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Your guide to hiring a cloud-native development team

Read Time 14 mins | Written by: Cole

Your guide to hiring a cloud-native development team

Cloud-native architecture and development experts are in higher demand than ever. 69% of employers are looking for cloud professionals, and 93% of employers can’t find them fast enough, according to the Linux Foundation’s 2022 Open Source Jobs Report. Cloud platforms and new technologies are easy to purchase, but you need an entire cloud-native development team to get real long-term value. 

You need cloud-native architects, senior cloud-native developers, and cloud-native data engineers to start building apps faster, scale your company’s services, and save money on infrastructure. Without the right team, all the microservices, containerization, and APIs can get messier than your legacy systems, fast. It’s so important that 41% of companies hire consultants or modern application developer (MAD) service providers to avoid delaying projects

With a team of collaborative cloud-native experts, you’ll increase time-to-market for highly scalable, resilient, and extendable applications. Here’s what you need to know to build (or hire) your cloud-native development team.

What is cloud-native software development?

Cloud-native development is a way of building and running applications that capitalizes on the flexibility of cloud computing. Instead of building on monolithic architecture or applications, this approach constructs smaller, flexible components that work together in many ways. 

This method streamlines the development process, saves money, and allows applications to scale up or down based on demand without downtime. It also enhances system reliability and introduces new features and capabilities. In essence, it's about designing applications not just in the cloud but built to thrive there. 

If you want to learn more about cloud-native development and architecture, dive deeper in this article. If you already get it, let’s get into the details of hiring your team. 

Crucial roles to hire for a cloud-native development team

Cloud-native architects, senior cloud-native engineers, cloud security experts … minus the “cloud,” your software development team will look like the rest of your software engineering teams. But you need seasoned experts who know every layer of cloud-native development and architecture. And the people who’ve worked to attach “cloud” to their titles already have critical certifications in cloud technologies like Kubernetes.

Here are the foundational cloud-native development roles you need to hire for:

  1. Cloud-native architects – Cloud architects design and maintain the cloud environment. They orchestrate how applications interface with your cloud platforms and each other. They determine the overall structure of the cloud, including factors like security, networking, and storage. Your architects set the tone for everyone else, so hire a good one. 

  2. Cloud-native DevOps engineers – DevOps engineers are crucial in maintaining the development and production environments. They create automated infrastructure, and implement continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD) pipelines. Their role is crucial for maintaining the speed and efficiency of cloud-native development.

  3. Cloud-native software engineers – Cloud developers or engineers create the applications themselves. They’re already proficient in relevant cloud platforms (AWS, GCP, Azure, etc.), and they need to be skilled in the programming languages and frameworks used by the company. They need to know microservices, APIs, and understand containerization like a second language.

  4. Cloud-native site reliability engineers (SREs) – SREs make sure deployed applications are always available and performing well. They use a variety of strategies (like chaos engineering and performance testing) to ensure reliability and keep costs down.

  5. Cloud-native security engineers – Security engineers are in charge of securing cloud solutions which is much different than classic infrastructure. They need to consider the security of both the applications and the cloud infrastructure, and they often need to get your business to comply with various regulations and standards.

  6. Cloud-native data engineers – Cloud-native development is data intensive and you’ll need a solid DataOps team with senior data engineers as a foundation. They're responsible for managing and optimizing data pipelines, maintaining cloud data warehouses, and working with the business to improve data quality.

  7. Cloud-native QA testers – You’ll build applications faster if you can test them. Quality assurance (QA) testers are responsible for ensuring the quality of the developed applications. They devise and execute test plans and work with the rest of your cloud-native team to identify and fix issues. Like other roles, hire QA testers that already know cloud software.

  8. Cloud-native product owners and/or managers – Product managers guide the cloud-native development process. They ensure that the product being developed meets users' needs and aligns with the company's strategic objectives. They’re the interface between senior developers and business leaders, and they need to understand cloud-native apps to succeed on your team.

  9. Scrum masters and/or agile project manager – Cloud-native development often uses agile methodologies and you’ll need some experts to guide the process. Make sure you find an agile project manager who’s familiar with the cloud.

