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How to become a multi-cloud developer

How to become a multi-cloud developer

Cloud spending is on the rise, and more organisations are investing in multi-cloud strategies. Here's how developers and architects can gain an edge in this rapidly evolving field.

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For many organisations today, a multi-cloud strategy is the way to go. Enterprises are using multiple cloud services from different vendors to build infrastructures that support computing, storage, development, and other areas of IT.

Industry research indicates the trend toward the multi-cloud use will continue for some time. A report by Grand View Research predicts that the global market for multi-cloud management systems will grow by 28 per cent between 2022 and 2030. The growing emphasis on automation, efficiency, and effective organisational governance processes is expected to drive growth, according to the report.

The increasing versatility of cloud computing technologies and the adoption of containerisation and micro-services for cloud-native applications will also contribute to the rise in multi-cloud infrastructures, the study notes.

“Organisations of all sizes have been embracing the multi-cloud construct, to continue to leverage investments in existing IT infrastructure, apps, and employee skills and expertise,” says Masaf Dawood, director of application services and modernisation at talent site Toptal. Dawood notes "the trend is accelerating" due to the ability of a multi-cloud to better address the needs of various applications and workloads.

Multi-cloud can involve a multitude of cloud assets used across several cloud-hosting environments, whether it be public clouds, private clouds, or a hybrid environment.

An organisation might use, for example, software-as-a-service (SaaS) from one vendor, infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) from another, and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) from yet another. In some cases, an enterprise might use different providers for different types of workloads.

Regardless of the configuration, the multi-cloud concept is hot. And as a result there is growing demand for people who have multi-cloud development experience and skills.

High demand for multi-cloud developers

“Having multi-cloud skills is more important for developers, architects, and even technical managers because more and more enterprises are adopting multi-cloud strategies,” says Kamesh Ganesan, lead multi-cloud architect at software company Oracle.

“Enterprises choose multi-cloud for various reasons,” Ganesan says. “For some it might be regulatory and compliance, which dictates the data shouldn’t be stored in just any place.” For others, it might be to avoid a lock-in with a specific vendor. And for still others, it might be a need for the features and benefits of services in multiple clouds.

“Mastering Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, and Google Cloud — while having at least some familiarity with offerings by other companies such as Oracle — will ensure that a technology professional can effectively move between jobs and contracts,” says Nick Kolakowski, senior editor of Dice Insights at technology career marketplace Dice.

Organisations spent $73.9 billion on cloud infrastructure in 2021, an increase of nine per cent compared with 2020, according to International Data Corp.’s Quarterly Enterprise Infrastructure Tracker.

“But there’s also a significant gap developing between companies’ embrace of the cloud and technology professionals’ cloud-based skills,” Kolakowski says. He cites IBM’s "Transformation Index: State of Cloud" report, which notes that 69 per cent of respondents lacked cloud skills even as 71 per cent of organisations planned on spinning up new cloud positions.

Grow your skills for multi-cloud development

There are multiple routes to becoming a multi-cloud developer. “Some technology professionals opt for self-learning, teaching themselves using the documentation and tutorials” available through cloud providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and other sites, Kolakowski says.

Others opt for formal online learning or classroom instruction offered by the leading cloud service providers, Kolakowski says.

It’s a good idea to gather as much information as possible about development for different cloud environments. For example, Ganesan says, developers or other interested candidates can view YouTube videos and read cloud vendor documentation.

Once someone becomes an expert or at least has a strong base in any single cloud such as AWS, Azure, or Google Cloud Platform (GCP), then learning about the other cloud services is relatively easy, Ganesan says.

Cloud certifications

Earning certifications is another option for those pursuing opportunities as multi-cloud developers. Each of the three dominant cloud providers — AWS, Azure, and GCP — has a certification path that requires an in-depth understanding of the services that are available and have been developed by the cloud provider, Dawood says.

“They are looking to ensure that you as a developer not only understand the service offering, but the application of it and how, when, and where to apply it,” Dawood says. “Coursera, Udemy, and other online sites offer training and certifications pathways.”

One option is to secure an initial certification and then follow the same or a similar path in one or two of the other cloud ecosystems, Dawood says. For example, he says, a developer could get an AWS architect certification and then go for a Google data engineer certification.

“All cloud providers offer some common base services that are very similar to each other, but they also branch out and offer unique services with their own dependencies to differentiate in the marketplace and attract clients,” Dawood says. “The ability to integrate [a] multi-cloud strategy across an organisation is key to success and achieving your organisation's digital transformation goals.”

Becoming a multi-cloud developer “hinges on earning key certifications, as many recruiters and hiring managers require cloud-based certifications when considering candidates,” Kolakowski says.

“As cloud platforms have evolved, the number of official certifications has proliferated. But possessing core certifications allows candidates to stand out in a noisy hiring environment.”

Some of the top cloud-related certifications, according to Dice, are:

Multi-cloud is an exciting, evolving field

“The cloud industry is also rapidly evolving, so anyone who wants to become a multi-cloud developer needs to commit to continually learning new technologies and disciplines such as automation, which will rapidly change [the] contours of the job in years to come,” Kolakowski says. “That’s in addition to learning the ‘core’ skills and languages such as Python, Java, and the principles of software development.”

Regardless of the approach developers take to learning new cloud skills, there’s no doubt that professionals who gain knowledge in multi-cloud development areas will be valuable assets to organisations for the foreseeable future.

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