The new new normal
Well the number of people looking for work in the cloud and data sector has now shot up as everyone adjusts their forecast expectations and hangs onto their cash like the analysts have been saying. It's great to see so many good people available and on the market.
It is weird though as a lot of senior people with very portable skills are not able to just fall from one job to another at the moment. I was at a party on Saturday and someone mentioned to me, someone that wasn't in tech, that the UK had a huge digital skills shortage. It was exhausting listening to this 2 years ago and it's worse today given it's not correct. It would be the case if cloud projects didn't have so many mediocre outcomes (that's good in my world) and so many disasters that made project owners decide to postpone the next project or see things take years that should be taking months.
I've got into the nuts and bolts of this on the podcast so not going to repeat myself as to why this is as this blog post isn't a rant it's about a new normal I think.
Like many old timers I've seen several tech purges over the years but this one I'm seeing up close for the first time with the big cloud vendors and it's pretty mental.
When the CSAs (Cloud Solution Architects) in Microsoft were hired we were approached by one of the Microsoft UK business units and asked if we could publicise to the UK Azure Users Group as they were having issues getting candidates, I think that was back in 2014-2015. We had a huge turnout from the group, maybe 70 or so people, probably made a lot of money from some lazy recruiter or other and a huge number of hires ensued from the community following an evening meeting in their Cardinal Place office in Victoria. Andy and I never even got a bottle of wine from the person in question as a thank you for bootstrapping this (or any business intros from them - all we ever heard was - you can't scale!). Anyhoo the community was a lot worse for this as loads of people that started working for Microsoft just stopped coming to meetings. Hey-ho, that's how communities work over the years anyway.
I followed a lot of the people over the years very fluid in their migration between Microsoft, Google and AWS depending on who was throwing more money or propaganda around at the time but it was nice to see a real push of seniority move into the cloud space as a mass effect.
Fast-forward seven years and a whole heap of people in all cloud vendors have been made redundant. Many of them long-termers that have built strategies and know products so intricately that when large corp realises that they need to rehire large amounts of people to fuel growth again they'll have to go through that learning curve yet again which takes years, affects customers and uptake and makes large corp look stupid.
I think this is now the new new normal. Cloud uptake was so quick and fast with demand at a mental pace, seniority not available with cloud vendors chasing up packages to insane levels to try and get the best people that it was bound to normalise sooner or later. However, it normalised by bean-counting which is horrible way of appreciating talent and investing in the future, i.e. anything basically non-customer facing gets madame guillotine.
Whilst there have been dotcom booms and busts this is the first time I've seen this in the cloud. It's pretty ugly but also I'm learning reflects what happens when you grow very quickly and just can't meet your expectations and your system of selling and delivering is too complicated to dissect why.