As 99% of organizations predict that some of their systems and applications will be cloud-based by 2021, according to a Tech Pro Research survey, companies are looking to hire hybrid cloud experts who can help with their migrations, security, and vendor management.

“Hybrid is going to be the state for nearly every enterprise going forward,” said Forrester analyst Chris Gardner, though it’s currently a “Wild West” with many options and tools, he added. Enterprises realize that certain data is better to keep on-premises, so it’s unlikely that organizations will move to a fully-cloud system for a long time, Gardner said.

With this being the case, managing hybrid cloud has become an in-demand skillset, said Ray Wang, principal analyst and founder of Constellation Research. A hybrid cloud professional must have skills managing configuration versus customization, as well as managing vendor relationships, Wang said.

SEE: Quick glossary: Hybrid cloud (Tech Pro Research)

These individuals will lead the charge on which parts of the business are appropriate to move to the cloud, and which should stay on premises. They also need to have a strong understanding of data residency, especially with new privacy standards such as the GDPR in Europe, Wang said.

“In the cloud environment, you want a skillset to say, ‘Oh yeah that’s privacy data. That stays in this country,’ or ‘Only this country can see this data,'” Wang added. “We’re going to have to get really good at that very fast.”

Finally, a security background is also key for determining what data is in the cloud and how it is protected, Wang said.

Finding the right candidates

Current demand for cloud engineers, architects, and developers far outpaces supply, according to Felix Fermin, a recruiting manager at Mondo.

The right candidate should have strong programming skills, and experience with cloud vendors such as Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure, Fermin said.

If you want to find premium hybrid cloud talent, you need to be willing to pay a premium salary, Fermin said. Depending on experience, that could mean upwards of $135,000 per year or more, he estimated.

“Making a job posting won’t work,” Fermin said. “You need to go out and meet these people–attend meetups and association meetings. It’s a skillset you have to go out and hunt.”

SEE: Cloud migration decision tool (Tech Pro Research)

Offering a strong work-life balance and remote work opportunities are two factors many tech job candidates look for in a new employer, Fermin said. “That goes a long way, especially if salaries don’t match up,” he added.

Software companies such as Salesforce or Oracle are sometimes good places to find cloud talent, as individuals may be looking to transition to another company, Fermin said.

Different companies tend to adopt different definitions of hybrid cloud, which can make understanding the skills necessary more difficult, said Seth Robinson, senior director of technology analysis at CompTIA.

Many IT professionals need to upskill as the workloads they were used to managing move to the cloud, Robinson said. “When it comes to hybrid cloud, there’s quite a bit more intelligence that would go into that, of understanding when exactly is this workload going to shift into a cloud provider, and what metrics we need to understand the health of this workload,” he added. “As much as people have understood that their job is centered around workloads, when it comes to hybrid cloud there’s probably some more learning that still needs to happen.”