Top 8 Cloud-Related Skills Employers Are Demanding

In today's tech job market, some scoff at the concept of job security. While there may be some truth to that, there are things you can do to stay ahead of the curve and keep your IT skills relevant. And perhaps the best way to stay in demand is to master the tech skills most directly related to the cloud.

cloud computing skills
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Cloud computing adoption continues as companies look for ways to reduce costs, boost productivity and tap the power of complex datasets to gain market insight. As a result, IT professionals who evolve can take advantage of the cloud growth.

According to Gartner's Forecast Overview, companies spent $110.3 billion in 2012 on cloud services and the number is expected to grow through 2016.

"End-user spending on public cloud services is expected to grow 18.6% in 2012 to $110.3 billion and is expected to record a compound annual growth rate of 17.7% from 2011 through 2016."

Howard B. Medow, vice president of strategic sales and delivery with Modis, a provider of IT staffing services, discusses what cloud skills are in demand.

Hadoop
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Hadoop

Hadoop, even with its strange start, has become a big player in the enterprise and is virtually synonymous with big data. Inspired by Google's MapReduce framework, Hadoop was created to deal with the enormous amounts of data the Google team was creating.

In a recent survey, Dice asked more than 1,000 technology-focused hiring managers and recruiters about their biggest expected demand for data analytics professionals for the upcoming year and Hadoop skills topped the list at 25 percent. Companies are using this open source Java framework to handle and sift through thousands of data points from disparate sources and systems.

SOAP
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SOAP

By providing a basic messaging framework that can be built upon by more abstract layers, SOAP, which is essentially a protocol for exchanging XML-based messages over a network, serves as the foundation layer of the Web services stack.

As the successor of XML-RPC, it specifies how to encode an HTTP header and an XML file so that an application in one computer can pass information to an application in another computer while specifying how the called program should return a response. RESTful approaches, often used instead of SOAP lately, remove SOAP faults, instead relying upon HTTP error codes that may not be helpful to either the application or the developer.

Python
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Python

Python--a general-purpose, high-level programming language that emphasizes code readability--enables programmers to express concepts using less code than would be possible in other common programming languages. It provides them with constructs that are effective on both small and large scale applications.

In April of 2008, Python was the first and only programming language supported by Google's App Engine cloud development platform, and its simple and effective constructs are still being used by cloud developers for the same reasons.

Ruby
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Ruby

Ruby--a dynamic, reflective, general-purpose object-oriented programming language--was created by Yukihiro "Matz" Matsumoto in the mid-1990s. It was influenced by Eiffel and Lisp, and combines syntax similar to that of Perl with features much like Smalltalk.

Ruby on Rails, usually shortened to just Rails, is an open source full-stack Web application framework for the Ruby programming language. Rails, which uses the Model-View-Controller (MVC) architecture pattern to organize application programming, works well for cloud computing because of that architecture.

Perl
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Perl

Perl, which was originally developed in 1987 by Larry Wall, was intended to be a general-purpose Unix scripting language. It combines features from other programming languages such as C, with features from shell scripting, AWK and sed to provide programmers with powerful text-processing facilities that then enable the easy manipulation of data from text files.

Its parsing functionality made it popular in the 1990s as a CGI scripting language, and it is commonly referred to today as the glue that binds the Internet together, the "Swiss Army chainsaw of scripting languages." For cloud developers, Perl Catalyst and projects such as Cloud Perl are indicative of the fact that Perl will continue to be used to help build the Web of the future.

PHP
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PHP

PHP--which originally was an acronym for Personal Home Page and now stands for PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor--was created by Rasmus Lerdorf in 1995 and is still the most often used server-side scripting language on the Web, used by more 75 percent of all Websites in existence.

Cloud hosting has opened up even more opportunities for PHP developers, as the ease of app migration that came with cloud programming environments vastly improved the upgrade process, leaving developers to focus on programming, rather than setting up test environments on local machines. New classes provided by the Zend Framework make using cloud-based storage services even easier for PHP developers who wish to use cloud storage services from Amazon and other providers.

.NET/Java
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.NET/Java

Microsoft's cloud platform, known as the Azure Services Platform, has simplified the app migration process for .NET and Java developers, who are now able to use in a cloud-based runtime environment the same tools and APIs they are used to working with in their local run-time environment. This type of mixing and matching, along with the capability to scale elastically, is what the whole concept of "deploying in the cloud" is about. Microsoft's .NET Services puts the Microsoft .NET Framework in the cloud, and provides many common building blocks for .NET developers that make it much easier to create cloud-based applications.

Storage Engineering
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Storage Engineering

Storage engineers are typically responsible for installing and configuring the storage system for their employer. Until recently, their responsibilities have included designing installations and configurations for Network Attached Storage (NAS), Storage Area Networks (SAN), backup/recovery servers, tape library management software, and archive and retrieval systems management software.

Other data storage systems, such as disk arrays, virtual storage devices, storage resource management software, file systems and volume managers, also fell under the storage engineering umbrella. The concept of cloud storage has opened up new opportunities and with them, new responsibilities for the Storage Engineer.