we covered Gartner analyst David J. Cappuccio's concerns that a data center crisis is looming. This week we're seeing increased data center hiring. We talked to SunGard Availability Services's Managing Principal of Consulting Services Dr. Mickey Zandi, who says that although data center hiring isn't in crisis yet, it's already difficult to find qualified people. He shares some advice for data center managers and workers on how to prepare to for the future.Earlier this month
"There is a trend I've been observing for the past year or year and a half - managers are challenged to find operational staffing for data centers," says Zandi. "Many data center workers are retiring, but have never been involved in knowledge transfer to the younger generation."
Zandi also says that consolidation is resulting in more complex resources. Storage, network and computing are becoming integrated, which saves data centers money but makes staffing more difficult. Training for these skills is extensive and expensive.
Companies should continue the path of virtualization and consolidation but not forget training, Zandi says. "Start having your existing staff cross-train in other domains." He also recommends that companies invest in certifications and trainings for employees. He suggests building lab-environments where employees can test new technologies and do hands-on training.
Zandi also says that managers are going to have to lower the barrier of entry in terms of the experience in cross-domains. Workers with deep knowledge in one area should be valued even if they don't have broad cross-domain experience. These are the sort of workers you need to have cross-training each other.
According to Zandi, certifications are going to play a greater role in data center staffing decisions. He suggests that workers that want to stay viable focus on getting cloud-related certifications. He says certifications from Cisco, EMC and VMWare are most important and notes that Cisco's Nexus platform is particularly hot.
The most important thing for workers to do now, he says, is research and learn other domains. He suggests getting your hands dirty with technologies you wouldn't ordinarily work with, and to take advantage of any online training you can.
He also recommends that both managers and workers follow the relevant discussions - both in-person events and on the Web - regarding technology and keep abreast of trends.
We've emphasized the importance of investing in IT staff in the past, particularly in our "How to Improve IT Worker Morale." Even in this jobless recovery, certain types of workers are particularly hard to find.
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