One of the most common questions I get is not, “Which cloud is best?” It’s, “How do I improve my cloud computing career growth?” First, let’s focus on what not to do.
Don’t spend too much on executive MBA programs or other expensive educational paths. They rarely return the value you want when considering a cloud computing career path. They will not teach you critical skills in how to build, deploy, and operate cloud computing systems or supporting skills such as creating an operational model, driving enterprise cloud strategy, or even creating a cloud business model. So, keep your money in your bank account.
The three items you can do now that will assist you more and cost you less are more about how you look at cloud skills and jobs today. I’m finding little appetite for advanced degrees; companies want pragmatic, real-world skills that can quickly bring value to their business. That’s where you need to focus. Here are my top three skills to pursue right now:
Social media such as LinkedIn and Twitter are no longer optional. They provide a valuable platform to find others in the cloud profession, establish beneficial relationships, and even find jobs directly.
I’m not advocating that you spend hours staring at your phone, but it is a good investment in time to keep up with your connections and post interesting articles and content that others will find helpful. This shows you’re paying attention to the evolution of cloud computing and you’ll attract additional followers. It’s all money in the bank when looking for new positions, even within your company.
Another thing to try would be local cloud-related meet-ups. These are usually published and free to join. Look on meetup.com or local cloud computing user groups. Normally these are aligned with specific cloud providers, like AWS, Microsoft, or Google. In some cities, cloud providers organize and promote meet-ups.
Learn something new each week
Whether reading a few articles or taking a free cloud course, make sure you are seeking out new content each week. This does a few things. You’ll likely do better in interviews and have an up-to-date understanding of cloud subject matter, such as the evolution of serverless technology or the pros and cons of cloud-native architectures. I suspect that if you’re reading this blog, you may have already seen this benefit. Keep it up.
Operate out of your comfort zone
Take on projects and even jobs to stretch your skills and know-how. For example, join a team working on cloud architecture when you only have experience with cloud operations. You’ll probably find that your new teammates will bend over backward to assist you in learning, and before you know it, you are no longer out of your comfort zone.
Perhaps extend this to other endeavors that you wouldn’t usually consider, such as writing an article about a cloud computing topic, recording a podcast or video about cloud computing news and your take on it, or speaking at a conference. These are experiences that you can build on. You’ll find that they are also an accelerator for your cloud career.