Cloud computing featured

5 must-know job roles in the cloud sector - who do you need on your team?

Cloud computing

When it comes to securing the best people for your organisation, there needs to be considerable thought put into what is needed, which will vary depending on the size of the project.

Working in the cloud sector means employees require knowledge of advancing technologies, what role they play in a company, and the security features and cost involved. But there are also a range of soft skills needed, to run throughout a successful team which should not be overlooked.

To be part of a modern-day workforce in such an industry, staff members need a collaborative approach. They have to be open and embracing to change, understand DevOps, and be willing to upskill to remain relevant in an ever-changing tech arena. Organisations are increasingly working in flatter structures, meaning employees need to perform in an autonomous, agile way.  Adopting the mindset of lifelong learning is useful and people can fine tune through learning on the job – through mentoring, formal training and boosting qualities via cloud specific tooling skills, such as Amazon Web Services Training.

But what does it take to ensure a well-oiled machine operates in the cloud sector in today’s society? Elements covering infrastructure, security, storage, networking, and governance all have to be acknowledged. Rachel McElroy, sales and marketing director for cloud sector and DevOps specialist Cranford Group, underlines the five key roles every business needs, to be a success when using technology.

Product owner

Also known as a ‘project manager’ or ‘cloud project manager’, this person understands the commercial and governance sides of the firm. They’re the all-seeing eye, ensuring the team keeps in-line with the budget, and understands what’s needed – in relation to timings and resources – to complete the project. They usually work with other teams during the sales cycle, so they can outline a project’s delivery, and are adept at constructing high-level plans, delivering reports, and leading meetings. It’s a role which suits customer-facing people who can manage several projects at once, and have excellent communication and written skills.

Cloud architect

Usually an IT specialist, they oversee cloud strategy and are concerned with the design network, and the project’s infrastructure. They understand what the customer wants, and work on the best ways to achieve those needs, with a measured approach. They must possess the technical expertise to understand sysadmin, as well as have software development experience, and a good knowledge of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). It’s a position that’s very hands-on, so needs an innovative thinker, who can lead on cloud efficiency.

Developer

A strong background of specific skills such as streaming analytics, data integration, and knowledge of .NET, Java and AWS or Google Cloud Platform are a must for the strongest developers. They should be able to build cloud-compatible frameworks, evaluate emerging technologies, and ideally have DevOps experience. These kinds of positions suit those with a background in computer technology and often a qualification in computer science, or something related. There are also many soft skills involved, including leadership to plan and co-ordinate projects, an agile mind-set, and ability to adapt to lots of change within the cloud sector.

Security architect or analyst

Another highly important role within a team, this person keeps computer systems safe from cyber-attacks. They also need to translate security features to customers, so must be a strong communicator with stakeholders and colleagues. From a hard skills perspective, this is somebody who understands Windows, Cisco systems, VM (virtual machine) work, and testing, amongst other services. A security architect is likely to hold TOGAF, SABSA or CCP accreditations, and be familiar with cyber-attack pathologies, as well as cloud service models. There might also be a junior architect involved in the team, to support ongoing projects.

Service desk

Fully embraced in being customer-focused, those on the service desk completely understand their company. They have to be knowledgeable, approachable and personable with every side of an organisation’s cloud capacity – from the security aspects to the installation process, data and knowledge of the technology customers require. Strong in problem-solving, this position welcomes trouble-shooters and those with a calm attitude when the pressure is on.

It’s vital that, when putting a team together, each person has a key role to play in the delivery of a successful cloud project. A balance of soft skills and team ethic – alongside relevant qualifications – is crucial. And, those that are willing to upskill and fine tune their experience to keep up with ever-evolving industry trends, can keep an organisation ahead of the curve in a competitive sector.

