Is this the beginning of the end for Cloud Computing?

An introduction to the Human Cloud and its relationship to gig working
Cloud Computing has significantly increased its popularity over the last 5 to 10 years. However the market for Cloud skills, considered to be one of the top tech trends, is showing signs of beginning to mature.

This is highlighted in our Q2 2017 Tech Cities Job Watch Report, which found that demand for Cloud skills has risen by over 97%, whilst salaries remained stagnant compared to Q2 2016. This comes at a time when some industry experts are contemplating the future of Cloud technology and its place amongst alternative approaches.

Edge vs. Cloud?

The introduction of ‘Edge Computing’ (sometimes also known as ‘Fog Computing’) led many to forecast the end of Cloud, which may lead to a rapid decline in demand for Cloud professionals over the coming years. But will this really be the case?

To analyse this prediction further, we first need to understand more about the differences between the two. Simplistically, Cloud Computing refers to internet-based centralised computing – with all services and data being sent to the Cloud server for processing. Whilst this approach can offer security and volume benefits, it can also suffer from latency issues. By comparison, Edge Computing uses computing infrastructure that is located close to the sources of data, allowing it to offer much quicker processing times.

However, rather than seeing Edge as something that will supersede Cloud, experts are now lauding the opportunities presented by using the two systems together. For example, Edge Computing can be used to detect malware and viruses whilst they’re at the ‘edge’ of the system, before they reach the Cloud where there is potentially more at stake.

Driverless cars are one example of how the systems could work together. Data would be processed using edge computing, to give the car instant feedback. This data could then be uploaded to the Cloud at a later time for more detailed trends analysis. This would allow companies to take a ‘big picture’ view of the information gathered by thousands of vehicles, and use this to make future improvements.

What does this mean for the talent?

With more than 5,600+ million devices and smart sensors expected to be in circulation across the globe by 2020, demand for IT workers who can help build and run Edge Computing systems will continue to increase over the next five years.

As a result of this rapid expansion, employers will increasingly need to compete for talent to help implement and develop the systems and solutions. And, with the global Internet of Things (IoT) market expected to be worth $724 billion by 2023, the demand for Edge Computing professionals is likely to skyrocket.

Many of the skills that existing Cloud professionals have can either be directly applied or transferred to Edge Computing. In fact, some of the key job roles in Edge Computing are also found in Cloud Computing – such as Systems Software Developers, Information Security Analysts, and Computer Systems Engineers. Whilst the development environments and the application of the technology may differ, there is considerable crossover that workers and employers alike should take advantage of.

IT professionals in the Cloud space should prepare themselves for this development – ensuring that they are fully up to speed with the differences between Cloud and Edge networks. They should also bear in mind that the drive for Edge Computing will impact certain sectors more quickly than others. Manufacturing, utilities, energy, and transportation companies are predicted to be the fastest to adopt the technology; with urban development, agriculture, healthcare and retail likely to follow shortly after.

In order to ensure a competitive advantage, organisations can – and should – incorporate both Cloud and Edge Computing in their systems. This will help businesses to provide the best customer experience at any given time, and keep ahead of the competition. At the heart of achieving this, is having the right talent on board.

If you need help finding the right professionals for your organisation, or if you’d like support in building your talent pipeline, get in touch today.