How to build a career in cloud computing

Basic IT skills topped off with service management finesse and business know-how are good starting points

 In the six years Drew Garner has worked in IT for Concur Technologies, his responsibilities have morphed along with the fast-growing provider of on-demand employee spend management services. Hired as a network manager, with a background in information security consulting, he quickly added server responsibilities to his role, and then became the network, server and storage guy.

That exposure, which included a leadership role in the company’s virtualization deployment, made him the go-to for perspective on cloud computing, he says. Now senior manager in charge of architecture services at Concur, in Redmond, Wash., Garner is explicitly tasked with cloud project management.


Also helpful is a basic server skill set that includes an understanding of server farm management, fault-tolerance, redundancy and high availability, says Bharat Rao, an associate professor of technology management at Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU-Poly).

But a higher-level understanding of the business is an imperative, too, he adds.

"From the business side, being able to manipulate large data sets and do analytics, visual analysis and create reports are especially important," say Rao, who ran a one-day cloud computing workshop at the university, which is now planning a full executive-level course on cloud computing for business professionals.

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