Rachel McElroy, Sales and Marketing Director, Cascade Group 1About the author

Rachel McElroy is a director at Cranford Group – a cloud resourcing specialist – and passionate about a variety of tech topics including digital disruption, tech skills development, agile working, remote working, women in tech, talent on demand, and DevOps. She is currently penning a white paper which will take a comprehensive look at the effects of technology and cloud adoption on the workplace. Covering topics from AI to diversity, and change management to leadership, such contributors to her research include Microsoft, ServiceNow, Alibaba Cloud, Cloud Industry Forum, AutoTrader, Ensono, Cloud Gateway – to name just a few! An eloquent and well-respected industry commentator, Rachel spoke at Cloud Expo Europe in March 2019 and in February, was appointed as a judge at the UK Cloud Awards 2019.


How to inspire the next generation of females in tech featured

How to inspire the next generation of females in tech

By Rachel McElroy, chief marketing officer for cloud based resource specialists, Cranford Group.

How to inspire the next generation of females in tech As digital developments continue to diversify the way people work, innovators should be doing the same – and that means giving a voice to a range of tech talent.

There has been much debate concerning women in tech and the role they play, but – even with vast transformations happening daily within the industry – there is still some way to go to ensure that females are seen as leaders and true influencers in the field.

Things are improving yes, but it’s a slow process.

So, why is it taking so long for the sector to open up and embrace the key role that females can play to push tech forwards?

It’s no secret that this has been a male-dominated industry for many years but, as digital developments evolve, organisations must take responsibility and move with the times too. They should also encourage change-makers to feel comfortable enough to enter into the arena in the first place.

It’s an exciting time, so why is tech suffering a skills shortage on such a global scale? Maybe it’s because the talent available feels under-represented and the sector isn’t as inclusive as it should be? And, that’s something all businesses have a duty of care to challenge.

This needn’t be merely a ‘tick box’ exercise either, but rather firms should showcase just how cool tech is, and why people now don’t necessarily need digital qualifications in order to be a success in this field.

Tech firms must evolve across the board

The industry is vastly different to what it was five or 10 years ago – and the modern day workforce is too. Now, employees need to be great collaborators, creative thinkers and effective communicators, because that’s what the sector requires.

And, none of that comes down to gender.

What it does involve though, are soft skills – many of which can often be overlooked by organisations. Yet, having such personable and professional traits is becoming more important to the tech sector as more automation comes into play, and employees are released into meaningful work.

The ability to work in small teams positively – whilst being analytical and learning quickly – is just as important as having digital qualifications, maybe even more so. There is also a requirement for empathy and warmth, as understanding the needs of each team member – and keeping the group motivated – during challenging times is key.

All this has to be communicated by tech businesses, to encourage those job-hunters who may feel overlooked when applying for tech-based roles, particularly those which focus solely on having a computer science degree, for example. Statistics show that on average only 20% of girls at Key Stage 4 take a computer science GCSE and only 17% of the tech workforce is female.

Many people will also remember the Hewlett Packard report some years ago stating that men will apply for a role if they meet just 60% of the criteria, whilst women won’t unless they hit 100%!

Women in tech are vital for the industry’s progress

It’s important to empower talented females to apply for tech roles, and inspire the next generation of digital leaders. And, they absolutely don’t need to be ‘ball-breaking bosses’ in order to do so, they merely need to be dedicated, encouraging, and given the confidence to make a difference.

This industry cannot afford to lose out on more strong female change-makers simply because they haven’t been represented from the get-go. It is the responsibility of all to hold the door open and support the need for diversity across every demographic.

Employing a diverse range of people who focus more on how and why things work in tech – and who have critical soft skills – will help workers feel valued, and part of an inclusive environment.

If not, the sector will continue to roll out machine learning and AI technology with built-in inherent bias that has been developed predominantly by white males – and could prove to be a dangerous notion which will have far reaching effects. Why? Because businesses cannot build digital solutions on top of data that is not representative of all the people that may use it.

There is a sea of change occurring, and it’s up to those in the industry to inspire the next generation of tech leaders and mentors – known for their aptitude, attitude and what they bring to the table, nothing else.

