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The great migration to cloud continues to accelerate.

The sheer number of enterprise solutions, products and platforms in the Cloud Continuum—from public cloud to multi-cloud, and from hybrid infrastructure to edge computing, organizations now have a plethora of cloud-related decisions to make every single day.

But what does this mean for people who work in IT? And how is it changing the way organizations provide the skills-based training and continuous learning necessary to empower cloud talent?

With over 100,000 cloud technologists at Accenture worldwide—one of the largest employers of cloud professionals—addressing these questions are critically important.

It’s why we recently reconfirmed our commitment to the cloud with our multi-billion-dollar investment in Cloud First.

A new kind of IT career

A huge talent shortfall is currently brewing. In India, for example, demand for talent is expected to top 2.2 million individuals by 2025, outstripping supply by around 35%.

But it is not just a question of supply and demand. The nature of the skills required is also changing. And that is fundamentally altering the way we need to think about a cloud career.

As technology diverges, skills are converging.

If you are an IT professional, it’s no longer enough to focus your career on one part of the stack (infrastructure, network, middleware, applications, etc.), one part of the development pipeline (application development, security, testing, maintenance, and so on) or even just one cloud platform.

A cloud career now needs to be multi-skilled, multidimensional and multi-cloud. And it will need to adapt multiple times as the cloud continuum continues to evolve at pace.

A pipeline of future-ready skills

The implication? Employers need to look continually to refresh the breadth and depth of the skills of their cloud talent.

Accenture has been defining what these specific skills and capabilities look like in the Cloud Continuum. And we’ve been investing heavily in setting out clear career paths to help our people develop.

Our cloud talent strategy is designed with the challenge of constant change. It’s built on four pillars:

4 pillars of our cloud talent strategy

  1. Evolve an E-shaped career into the cloud X-factor

You hear a lot about “E-shaped” people in agile organizations. This refers to talent that combines deep experience in some areas with a breadth of skills across the tech stack.

Our approach takes an E-shaped skillset and evolves it into what we call the “Cloud X-Factor.” That means providing a multidimensional breadth of experience across different industries as well as technologies. It also means emphasizing creativity in areas like user experience and interfaces.

  1. Specialize your skills for the continuum

Some skillsets are foundational—every person who works in cloud needs them. But some are specialized and give individuals the opportunity to develop expertise in particular areas, be it infrastructure, data, artificial intelligence or any other part of the cloud continuum.

The key for employers? To think about the balance of specialized skills across the workforce, and how that evolves over time. And for individual cloud technologists? To decide where to specialize and where to generalize. And to look to bring leadership, industry and function-specific skills into the mix.

  1. Build a DIY career

It’s important for individuals to take ownership of their own careers. In fact, it’s a win-win for employers and employees—especially for younger generations who want to pick and choose their own paths.

Our approach looks to empower our talent with a defined set of development opportunities at every stage of their career, from fresh-faced graduates to seasoned experts. It combines multi-cloud skills with industry-recognized certifications and transformational experience with new continuum technologies.

  1. Enable through technology

One part of the talent strategy that sometimes gets overlooked is the technology platform that underpins it. But it’s critical in enabling a DIY career path.

The learning platform needs to be intuitive, easily accessible and self-paced, while covering the key skills the enterprise has identified across cloud platforms and other ecosystem partners.

A place where cloud-first talent can flourish

It’s an incredibly exciting time to be working in the cloud. But building a future-proof career in enterprise technology has never been harder.

That’s why we have been investing so much thought capital in what a cloud career looks like today—and how it is going to evolve in the coming years.

The best part?

A multidimensional cloud career allows IT professionals to make a real impact, on real people, in the real world.

For example, our people might be working on anything from helping save the coral reefs to enabling people to achieve their dreams of owning a home.

The pace of change and the breadth of impact really is extraordinary.

Join us and unleash the power and possibilities of the Cloud Continuum.

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Ajoy Menon

Senior Managing Director & Cloud First Lead, ATCI, Bengaluru, India

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