The challenge of closing skill gaps in Cloud technology

The last two years have been rough for organizations. You have probably had to face at least one of the following challenges too: absence of staff, supply shortages and remote working. The latter implies you have had to introduce and keep up with new ways of working and new technologies. Things like hybrid meetings and collaborating on Microsoft Teams. In general, the reliance on Cloud has increased quite drastically.

Not only has it been a struggle for organizations and people to skill up. Mindsets have deeply evolved, as well. The typical 2022 organization – meaning, probably many of your competitors – is on the hunt for constant modernization, if not sheer innovation, through Cloud technology. Understandably, you might be worried about missing out yourself.  You might notice that your people, both knowledge workers and your own IT staff, are facing a daunting digital skills gap on a day-to-day basis. Your organization is not alone. This is the story we hear from many.

That made us wonder. How do our own IT professionals at Xylos experience this skill-gap phenomenon. We checked in with a few of the IT graduates that joined us recently at Xylos and participate(d) in our Young Graduates Program. Did their school environments respond timely to the scarcity in the skills market?

Below are two testimonials from Junior IT Consultants at Xylos: Zakaria Nassiri and Maarten De Moor. Let’s see if you recognize any of their experiences yourself…

Zakaria Nassiri

Why Cloud?

“I was afraid to miss the train of this digital revolution

In today’s diverse industries, migration to the Cloud environment is a crucial move. In my view, Cloud computing is appealing to any organization: from new startups to multinationals. Also, think of governments, international financial institutions, world-famous web-native companies… The Cloud is a short word with numerous interesting and a broad array of components.

I’m strongly convinced that we are already in the Cloud revolution. It represents the future of our work system. For these reasons, I was afraid to miss the train of this digital revolution.

Gathering new skills at Xylos

Since my start at Xylos in the Cloud Department (as part of Xylos’ Young Graduates program), I have already received a lot of exclusive, fascinating knowledge. Starting from Microsoft Azure to Azure DevOps. First, Microsoft Azure that can function in different services, think of IaaS, PaaS and SaaS.

At Xylos, I’m constantly learning how to make the most of Microsoft Azure in deploying and maintaining services. Those deployment environments run in one or more Microsoft datacenters. Automating these implementations by BICEP templates and ARM templates is essential and crucial here. Xylos gives you the time and space to master these templates in order to facilitate the deployment of resources.

Recently, I started to delve more deeply into Azure DevOps. Concepts like Agile, Waterfall, YAML CI/CD pipelines actually became clear rather immediately. In brief, Azure DevOps is used to accelerate processes, drive innovation and increase efficiency to create a healthy enterprise.

From academic background to the forefront of Cloud technology

Looking at the knowledge I have acquired at Xylos in such little time, I can only conclude that the shortage of quality personnel on the market is completely unsurprising.

My academic experience was certainly important to understand some general concepts. More specifically, the global operation of Windows and Linux servers and the course of communication within an intranet. It also allowed me to analyze the benefits and potential risks when using or not using a private, public or hybrid environment. My background was useful for me in keeping an overview and analyzing various factors.

The best way to express the gap between my knowledge of pre- and post-Xylos adventure is this: technical details and automation. At Xylos, you learn to use platforms optimally, use specific PowerShell scripts, perform test migrations, tailor-make personal monitoring to stimulate progress… In short, you get all the means to specialize in different domains within the Cloud. Looking at the knowledge I have acquired at Xylos in such little time, I can only conclude that the shortage of quality personnel on the market is completely unsurprising.

The Cloud market is experiencing enormous growth and has far from reached the boundaries of its potential. I feel education has not quite been able yet to evolve its training offer accordingly. This can be improved by providing targeted trainings, to implement the theory step-by-step, in practice. Anyway, with the challenges that society is facing in mind (health crisis, economic changes, rising security issues…), I am quite happy to have received such relevant, tailor-made training from Xylos.

Maarten De Moor

From academic training to the real world

I got a good basis at school that is and could be useful throughout various projects. Mostly things related to scripting (bash, CMD/PS, python), networking, SQL & web servers, Windows Server and Linux server, virtualization… During the young graduates program, self-study and thanks to the support from the team, I learned a lot in a short time.

To me, the gap between school and the so-called real world is clearly Cloud-shaped. In the program I followed during my studies, none of this was covered.  Cloud basics, IaaS, PaaS, SaaS, to infra as code, AVD, Azure-specific components, etc. These are all things I started learning about at Xylos… At an impressive pace, I might add.

Closing the Cloud skills gap

It’s also up to ourselves to reach out and look for community contributions.

It seems to me that initiatives such as Cloud Camp by Xylos are more than welcome for many starting and probably even experienced IT professionals. They offer the perfect addition to current IT courses. Collaborations with schools (e.g. guest lectures, workshops…) could also contribute to closing this skill gap, if you ask me.

It’s also up to ourselves to reach out and look for community contributions. Microlearning from blog posts or training videos can be of great value. Therefore, I’m pretty excited about how Xylos has decided to start doing Cloud Camp Live sessions. I really hope I will be able to contribute myself as well.

Want to identify (and close) the Cloud skill gaps in your organization?

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