Liam Fegan, Technical Support Team Lead & Training Development Lead at Options Technology explains how Cloud Computing and Artificial Intelligence are taking the industry by storm, and how you can use this unique shift in technology to boost your career.
Liam leads the Technical Support Team in Options Technology with over 5 years experience in training and development and 8 years experience in the FinTech space. He sits down with VANRATH to discuss the rise in cloud computing, training and growth in the area and the benefits you as an individual or business can reap this year if you start today!
What is Cloud Computing?
I think most of us in the industry are guilty of overcomplicating the answer to this one, and that’s most likely because Cloud Computing is a buzzword that means different things to different people (especially the end user vs the engineer managing it). If you’re new to the Technology industry, a simple way to define Cloud Computing is the use of off-site systems to help computers store, operate, process, and/or transmit information. These off-site systems are hosted on the Cloud (or the internet) instead of on your computer or other local storage.
What is Artificial Intelligence (AI)?
In the next 5-10 years, I think Artificial Intelligence will dramatically change our lives, particularly in the world of work. AI involves using computers to do things that normally require human intelligence. It involves a broad range of different areas within Computer Science, like Machine Learning, Robotics and Natural Language Processing. To put it simply, you give a machine a challenge to complete, and it dedicates itself 100% to doing it. That’s also the part that frightens people. To do this and for AI to work, it needs endless amounts of data to identify patterns - something the hand of the Cloud has gifted us with.
If you haven’t heard already, ChatGPT via Open AI is a seriously cool tool. It’s like you are chatting with another human being, only it can complete tasks that should take weeks in an instant and there is no limit to the data/detail it can remember/analyse. I was first introduced to it back in December, and I was blown away by how powerful it was. It’s only a matter of time until the rest of the world is using it!
What roles are there within the Cloud Computing world?
Again, as the ‘Cloud’ involves so much, roles in this area are endless and new roles are developing along with the technology and the demands of the customers. In Options Technology, we would create new Cloud Tenants for our customers and manage them, ontop of this we would also take ownership of existing Cloud Tenants for customers. This responsibility lies with our Cloud Engineering teams. If you are new to technology, a Cloud Tenant (for example a Microsoft Tenant) is just another way of defining a customer who purchases Cloud Computing resources and the environment that is used to manage their cloud resources. Below are just a few examples of the many Cloud Engineering roles and some of the daily duties that come with them.
· Cloud Architect Engineer: when building out a new Client Cloud tenant, one of the main things a Cloud Engineer will be looking at is how to design it in a manner that makes it efficient to manage and support. A technology baseline is important here, which naturally involves automation. On top of this, a Cloud Engineering team can take ownership of existing client Tenants such as a Microsoft 365 tenant and apply the logical baseline so that system can be easily supported and managed.
· Cloud Security Engineer: Everything you do for your customers must have security at the forefront and centre of each decision. A Cloud Security Engineer will be responsible for ensuring that data in the Cloud is secure and only the correct people can access the correct data.
· Cloud Network Engineer: Things get interesting when you start to introduce multiple different Cloud Systems/Tenants and want them to communicate with each other. By default, this is not the case, so networking knowledge is necessary in this area.
· Cloud Systems Engineer: When managing Cloud systems for clients or even your own business, you’ll need a team of experts that know their way around the system, settings, controls and how to support it. When something breaks, you need to know where to look. When new features or tools need to be added, you need a team of people that can introduce such changes and push them down to the end users.
What advice would you give to those starting their career in technology and want to get involved in the Cloud Engineering sphere?
If you are in the process of changing your career and want to go down the Technology route, a lot of what I have just highlighted has probably just gone over your head. I know it would have been for me when I was just starting out. If Cloud Engineering is the end goal for you, the reassuring thing is that it is still easily achievable with a couple of years work and the proper guidance.
At Options Technology, we are known for hiring candidates from a wide variety of backgrounds (teaching, geography, finance, engineering to name a few). However, we do look for a strong desire to get into technology and someone that thrives in a fast-paced environment. We start pretty much 99% of our graduates and placements on our support desk as a Technical Support Engineer, and if you haven’t yet had a technology role but know you want to work towards being a Cloud Engineer, this is 100% the best place to start.
You will not only be exposed to how systems work and communicate with each other, but you will get to see how engineers troubleshoot simple and complicated problems. Working alongside clients, sophisticated technology and experienced professionals is a perfect mixture for growth. We as a company are aware of how important these new Cloud Computing technologies are, so to encourage and support our staff to upskill and learn more about them, we have paid out over £250,000 in pay-bumps alone to employees that go out and obtain Microsoft Cloud Certifications in particular.
To conclude, Cloud Computing and the rise of AI are forming perhaps the most radical technological shift in human history. With every revolutionary shift like this, those that are ahead of the curve can position themselves strongly and reap the benefits for years to come. Whether you are starting out in technology or changing your career, it is reassuring to know that there are companies that cater to this exact type of candidate and will guide you along the way.
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