Your Career as a Service: Cloud Computing Continues to Loom Over the IT Landscape

As a Service Cloud Computing offerings

Bro, do you even cloud?


Cloud computing is eating up just about everything. You can complain about security and performance all you like — and honestly, you're probably right — but the allure of letting somebody else maintain your services is just too, well, alluring for most businesses to resist. It may be true that cloud service requires a bit of give and take, but most people seem to agree that you get more than you give.


If you're familiar with cloud, feel free to skip to the end of the article for a great link to another piece we did on cloud-based certs. If you're not, then allow me to introduce the three basic levels of cloud computing; Infrastructure-as-a-Service, Platform-as-a-Service and Software-as-a-Service.


Almost all cloud services fall somewhere within these three categories:


IaaS  (Infrastructure as a Service)

Sometimes referred to as Compute-as-a-Service (CaaS), this is the most basic level. Basically, this is raw computing power, with very, very little sitting on-top. In the market, this space is dominated largely by Amazon's S2 services and Rackspace's various offerings.


PaaS (Platform as a Service)

As time passes, the difference between IaaS and PaaS becomes less and less distinct. Technically, PaaS provides a platform for application developers to work with. Having a platform ready to go makes application development and deployment much quicker. As IaaS wrestles to stay competitive, however, there's been a tendency among IaaS providers to add tools to their offering, to the point where some of them are drifting right into PaaS territory. Besides the ever-present Amazon (Elastic Beanstalk, in case you were wondering), Microsoft Azure is one of the heavy hitters in this market, alongside big names like Salesforce's and Google's Apps suite.


SaaS (Software as a Service)

All but the most incomputerate have had at least some flirtation with SaaS in one form or another. Software as a Service is big business, and really the only cloud offering that you don't need any tech background for. It includes free offerings like Google Drive and Microsoft's OneDrive, services so prevalent that they've become part of the common vocabulary.


When most people think SaaS, however, they're usually not thinking of stuff like that. There is one name that always floats to the surface: Salesforce. Salesforce is the granddaddy of SaaS, the service all other SaaS tries to be like. Generally considered the founder of the SaaS industry, Salesforce is a CRM, a way for sales reps to keep track of who their clients are, what step in the onboarding process they're at, and any other important information.


Following Salesforce's lead, many other CRM's and enterprise-oriented SaaS systems have appeared, to the point that it's almost impossible to escape them. At my own company, we use at least three SaaS systems that I can think of (including Salesforce), and to top it off we're actually a SaaS company ourselves.


Even with SaaS and the others quickly becoming the dominant form of business software, it still has plenty of room to grow. This is good news for those of you who bet on the SaaS horse early, because it means there's still plenty of time to watch it pay off. And for those of you who are wondering whether there's enough steam left in this locomotive for you, consider this:


According to, there are 3.9 million cloud computing jobs in the US, and almost 400,000 of those are for IT techs. The median salary for IT professionals with cloud computing experience is more than $90k. To me, that screams, "Yes, we're still looking!" Employers are having a really difficult time finding people to fill their quickly-growing -aaS needs. Make yourself into one of those people, and the world is your cloud.


And yes, certification can help you make yourself that person. If you're interested in Cloud certifications, check out Ed Tittel's amazing cert list from last November. If it's worth getting, it's almost certainly on there.


Happy Hunting!


Would you like more insight into the history of hacking? Check out Calvin's other articles about historical hackery:
About the Author
David Telford

David Telford is a short-attention-span renaissance man and university student. His current project is the card game MatchTags, which you can find on Facebook and Kickstarter.