New Year’s resolutions for cloud pros

First, I’m not a big fan of New Year’s resolutions. It seems to me we should improve ourselves all year, not just on January 1. Human nature being what it is, my gym will be more than crowded in January but will thin out a great deal in February and March as treadmills give way to donuts for many.

However, I do believe it’s a good idea to set aside some time each year to look at your current career trajectory and make adjustments that can bring in more money, more job satisfaction, or hopefully both. To that end, here are some New Year’s resolutions that many of you cloud professionals should consider.

Diversify your cloud skills

We live in days when cloud skills are defined by specialization. People aren’t just cloud database experts, they are experts on a specific cloud database on a specific cloud provider. The same can be said for cloud-based business intelligence, a specific SaaS provider, or cloud operations focused on a specific OS configuration. We seem to fall into niches.

This limits your options if your specific cloud technology becomes less popular. It’s better to have a skill waiting in the wings than to learn one at the last minute. Look at job sites to see what skills are most in demand that are somewhat related to your current skills and obtain the basic chops that will allow you to talk your way into a new gig if needed.

For instance, if you’re focused just on a single cloud object database, perhaps learn about one or two other object databases on another cloud provider. This should be a relatively easy transition given that the concepts are much the same.

You can diversify even more, such as learning about cloud-native development if you’re currently a cloud developer. Or go wide, learning about cloud architecture such as databases, development, operations, etc., and building on your foundational skills. Architects are well paid. 

Depending on how you learn best, look for online training or books. Most employers will pay for this and even give you time each week to study on the job. New skills may end up being money in the bank when you need them.

Learn about emerging cloud computing concepts

For this resolution, instead of branching out in areas that are already established, focus on emerging areas that may not yet exist in enterprises, including yours.

It could be emerging trends that we discuss here, such as finops, metacloud, multicloud, observability, Internet of Things, edge computing, AIops, or other topics. It’s helpful to understand these concepts at a level where you can participate in conversations. You can certainly impress your leadership and colleagues while also expanding your thinking and career opportunities.

Learning about these topics can be a bit of a challenge. There are new online courses out there, but emerging concepts change quickly. It’s not just a matter of taking a course or reading a book. Be a continuous learner, read the latest research, and form your own opinions. Reading this blog weekly is a good start.

Improve your people skills

I did not have people skills when I started my tech career—basically, I was another introverted geek. That only took me so far, and when I was put in leadership positions I struggled.

Eventually I figured it out, but it would have been much better to develop some leadership and people skills early on. Not just business leadership mumbo-jumbo that you get in colleges these days, but how to work with people in ways that will help them (and you) be productive and happy.

This requires some training, but more importantly, searching within to discover your own most effective approaches as a person and as a leader. Find your own path to these skills and be willing to adjust as you learn.

In any event, have a great new year.

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