Big Data and Cloud Problems Are an Employment Problem
February 16, 2016

Brad Kolarov
B23

Regardless of the industry, we are finding these days all businesses are becoming data businesses. To keep up with competition, companies need to collect and analyze data, gain insight on that data and act on that insight.

That's easier said than done. At the moment, many companies can't keep up with their data, let alone their competition. That's not a technology problem; it's an employee skillset problem.

The proliferation of data and the pace of innovation within the open source software ecosystem are driving the convergence of Big Data, Cloud Computing, and DevOps/Automation. Proficiency across these functional areas is essential in this rapidly evolving, converging IT environment. At the moment, however, there's a lack of qualified talent with these cross-disciplinary skills.

To an extent, the emergence of DevOps itself has led to a skills imbalance across disciplines.

In the recession of 2007–2009, business cost cutting led to many technical efficiencies. This included the migration from waterfall to agile development – which created the need for DevOps, bridging software engineering, technology operations and quality assurance. DevOps, therefore, emerged as an active and growing skillset (DevOps is the convergence of software development, IT Operations and Quality Assurance). Many technologists immersed themselves in the skills related to DevOps.

In fact, though, DevOps is only a subset in the much larger convergence of technical skills needed in today's data-centric business environment.

Here's the real need:


The center of these overlapping circles is where the real action is. But it's also a real challenge.

Finding qualified candidates who can work with Big Data (Hadoop, NoSQL, Storm, Kafka, etc.) tools is very difficult. Understanding Cloud (AWS, Azure, Google, etc.) is just as hard. Those with experience with DevOps/Automation (Chef/Puppet/Ansible/Salt, etc.) is a little easier but nonetheless challenging.

And it's not enough to have a certification in certain technology skills. Certification and experience are not synonymous. Of course, certifications are a great prerequisite, and a start towards a true cross-disciplinary skillset, but certifications are not necessarily an indicator of real world experience.

■ In Big Data, what's important is having built a production Big Data system. What's not is something like Hadoop Certification (nice but not essential).

■ In Cloud Computing, what's important is being able to use SDKs and APIs, and to implement with best practices in your coding. What's not is something like AWS Certification (nice but not essential).

■ In DevOps/Automation, what's important is being able to work with full stack automation. What's not is working with software installation scripts (do we even need to explain why that's not important?)

It's quite uncommon to have a great developer come to the table with all three of these skill sets. Softer skills are often a good indicator of future capability. For example, when our company hires new technology talent, the most desirable traits among our qualified candidates are  proven aptitude and motivation to learn.

As rare as it is to find people with the ability to work in today's converging technologies, it is still vitally important. Businesses with a shortage in these skills are definitely at a technical disadvantage compared with their better-heeled competitors.

For most companies, hiring individuals with these cross-disciplinary skills is not scalable. To level the playing field, businesses should create opportunities to gain these technology benefits.

Collaboration with integrators and consultants that have invested specifically in product and service offerings across the three disciplines of Big Data, Cloud and DevOps/Automation can go a long way to building real world capability in your own organization, without having to scale up in either internal cost or human resources.

Brad Kolarov is a Co-Founder and Managing Partner at B23.

Share this

Industry News

January 26, 2023

Ubuntu Pro, Canonical’s comprehensive subscription for secure open source and compliance, is now generally available.

January 26, 2023

Mirantis, freeing developers to create their most valuable code, today announced that it has acquired the Santa Clara, California-based Shipa to add automated application discovery, operations, security, and observability to the Lens Kubernetes Platform.

January 25, 2023

SmartBear has integrated the powerful contract testing capabilities of PactFlow with SwaggerHub.

January 25, 2023

Venafi introduced TLS Protect for Kubernetes.

January 25, 2023

Tricentis announced the general availability of Tricentis Test Automation, a cloud-based test automation solution that simplifies test creation, orchestration, and scalable test execution for easier collaboration among QA teams and their business stakeholders and faster, higher-quality, and more durable releases of web-based applications and business processes.

January 24, 2023

Harness announced the acquisition of Propelo.

January 23, 2023

Couchbase announced its Couchbase Capella Database-as-a-Service (DBaaS) offering on Azure.

January 23, 2023

Mendix and Software Improvement Group (SIG) have announced the release of Mendix Quality & Security Management (QSM), a new cybersecurity solution that provides continuous deep-dive insights into security and code quality to immediately address risks and vulnerabilities.

January 23, 2023

Trunk announces the public launch of CI Analytics.

January 23, 2023

Panaya announced a new Partnership Program in response to ongoing growth within its partner network over the past year.

January 23, 2023

Cloudian closed $60 million in new funding, bringing the company’s total funding to $233 million.

January 19, 2023

Progress announced the R1 2023 release of Progress Telerik and Progress Kendo UI.

January 19, 2023

Wallarm announced the early release of the Wallarm API Leak Management solution, an enhanced API security technology designed to help organizations identify and remediate attacks exploiting leaked API keys and secrets, while providing on-going protection against hacks in the event of a leak.

January 19, 2023

ThreatModeler launched Threat Model Marketplace, a cybersecurity asset marketplace offering pre-built, field-tested threat models to be downloaded — free for a limited time — and incorporated into new and ongoing threat modeling initiatives.

January 18, 2023

Software AG has launched new updates to its webMethods platform that will simplify the process by which developers can find, work on and deploy new APIs and integration tools or capabilities.