As CIOs and IT leaders consider their digital transformation strategy, they also need to decide who will lead the charge within their organization. Ideally, this will be held by someone searching for a cloud architect career, a role which Gartner defines as a technical thought-leader who is responsible for the entirety of cloud initiatives within an organization.
In a presentation at the Gartner CIO & IT Summit in Toronto this week, Kyle Hilgendorf, managing VP at Gartner said that organizations are increasingly bringing on cloud architects to lead digital transformation strategy.
“Your organization needs a cloud architect,” he said. “Many of you CIOs have a vision for digital transformation, and you need someone to bring the idea to execution.”
Results from a recent Gartner Technical Professional Survey indicate that 57 percent of organizations have a cloud architect, up from 39 percent one year ago. Within the next 18 months, 83 percent of organizations will have a cloud architect, which makes now a good time to search for a cloud architect career.
By 2020, Gartner says spending on IaaS will equate to 39 percent of total spending on data center systems, with spending on cloud software growing as well. The shift in spending is evidence of more organizations adopting a cloud-first strategy.
This strategy is different than cloud-only or cloud-always approaches, Hilgendorf said. Instead, the question for any new opportunity should be “why not cloud?”
Cloud architects can lead an organization through this decision process with an understanding of the technology, but also the business objectives behind cloud migrations as part of digital transformation initiatives.
“We are in a very long migration era from legacy IT towards cloud deployments,” Hilgendorf said, suggesting that when hiring a cloud architect, it is important to make sure they are planning for the long-run.
Cloud architects are instrumental in creating cloud strategy and leading culture so they must not only have technical skills, but also non-technical skills.
Technical skills – like an understanding of AWS, Microsoft Azure, IaaS, DevOps, and cloud architecture – are easier to find than non-technical skills, but it is the non-technical skills that should be prioritized in the hiring process, Hilgendorf said. Cloud architects need to know how to collaborate across organizational silos and how to communicate while guiding the organization into the future.
“This person will not have all these skills,” he said. “Think of them as the head of that table, but not the only one at the table. Don’t delay this decision because there are one or two skills this person doesn’t have.”
The organization will also need cloud engineers to support the cloud architect and implementation of cloud services.
Cloud architects must be continually experimenting with new technology, sharing their findings with their teams, and research to ensure they are taking the right approach when it comes to their cloud architecture.
While it may be necessary to look outside of the organization for a cloud architect, there may also be a cloud architect in your existing team. Cloud architects can have a range of backgrounds, including enterprise or integration architecture, IT security, infrastructure, and operations or platform development.