Cloud computing is no longer the latest buzzword—it’s the new reality for global business. As cloud technology rapidly evolves and matures, enabling innovative products and services, organizations face a critical need for a skilled, cloud-enabled IT workforce. As revealed today in a Microsoft-sponsored study by IDC, cloud-related skills represent a good portion of the IT growth opportunities worldwide through 2015, punctuating the opportunity—and demand—for the training and certification that Microsoft IT Academy provides to academic institutions.

Microsoft collaborated with IDC to gauge the correlation between the demand for cloud-related jobs and the gap in IT skills needed to fill the positions. As the research reveals, demand for “cloud-ready” IT workers will grow by 26% annually through 2015, driving 14 million new jobs by 2015 with 7 million IT professionals working in a cloud-related IT role.

The demand for skilled cloud professionals is coupled with a distinct gap in the skills needed to fill positions—a challenge already resonating throughout the IT industry. IT hiring managers report today that the lack of trained and certified job candidates is the core reason they failed to fill an existing 1.7 million open cloud positions in 2012. Over the next few years, as organizations concentrate technologies in the cloud, solving the IT skills gap will become imperative to stay competitive and to solving the IT skills gap is imperative to reduce costs and stay competitive.

Training and Certification: the Keystone for Solving the IT Skills Gap

The IDC study reports that training and certification will play essential roles in preparing IT professionals for the evolving IT organization. In anticipation of the evolution to the cloud, Microsoft recently reinvented training and certifications for Microsoft server and cloud platform technologies, including Windows Server, SQL Server, Visual Studio, Windows 8, and Office 365. These certifications are providing the cloud-ready skills and validation hiring managers are looking for, both in professionals transitioning to cloud technologies and a new generation of job seekers.

Microsoft IT Academy is helping to fill the pipeline of new cloud-enabled workforce by providing training and certification for academic institutions worldwide. Microsoft IT Academy program is helping students develop the necessary cloud skills needed to succeed, whether it is the business skills of Office 365 or deeper technology skills. With more than 13,000 IT Academy members in more than 130 countries Microsoft is providing the training and certifications to help over 7.5 million students to obtain the skills they need for the jobs of tomorrow.

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