Rachel McElroy,About the author

Rachel McElroy is passionate about a variety of tech topics including digital disruption, tech skills development, agile working, remote working, women in tech, talent on demand, and DevOps. She is currently penning a white paper which will take a comprehensive look at the effects of technology and cloud adoption on the workplace. Covering topics from AI to diversity, and change management to leadership, such contributors to her research include Microsoft, ServiceNow, Alibaba Cloud, Cloud Industry Forum, AutoTrader, Ensono, Cloud Gateway – to name just a few! An eloquent and well-respected industry commentator, Rachel spoke at Cloud Expo Europe in March 2019 and in February, was appointed as a judge at the UK Cloud Awards 2019.


How digital disruption has transformed the workforce featured

How digital disruption has transformed the workforce

By Rachel McElroy, chief marketing officer for cloud based resource specialists, Cranford Group.

How digital disruption has transformed the workforceThe way tech has exploded – and how it plays a crucial role in absolutely everything we do now – is no great surprise.

It’s allowed people to be smarter and more productive in their job roles, and has created business opportunities that simply weren’t there five, 10 or 20 years ago.

But the way in which automation and machine learning have truly transformed a workforce isn’t down to just one particular event. Instead, it’s a continuation of developments which keep impacting – and modernising – the way in how companies operate today.

And, organisations are being held accountable when navigating all the twists and turns that come with tech, in a bid to remain relevant during the ever-evolving online landscape – which shows no signs of slowing down.

But, whilst innovation is crucial, digital disruption has had a huge hand in underlining just how important soft skills are in business – something which may not have been such a consideration for many companies.

Customer centricity is everything

Tech has also outlined how important it is for leaders to be flexible during flux, be a team player, communicate effectively with departments, and ensure they place the same importance on their own staff, and value them as much as the end user.

For example, digital developments have provided workers and employers with the power to move away from the traditional 9-5 working day. They can now operate remotely, and speak to customers, colleagues and clients from anywhere – regardless of time zones. Technology has opened the doors for staff members to use it to their advantage, and realign their roles, in order to suit their own lifestyles.

Not only that, but it’s allowed more organisations to realign their change management processes, which are now a core part of many growth plans for businesses operating in a modern-day society.

Gone too, are the days of a company’s 12-month plan that was once set in stone because everything is evolving too fast for time-restrictive goals. Organisations must now be prepared to consistently tweak and update projects, and strategic plans in-line with ever-changing market requirements, in order to discover ‘utopia’ – before their competitors do.

Tech should make operational tasks slicker

Firms should use machines to their advantage – as an enabler to everything they do – to ensure a more agile approach when completing tasks. AI and automation have the power to conduct the day-to-day repetitive and mundane duties that were previously done manually, releasing teams to shift their focus towards their own improved productivity and customer needs.

A key thing to remember is that – while digital disruption continues to deliver incredible results and make lives easier – there’s still a genuine need for humans to work alongside robots, in order to achieve the greatest outcome.

Savvy systems have certainly helped departments to modernise and widen the net for both their business and customer needs, but to stay ahead of the curve, companies must still work hard to build relationships with their key marketplace, and do the things that machines can’t.

Those that are willing to evolve with the disruption brought about by innovation, and remain agile and flexible to change, should be on track to enhancing their productivity, and maintaining a happy, engaged workforce that always keeps end users at the forefront of their minds.

Tech shouldn’t be a scary prospect for companies. It must be embraced and used correctly, in order to help modernise workforces and continue to assist in positive, operational growth throughout unpredictable change.

Rachel McElroy,About the author

Rachel McElroy is passionate about a variety of tech topics including digital disruption, tech skills development, agile working, remote working, women in tech, talent on demand, and DevOps. She is currently penning a white paper which will take a comprehensive look at the effects of technology and cloud adoption on the workplace. Covering topics from AI to diversity, and change management to leadership, such contributors to her research include Microsoft, ServiceNow, Alibaba Cloud, Cloud Industry Forum, AutoTrader, Ensono, Cloud Gateway – to name just a few! An eloquent and well-respected industry commentator, Rachel spoke at Cloud Expo Europe in March 2019 and in February, was appointed as a judge at the UK Cloud Awards 2019.