Upskilling Employees to Maximize Your Cloud Investment

March 30, 2022

I recently spoke to CIO Dive about how financial institutions are doubling down on the cloud. The cloud plays a huge role in any company transitioning from legacy systems to responsive, digital-first organizations able to meet evolving customer needs.  

The cloud enables speed and performance across all business areas, but when it comes to people, organizations can see that skill gaps are real…and growing. Gartner research shows only a third of banks are “well-staffed” to support critical cloud capabilities. Businesses can (and should) be proactive about training teams as they double down on the cloud. Because your people are all you have.  

So, here’s my case on why upskilling and training employees should be incorporated into any cloud migration or optimization strategy.  

While this article details the importance of upskilling in the cloud, these same arguments can be made for upskilling your teams in general. 

Upskilling versus hiring new talent

There are two strategies for growing and maturing in the cloud: 

  1. Upskill and train current employees. 
  1. Find new talent with cloud-based skills.  

The latter is not cheap and other companies are competing for the same talent. You can hire cloud experts, but they don’t know your systems and it takes time to acclimate. Current team members know the people and the business and with leadership support, they can develop necessary cloud skills if they are motivated to do so.  

Upskilling employees enables productivity, profitability, and happiness. It also has tangible long-term business outcomes. Upskilling is both about hard skills and the aptitude and eagerness for continuous learning. Leaders must invest time and resources to build out a tech workforce, and more importantly, they must champion a culture of lifelong learning.  

Professional development is great for people and business

Professional development is critical to staying relevant in any industry, but especially tech. Yes, your company might invest time and resources, but you’ll reap many rewards and immediate improvements. Investing in cloud skills aligns with what your company needs to keep up with where most — if not all — industries are headed. 

Aim to define role expectations to include a baseline knowledge of the cloud across your organization. There are endless opportunities for this, from on-the-job training to mentorship to online programs such as Pluralsight and A Cloud Guru, all the way up to formal courses, depending on your resources and needs. 

While the value of cloud certifications can be a hot-button issue, in my experience they are worth it. Attaining an AWS or Azure certification represents a base level of knowledge that additional cloud skills can be built upon. I have known some clients that require all their cloud engineers to have certifications when they join or get them within their first six months on the job. I have known other clients that think certifications are a waste of time and money. Your organization may fall somewhere in between, but investing in your people is always worth it. 

Create a sense of job security

Technology and operations teams worked with data centers before the cloud came along. People could very well view the cloud as a threat to their job and livelihood. Establish a foundation of job security so employees will accept, and even embrace, change. If they think the cloud and automation are going to take away their jobs, then they’ll never embrace it. 

Once you create a sense of security, rally your entire team around a shared problem or emerging topic. Team-based learning creates a natural bond among peers who are going through the process together. They get exposure at the same time, empathize with how it affects others across the organization, and understand why it’s important to upskill both individually and as a group.  

Our approach

We are lifelong learners. We seek curiosity and aptitude in potential new hires and are committed to nurturing these traits throughout our team’s time at SingleStone. Our upskilling approach has four key areas: learning new skills, learning on projects, learning in teams, and learning the SingleStone Way – our approach to problem-solving.  

We’re constantly looking for innovative ways to grow, mature, and evolve into the next generation of talent. There’s no finish line, but I’ve realized getting there is half the fun. 

Let's discuss your upskilling strategy Are you the next generation of talent?

Ryan Shriver

Chief Technology Officer
Ryan Shriver, our Chief Technology Officer, specializes in solving complex technical problems and is a trusted partner to some of our biggest clients. Ryan is passionate about teaching and mentoring: in addition to leading our Cloud and DevOps team, Ryan teaches Problem Solving for Designers at Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Arts.