Cloud Talent Shortage? AWS Star Cascadeo Creating University To Fill Gap

“The industry cannot produce enough cloud talent—the delta between supply and demand keeps getting worse every year,” said Jared Reimer, president and CTO of Cascadeo.


As its Amazon Web Services sales continue to grow, cloud specialist Cascadeo is having trouble finding talent as customer demand for AWS and cloud computing skyrockets. Cascadeo is taking the IT talent shortage issue—which has plagued the cloud industry for years—into its own hands by launching a formal education training program with hopes to eventually onboard thousands of new cloud experts to Cascadeo.

“The industry cannot produce enough cloud talent—the delta between supply and demand keeps getting worse every year,” said Jared Reimer, founder, president and CTO of Seattle-based Cascadeo. “As demand for cloud grows, the rate that we’re producing the supply of certified cloud native engineers is not increasing fast enough.”

Reimer said the main issue is the technical IT talent available in the market today have been trained on “legacy IT” and legacy applications do not mesh well with Cascadeo’s innovative portfolio that is focused on serverless and native platforms like AWS, Google Cloud and Microsoft.

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“All of our software development we try to do with serverless. We try not to ever build legacy apps. We try never to run virtual machines or containers,” said Reimer. “So the people that we will bring up through the ranks, our idea is have them work on the highest order of cloud platform services—that would be analytics, serverless, and native platform services that are proprietary to one of the hyperscalers.”

Cascadeo University

The educational training program the company is building will be called Cascadeo University, expected to launch later this year.

The goal is to recruit people like computer science undergraduates or graduate students. Then teach the new recruits “the right way” by training them from day one on how to build things like cloud platforms, said Reimer. A key part of the plan is labor force development in the Philippines where most of the company’s cloud service delivery takes place.

“In the first year of Cascadeo University, I’d be happy if we have dozens of successful student engineers,” he said. “But over time, it needs to scale into hundreds and then thousands of people.”

Reimer founded Cascadeo in 2006, the same year AWS began offering IT infrastructure services to businesses in the form of web services, now commonly known as cloud computing.

Cascadeo is now an AWS Premier Consulting Partner and Premier Tier Services Partner with over 200 certified cloud professionals, while also making it into Gartner’s 2022 Magic Quadrant for Public Cloud IT Transformation Services. The company specializes in cloud migration, AIOps, machine learning and data analytics.

Last year, Cascadeo formed a strategic collaboration agreement with AWS to accelerate enterprise and mid-market cloud adoption.

IT Layoffs

The formation of Cascadeo University comes as the technology industry is undergoing massive layoffs.

From startups to the largest technology companies in the world, tens-of-thousands of IT employees are being laid off in 2023. Amazon is laying off 18,000 employees, Google is cutting 12,000 staff and Microsoft is letting go of 10,000 people, to name a few.

Although there is IT talent right now in the market, it isn’t necessarily the type of cloud trained experts Cascadeo is looking to hire.

“If you are a certified experienced cloud architect, cloud engineer, DevOps engineer—the odds that they’re going to lay you off are pretty slim,” said Reimer. “Because again, there is this huge gap between the supply and the demand for people that really understand cloud beyond just using it as a hosting platform.”

“There’s a big difference between people that have a conventional IT - like a VMware - background, who oftentimes mistake public cloud for something like VMware where they think it’s virtual-machine-oriented, and you run things the way that you ran them 10 years ago. That’s not the audience that I’m referring to,” he said. “I’m referring to people that understand how to build net-new or refactored or modernized applications on top of Azure, or GCP or AWS. That’s a different skill set. The people that are getting laid off, I think, typically are not people that have that skill set.”

Cloud Hasn’t ‘Hit The Gigantic Hockey Stick’ Growth Yet

Reimer is bullish about what Cascadeo University can do for his 17-year-old company if it’s able to train people immediately on having the correct cloud computing skillsets customers are seeking.

He says the formal training program bodes well for customers and sales as the cloud market is still in the “early adopter phase,” with many industry experts estimating only about 10 percent of enterprises worldwide have adopted public cloud.

“Ninety-percent of IT things are still sitting in the data centers,” he said. “So it feels like cloud is a fully mature market, but if you zoom way out—we’re actually still in the early adopter phase of it. We haven’t really hit the gigantic hockey stick [growth] when there’s an irreversible decline in sales of conventional IT and endless increase in the consumption of cloud services.”

The public cloud market is expected to balloon to $1 trillion by 2026, more than doubling the $446 billion public cloud market in 2022, according to IT research firm Forrester.

If Cascadeo University is a success, Cascadeo will be well positioned when that hockey stick growth hits.