DISA is gearing up for the 'technician of the future'

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A hybrid cloud environment demands a workforce that understands the “full spectrum of technologies, even if they only specialize in one of them,” according to a lead defense cloud official.

The Defense Information Systems Agency is working to build up its technical workforce to handle the future hybrid cloud environment. To start, it's working on a gap analysis.

“I have hybrid technology. I have a hybrid workforce,” said Sharon Woods, the acting director for DISA's Hosting and Compute Center, during a Cloudera and Fedscoop event on April 19. 

“I have 2,000 people that are trained in data center, and I have like 200 people that are trained in cloud at various levels. The workforce, the technician of the future, has to be able to understand the full spectrum of technologies, even if they specialize in only one of them.”

Woods said that the goal was simple: identify a senior training champion and conduct a gap analysis. “You've got to start somewhere; we will deliver in under six months,” she said, noting that the senior trainer has been identified and is now in the process of doing a gap analysis. 

The cloud center director has previously discussed the importance of upskilling and cross-training tech talent amid a multi-cloud environment and implementing a container-as-a-service model, saying the effort could help with workforce retention and improve responses to mission needs. 

"One of our concepts is to take on both sides – both people that understand how to administer environments in the cloud, as well as people that understand how to administer environments in a traditional data center – and create some overlap of experience and skill sets so that you really have a more organic cross functional workforce," Woods said in January. 

DISA's strategic approach aims to modernize the Defense Department's IT infrastructure with more enterprise services and enhance cybersecurity this year. And with that comes the need for  well-trained personnel, because as Woods said Tuesday, “none of this matters if you don't train.”

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