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Virtualization Experts in High Demand

I'm getting a few calls a week from headhunters seeking design and operational virtualization talent

Those with virtualization skills are in high demand right now.  That makes them just as difficult to retain as it is to find and hire them.  Indeed, as virtualization becomes more important to enterprise IT, those who understand VMWare, and other virtualization technology, as well as understand virtualization in general, are commanding top salaries and they are often recruited away from current employers.

Personally, I'm getting a few calls a week from headhunters seeking design and operational virtualization talent, even in the downturn when data centers are shrinking.  At the heart of the issue is that virtualization now touches all parts of the data center, the use cases are becoming more complex, and the operational value is mission-critical.

In responding to this need, many organizations have created virtualization centers of excellence with the hopes of creating new talent and becoming more attractive to virtualization experts.  Typically this means an investment that the IT leaders hope comes back to them quickly as virtualization becomes a larger part of the infrastructure, and the use of cloud computing and private clouds begins to become more pervasive.

So, how can you attract new virtualization talent?   The trick is to understand first that you have to pay for talent, and thus perhaps pay more than some of the existing players.  Talk to recruiters and candidates to understand more about expectations.  Beyond that, plan on paying retention and signing bonuses, and being creative around work/life issues, such as allowing a liberal telecommuting policy and a relaxed dress code.

So, if you're a virtualization expert, how can you find the best places to work?  Look for organizations that invest in your talent as well as IT.  Those organizations that seem to have a lot of turnover typically have that turnover for a good reason.  They're either too slow to promote, or do not provide competitive wages.

The core issue around virtualization is that virtualization goes well beyond simple network and system administration.  Many seek tradition "network administration" types, and they quickly find that the skills go far above the network.  There are many abstraction layers to consider, and virtualization is much more complex than traditional systems administration.  To this end, virtualization skills require that the ideal candidate be a jack-of-all-trades and a master of VMWare.

As the use of virtualization rapidly expands, the need for talent will expand with it.  At this point there are more positions chasing too few candidates, and that could mean salaries go up quickly for the core talent, or they settle for those who don't fully fit the bill.  Either way, it's going to cost more to maintain virtualization in 2009 and 2010.

More Stories By David Linthicum

David Linthicum is the Chief Cloud Strategy Officer at Deloitte Consulting, and was just named the #1 cloud influencer via a recent major report by Apollo Research. He is a cloud computing thought leader, executive, consultant, author, and speaker. He has been a CTO five times for both public and private companies, and a CEO two times in the last 25 years.

Few individuals are true giants of cloud computing, but David's achievements, reputation, and stellar leadership has earned him a lofty position within the industry. It's not just that he is a top thought leader in the cloud computing universe, but he is often the visionary that the wider media invites to offer its readers, listeners and viewers a peek inside the technology that is reshaping businesses every day.

With more than 13 books on computing, more than 5,000 published articles, more than 500 conference presentations and numerous appearances on radio and TV programs, he has spent the last 20 years leading, showing, and teaching businesses how to use resources more productively and innovate constantly. He has expanded the vision of both startups and established corporations as to what is possible and achievable.

David is a Gigaom research analyst and writes prolifically for InfoWorld as a cloud computing blogger. He also is a contributor to “IEEE Cloud Computing,” Tech Target’s SearchCloud and SearchAWS, as well as is quoted in major business publications including Forbes, Business Week, The Wall Street Journal, and the LA Times. David has appeared on NPR several times as a computing industry commentator, and does a weekly podcast on cloud computing.

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