Opportunity soars for cloud networking specialists

Big data is leading to big opportunity for computer network specialists with knowledge of cloud computing!

To help meet this demand, Jackson College will launch an Associate in Applied Science in Cloud Networking program this fall.

Networks keep computers “talking” with one another and involves the necessary hardware, software and computer channels to keep systems connected. Just a few years ago, most servers that companies had were located on their own premises. But now, with cloud computing and virtualization used by businesses of all sizes, data is now stored off-site.  A cloud networking specialist manages information now in “the cloud,” shared and stored over the Internet. Various types of cloud services include Microsoft Azure and Amazon, with public, private and hybrid systems. With the need to store and manage the explosion of “big data,” computer networking personnel need this new set of skills.

“This new degree incorporates the cloud, learning about the cloud, building networking in the cloud and securing them,” said Assistant Professor Larry Choate. “It’s very similar to networking skills, almost an intermediate networking. This provides another set of skills our students can take into the workplace.”

The program includes courses in virtualization, using software to simulate hardware function and create a virtual computer system, or virtual machine (VM). Multiple VMs can run on a single computer, enabling several operating systems and applications to run on just one physical server or “host.”

Specialists in demand

Choate said Michigan is a hotbed for growth in the technology area. He has talked with employers who would hire someone with cloud networking skills on the spot because they are in such demand.

Jackson College’s cloud networking classes offer students ample opportunity to work hands-on and practice problem solving. Choate said about 80 percent of class time involves working on the computer. Students build projects, create problems and then figure out how to fix them. This also helps students get to know one another and work together, important interpersonal and teamwork skills.

“I’ve always felt the networking field was too big a field for any one person to know everything. You need to have people to talk to, to have another pair of eyes or ears to figure out what you may be missing,” Choate said.

To learn more about cloud networking, contact Choate at ChoateLarryG@jccmi.edu.