Industry Insights on the IT Cloud Computing Sector

As we learn to adapt to work from home best practices, we continue to see the importance of staying connected with our team, family, and friends. This may be just a handful or two of connections to maintain. Now imagine, a large organization aiming to maintain thousands of data points. This is why IT Cloud Computing is essential. 

Cloud computing is the practice of using a network of remote services on the internet to store, manage, and process data. To put it simply, organizations are turning to the cloud to store and organize data as opposed to a physical or personal computer. 

We sat down with Rehan Quereshi, Head of International Cloud Services at Google to discuss career opportunities in this growing sector. Here’s what Rehan had to say. 

Devant: Tell us about your career journey so far.

Rehan: I started with doing my undergrad in computer science, many years ago. At that time, technology was very different than it is today. Believe it or not, when I graduated from University, the internet was still not something that people used. I came into a very different world of technology compared to what students and recent graduates experience today. 

Over the last 25 years, I have experienced the tech world through many different roles. Now I’m on the management side. I have spent the last few years in cloud computing. My role integrates both technology and business. I work with businesses, customers and governments to help them get the most out of their organization using cloud technologies.

Devant: What are the current employment opportunities in the IT Cloud Computing sector? 

Rehan: Cloud now is becoming a foundational element for a lot of organizations from startups to larger businesses. Cloud computing basically democratized access to a very complex set of technology and software at a very low price point. Now companies and even individuals are able to build applications, host websites, etc, at a very low cost and a very low entry point. This has opened up a whole range of different job opportunities on the principle of new technologies and easier ways to enter the space. 

What we’re seeing is the jobs market in this industry will continue to grow as the scope becomes broader and roles become even more specialized, as cloud computing becomes more accessible. This is great news for anyone trying to enter the sector or making career changes. 

Devant: How can international students think beyond traditional education models, to learn more about cloud computing? 

Rehan: There is a huge industry of open source software that is free. It’s meant to be maintained and built by a community. I would also look into online labs to help facilitate this process.  Many of the free and available software are accessible and easy to learn. 

My personal advice is the best experience for anybody is hands-on learning. Dive into technology to build programs, websites and applications. This is how you will truly learn. YouTube is an unbelievable free resource. It’s a great place to start especially if you’re looking to learn about a variety of topics.

Once you’ve honed in on a topic that is of more interest you can look into research courses and offerings in that specialized area. Some of them may come with a fee of a significant time commitment, while others are free and quick to complete. You will also have to consider the cost of the software, manuals or books that may or may not be included in the program. When I started, I bought and book and downloaded software and taught myself. Depending on your goals, needs and interests there are a number of routes you can take. There are options for anyone. 

You can also gain experiences through volunteering, working with nonprofits, or starting a small business. Your imagination and effort can take you far. These are great ways to supplement the learning you’re gaining at university or college.  

Devant: Are there any specific skills in demand right now?

Rehan: Programming and software development will always be in demand. Cloud computing at its core is software-based computing. The skills involved are the ability to build advanced applications by leveraging pieces of software, building on current trends, and improving and functionality of services. 

There’s also the new concept of modern software languages. These languages are a lot easier to learn compared to languages like R or Python, which was popular 25 years ago. In fact, they’ve begun teaching these to students at a high school level.  

Devant: How do soft skills play a role in gaining employment in the IT cloud Computing space? 

Rehan: The first skill that is important is effective communication skills, both written and verbal. This comes with learning effective communication and best practices, which could differ in the Canadian job market landscape compared to your home country. It’s important to keep this in mind. Beyond that, I believe effective communication skills are developed through practice. Reading, writing, and speaking can all be worked on as you continue to gain experiences in Canada. 

The second is the ability to work collaboratively and independently. As we move towards a new phase of what it means to work in a team, but also work remotely, this balance is becoming increasingly important. On the collaboratives side, you need to manage work, deal with conflict, delegate tasks, and produce deliverables. In the IT field, there is a lot of team and projects based work. 

On the side of working independently, you have to be able to manage your time and work, be clear about expectations, and stay accountable. 

Devant: What advice do you have for international students who are coming close to graduation or have recently graduated?

Rehan: Number one is you have to be passionate about something. You have to be passionate about either technology or a cause or an industry. Keeping your passions at the core of your job search will result in meaningful work. From the employer’s perspective, they want to ensure that their hire is really invested in their organization. After all, they will be putting a lot of time, energy and resources into a new hire. 

Second, I would encourage students to think ahead about building a portfolio. Of course, include your education and work experience in the portfolio. There’s also room for other project-based work, volunteerism, smaller certifications etc. to be included. What makes you unique? A portfolio should resemble who you are as a person, so your accomplishments and experiences should complement this.  Remember you may eventually have to present or explain your portfolio, so make sure you have the communication skills to be able to discuss different areas of it, including what skills you used, what technologies you mastered, how you handled failure, and what lessons you learned. 

Devant: What can we expect for the future of IT Cloud Computing?

Rehan: The use of technology will only increase. Especially with the pandemic, we’ve seen organizations adapt so quickly to these changes. This includes being able to deliver services online, manage a full team of staff online, develop new solutions for changing needs. On the back end, there is a higher need for order processing, logistics, and project management. 

There will be so many products that will now (or soon be) delivered online. Offerings that we never thought could be successfully delivered online. This opens up another avenue for people who are interested in that technology. To narrow it down, first, think about if the product/service is something people would be interested in? The answer to this is your business opportunity. Or you may consider already successful organizations that are looking to explain or build upon existing products/services. Then the second one obviously, is, you know, existing industries that Having employment is not always working for an employer. There are opportunities for people to start their own business or service. The technology we have access to today, just makes it that much easier.   

If you enjoyed this conversation with Rehan and are interested in meeting other industry professionals, check out our Events Page for the upcoming experts panels. 

Next up, we are hosting Expert Panel: Careers in Human Resources. Register now to get facetime with top experts in the HR sector. 


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