Do Your Job Candidates Know the Cloud?

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Many of the most sought-after job applicant selling points have remained constant throughout the years: persistence, commitment, intelligence and a sense of teamwork. But as the world has changed, so have hiring managers’ checklists of “must have” applicant traits. Rising to the top over the past few years? Knowledge of cloud computing.

RELATED: Why Overqualified Candidates Might Be a Myth

A Closer Look At the Cloud

If you’re like many non-tech types, you may hear the term “cloud” tossed around but only have a vague idea of what it really means.

While the term is — both literally and figurative — somewhat nebulous, the concept is quite simple: rather than managing your hardware on site, cloud computing lets you choose a service provider to handle the hardware as well as some software support.

But the cloud is not just an offsite server; it’s also an ongoing service with numerous applications. In addition to the obvious data storage perks, the cloud offers other benefits including automatic file back-ups, collaborative, real-time file editing from any location, project management, HR processes, and contacts management.

In short, cloud computing offers convenient remote data storage with real-time, super-fast accessibility and none of the limitations of administrating your own servers.

Why Is the Cloud So Important for Job Candidates To Know?

According to a recent Forbes article, cloud computing will represent a whopping $13 billion expenditure by U.S. businesses by the end of 2014. By the end of 2015, meanwhile, end-user spending on cloud computing and managed hosting services may skyrocket above $180 billion.

And cloud isn’t just the programmer’s domain. It can also be skillfully implemented across a variety of company-wide logistics, including increased productivity, more collaboration, enhanced analytics, reduced costs, heightened security, and faster development cycles.

To IT….and Beyond!

The Wall Street Journal recently touted the increasing value of cloud computing skills in the new era of hyper-scale computing. And as hardware and server skills continue to decline in relevance due to the availability and functionality of cloud software, job applicants with experience in the new and increasingly sought after art of cloud software will continue to see their stock go up. Those who are unwilling or unable to adapt, meanwhile, will become more and more obsolete.

Of course, it’s not just software developers who are in demand with the cloud. Cloud systems administrators, IT security professionals, and quality assurance engineers are all an integral part of the new workforce.

But many people fail to realize the importance of cloud computing knowledge outside the IT department. Today’s business leaders are trusted with making top-down decisions, and those familiar with the cloud offer dynamic new insights. After all, not all cloud options are created equally and finding the right one can be critical when you consider the implications of putting your company’s most critical data in someone else’s hands.

Ultimately, it is the imperative of the modern day manager to thoroughly investigate cloud options, as well as to monitor how well the chosen system is working. The more educated your hires are about the cloud, the more they can help optimize business success through this technological leap.

Cloud computing is the wave of the future, and as more businesses strive to adapt and evolve, they’ll need the right team to make informed decisions about best practices. By focusing their hiring efforts on cloud-savvy applicants, HR managers can gain a critical leading edge.

How much weight do you place on cloud computing familiarity when looking for new candidates to hire?

Joanna Hughes writes on all subjects, including the latest news from the world of business and tech.

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