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Digital Transformation

Storage IT Admin to Cloud Architect: Career Success Stories

The importance of cloud technologies in both our personal lives and in professional organizations is undeniable. In recent years, many industries have gone through a digital transformation and adopted cloud technology. As a result, many technology experts followed suit by making a career jump. That said, there are still many professionals who haven’t yet transitioned to cloud and don’t plan to.

Cloud is no longer a technology buzzword, leaving organizations to realize that they need to quickly adapt or risk getting left behind. Whether for personal or professional reasons, many tech experts have a desire to learn more about cloud technology but are unsure where to start learning how to upskill and consider new career options.

In this article, I’ll share two success stories of clients’ whom I worked with closely in my role as Cloud Solutions Architect in the NetApp Cloud Services team. These professionals made the jump to cloud technology, a move that significantly impacted their careers. Note that the names of the companies were omitted, and names of the employees changed for anonymity.

Jump ahead to a topic in this post:

Getting Pulled to the Cloud World: A Journey of Transformation

John was a storage administrator working for a global leader in materials engineering solutions for the semiconductors industry with over a decade of experience with datacenters and on-premises storage solutions. He was an expert in building and maintaining physical infrastructure and had helped his organization achieve high levels of availability and performance for their applications. However, John began to realize that the world of IT was changing rapidly and that the future of infrastructure was in the cloud.

When his company showed the first signs that it was planning to start transitioning to cloud, John started to explore cloud technologies on his own time, reading blogs, taking online courses, and attending conferences. He experimented with different cloud platforms and services and gradually built up his knowledge and expertise. The advantages of the cloud, such as its scalability, elasticity, and cost-effectiveness, started to become clearer to him and he began to think about how those could be applied in his work and organization.

At first, John's team colleagues were skeptical about using the public cloud. They were used to the traditional on-premises model and were hesitant to adopt new technologies. However, their on-premises storage solution, NetApp ONTAP, was also available on the cloud with the same ONTAP system they were already familiar with. Together with us, the NetApp Solution Architects, John saw the potential of the cloud and started to run small experiments. Little by little he gained confidence in cloud solutions and started to promote them by presenting his findings and sharing his knowledge in team meetings and internal training sessions.

Unintentionally, John gradually became the go-to person for cloud technology in the company. He started to organically drive cloud transformation and promote a cloud adoption strategy within his organization by designing and implementing cloud-native solutions that allowed better scalability and performance than before. Also, by taking advantage of native cloud services he was able to help the organization optimize infrastructure costs and reap its benefits.

John's hard work and dedication to learning more about the cloud on his own truly paid off. Today, he is the head of a department that continues to help the organization stay ahead of the curve of the rapidly-evolving world of IT. Not only was he able to transform himself from a traditional systems engineer to a cloud champion, but he also completely changed the organization’s operations along the way.

Find out more about how John’s company leveraged cloud technology in this case study.

Pushed to the Cloud: An Unplanned Success Story

David was a senior systems engineer in a leading fintech software firm with several years of on-premises experience. David’s company announced a relatively sudden top-priority initiative to move fully into the cloud and completely modernize and transform the organization's technology stack. As a core member of the infrastructure team, David found this to be a challenging spot to be in given that he didn’t have any cloud experience.

At first, he was anxious about the change. While he was curious to better understand cloud technology, he was already very comfortable with the on-premises model and wasn’t thrilled about learning an entirely new technology stack. However, due to the sudden shift, David’s company was creating incentives for re-skilling and he saw the opportunity to grow professionally.

As the cloud migration project kicked-off, David began taking online courses and pursuing cloud certifications. Combining a hands-on approach with self-study learning allowed him to stand out in the project team and helped him take control over the migration process. Over the course of the project, David began to develop a deep understanding of cloud technology and how it could be applied to the whole organization.

David's knowledge of the organization's on-premises infrastructure combined with his new skills allowed him to quickly identify areas where cloud could improve the company’s performance, scalability, and reduce costs. Together with us, the NetApp Solution Architects, David started to leverage the ONTAP-based cloud services. This made the transition process smoother but also allowed him to gradually position himself as a cloud champion within his organization while most of his old team members, who couldn’t re-skill and learn cloud, left the company.

After a lengthy but successful two-year project, David's professional life looked completely different. Today, David works as a Cloud Architect for one of the main cloud providers and applies his knowledge of both on-premises and cloud infrastructure every day to deliver high performance and cost-efficient solutions. Lastly, he’s now more eager to learn about new technologies and step out of his comfort zone.

Read more about how David’s company benefited from adopting cloud technology in this case study.

Summary and Key Takeaways

After many years advising companies and coaching experts in their journey to cloud, I realized that when it comes to facing the challenge of adopting new and unfamiliar technologies, the most important thing is that you don’t stay in your comfort zone and that you commit to keep moving forward. Cloud, along other technologies such as AI, are game changers, and in a rapidly developing world, those who don’t adapt risk falling behind.

Like many organizations, in the past few years NetApp went through its own cloud transformation journey. The NetApp team has extensive knowledge on the cloud adoption challenges that experts and organizations are facing and know how to make changes to enable a smoother experience.

With NetApp BlueXP, the enterprise-grade data management solution, the same data and storage capabilities are available seamlessly both on-premises and on any of the top cloud providers: AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud.

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