrees?

      • The main article says that progress is being hampered by a shortage of 1.7 million cloud techies, so I would submit that the companies do have a priority of hiring skilled workers.

        The US is still approximately 25% of the world economy with 4% of the world’s population. I suspect that most companies with operations in the US care about that chunk of the world market.

        • Their first priority is to their stockholders, which means profit. If they really wanted to hire people and train them in the skills, so they have the workers they need, they would, but the bottom line matters more. SO, to reiterate, their first priority isn’t employing people. It’s to make money. Hopefully, somewhere in the process, they will, BUT, they won’t if they can get more productivity out of what they have and search for talent outside out borders. It’s a new world now and one that isn’t confined to geography. We are competing with everyone.

      • Mymoto is right. We learned this in my MBA classes: the primary goal of a financial manager is to increase the wealth of the stockholders. That’s it.

        Due to our growing permanent underclass of “unemployables” and underemployed mall/restaurant workers, the U.S. is on its way to becoming straight-out 3rd World. We have seen our best days come and go. The true growth opportunity is in developing countries like India, which are on an upswing. Wealth is increasing there. Here, it is plummeting.

        None of this matters to the shareholders of a company, because that is simply not their concern. If a company can earn money overseas, it does not matter if the bottom drops out of its U.S. market.

      • To get jobs back we do what we used to do and protect our workers by changing tax laws to penalize companies shipping jobs overseas rather than giving them tax cuts. Then we stop bowing to IT companies demands to increase those 6 year visas that let them import … talent at a cheaper rate. So students are encouraged to get a degree in Computers. A degree helps, but you won’t get hired without somehow showing work experience. Stupid I know, how do you get that experience.

      • The Heretic

        I think we are past the point of using tax policy to accomplish a turn around. It is probably going to take punitive tariffs, changes is government hiring practices, and a single payer health care system to balance the equation.

        The first thing you have to do is define the problem correctly. In this case, our current labor arbitrage is not the root of the problem, but a symptom of a much bigger problem; wage suppression. The labor arbitrage is simply an attempt to fill a need caused by technological changes, hiring practices, and business models that occurred as a result of technological changes; the Internet Resume Mills.

        The Resume Mills have shifted power/costs to one side of the equation; the employer side. The Resume Mills have taken away the power of the individual to negotiate a fair wage and shifted the burden of the learning curve exclusively on the workers. Over time collective bargaining will rise up to correct the problem, in the mean time carnage.

        The first step is to recognize the shift as individuals and the need for market solutions that balances the equation. The government can help by setting the over all environment. The first thing the government should do is change its own hiring practices. IT wages in the public sector are being held below private sector wages. Government wages for stem work should be pushed substantially hirer then the private sector wage suppression. The sucking sound will be talent leaving the private sector intensifying the shortages that the private sector has created for its self. This should force them to address the problem they have created.

        Sherman anti trust actions are also necessary to break up the too big to fail caused by the Fed’s sustained low interest rate environment. There is too much labor negotiating power in the hands of too few. The individual doesn’t stand a chance of even recuperating their learning costs.

        The alternative is that the labor market will eventually move to a world wide labor union. The foreign workers have just as much of a stake in recovering learning costs as American workers. Over time the equation will balance its self out. It always does. In the mean time pain. The problem is much bigger then just the arbitrage. The arbitrage is not the cause. It is a symptom of a much bigger labor market problem.

    • Steve,

      I agree with you 100% on the macroeconomics of asking these sort of questions. One thing to keep in mind; most domestic companies are complaining of the language barrier in the outsourcing support. What is happening is that most of these outsourced companies are filtering jobs back into the U.S. as contracted positions. We all know that an undergrad in CS or IT without exp can pretty much expect not to even get an entry level position. I have 10 years building PC’s for gamers, etc…but when I go to apply for a job in an entry level desktop support role, they want 1-2 years on-the-job training. I hold a AAS with certs A+, sec, and 12 years experience as an Account manager, but I am being told by several companies that I don’t have the necessary exp to get a $12 per hour job. Ridiculous!

      • MAlexander:
        Yup, same here. I have a master’s in IS, 18 years experience with apple and novell certs, but I can’t even get a $15/hr job. The contract job I had a few months ago was for 18/hr, but lasted only 7 weeks. It was a glorified help desk job and the hardest part was learning the internal systems they used for metrics and documentation. Since then, nothing and it took me two and half months to get that.

        I also want to comment on the foreign outsourcing. My wife works as a PM for a major bank that outsources big time. It’s not only a language issue, but quality as well. The quality is not there and the people on this side of the pond have to make it right.

  20. The Heretic

    Here is my question;

    If a pedigree is making $65 an hour now, it takes a thousand hours to learn a new technology, the technology will be obsolete in three years, and the pay is the same, then why should they spend $65,000 plus expenses if they cannot recover the costs in the three year useful life span?

  21. Why do these articles always refer to “hiring managers” and “companies” without ever naming specific organizations? It is articles like this that frustrate and irritate I/T people with these ridiculous requirements that training is a must, yet companies rarely, if ever, pay for or make arrangement for their people to be trained.

    The interviewers are failing in their job by not naming the individuals and stating the job titles of those who state that these skills are a must. The interviewers are failing by not naming these companies, plus they are failing by not digging deeper and asking, “Why?”

    “Why are you demanding that people have these skills rather than hiring someone with a varied background and having that person trained?”

    “Why do you feel the need to require people have 10 years C++, C#, MS-SQL, PL-SQL, Oracle, SQL-Server 2010, Citrix Server, Project Management experience, Cloud experience and Data Architecture experience when the possibility of such an individual exiting is almost nil?”

    “Why do organizations complain that there aren’t enough I/T grads available for positions when there are thousands of people complaining they cannot find a job due to the previously mentioned outlandish experience requirements?”

    • Hi Gary,

      In this case I was reporting on a high-level view, the kind of thing I like to call a data point. Since its finding echoes what a number of managers have told me, it seems like a report that’s worth sharing – nothing more, nothing less.

      But a lot of people have made the same point you have, and have listed questions they’d like to see us ask recruiters and managers. We’re starting to report those stories, and we’ll name our sources when we do.

      Thanks for your comment.