With the right balance of these roles, you have a cloud-native team that can transform your software development process. Make sure that everyone on the team has some foundational technical skills.

What are the primary technical cloud-native skills to hire for?

CI/CD is a crucial area of focus in Agile DevOps. It enables your teams to automate their software delivery pipeline, rapidly release new features, and quickly respond to changing requirements. It’s worth taking a quick look at these two on their own. 

  • Cloud service platforms – In-depth knowledge of at least one of the major cloud service providers (AWS, Azure, Google Cloud) and their offerings is necessary. Familiarity with Infrastructure as Code (IaC) and services like AWS CloudFormation, Azure Resource Manager, or Google Cloud Deployment Manager is a plus.

  • Containerization – Proficiency with Docker is essential, as containers are a fundamental part of cloud-native development. The team should be able to create, manage, and deploy Docker containers.

  • Container orchestration – Experience with Kubernetes or similar tools like Docker Swarm or Apache Mesos is crucial. Kubernetes, in particular, is widely used for managing containerized applications across clusters of servers.

  • Microservices architecture – Understanding of how to design, build, and maintain applications using a microservices architecture. This involves developing small, independent services that work together.

  • CI/CD – Experience with Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment tools like Jenkins, Travis CI, CircleCI, GitLab CI/CD, or Spinnaker. The team should be able to create pipelines for automated testing and deployment.

  • Monitoring and logging – Familiarity with monitoring and logging tools like Prometheus, Grafana, ELK stack (Elasticsearch, Logstash, Kibana), and cloud provider-specific tools like Amazon CloudWatch.

  • Infrastructure as Code (IaC) – Knowledge of tools like Terraform or Ansible that allow the provisioning and management of infrastructure through code is valuable.

  • Programming languages – Proficiency in languages commonly used in cloud-native development, like Java, Python, Go, JavaScript (Node.js), and TypeScript.

  • DevSecOps – Understanding of how to integrate security into the DevOps pipeline, including knowledge of tools for security scanning and vulnerability detection, is increasingly important.

  • Cloud networking – Familiarity with network protocols, DNS, VPNs, and other aspects of network connectivity within and across cloud environments.

  • Serverless architecture – Experience with serverless computing and services like AWS Lambda, Google Cloud Functions, or Azure Functions.

  • DevOps practices – Familiarity with DevOps practices like continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD), infrastructure as code (IaC), and automated testing can help increase efficiency and ensure higher-quality code.

Look closely for cloud-native certifications on top of these foundational skills. A high school dropout with a cloud computing bootcamp completion and a Kubernetes certification might outperform a recent computer science graduate in a cloud-native role.

What cloud-native certifications should they have?

Cloud-native certifications are so important that 90% of employers are willing to pay for them. They’re not the end-all-be-all of hiring an excellent cloud-native team, but you want to find cloud professionals who already have them when you can. 

  1. Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA) – This certification is offered by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation in collaboration with The Linux Foundation. It tests the skills required for a Kubernetes administrator role, such as managing application lifecycles, networking, and storage.

  2. Certified Kubernetes Application Developer (CKAD) – Also offered by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation and The Linux Foundation, this certification focuses on designing, building, configuring, and exposing cloud-native applications for Kubernetes.

  3. Certified Kubernetes Application Developer (CKAD) – Also offered by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation and The Linux Foundation, this certification focuses on designing, building, configuring, and exposing cloud-native applications for Kubernetes.

  4. AWS Certified Developer (Associate) – This certification from Amazon Web Services validates technical expertise in developing and maintaining applications on AWS.

  5. Azure Developer Associate (AZ-204) – Provided by Microsoft, this certification demonstrates the ability to design, build, test, and maintain cloud solutions on Microsoft Azure.

  6. Google Certified Professional Cloud Developer – This Google Cloud certification validates a developer's proficiency in building scalable and highly available cloud-native applications using Google Cloud technologies.

  7. AWS Certified Solutions Architect (Associate) – This certification is also from Amazon Web Services. It shows the holder has the necessary skills to architect and deploy secure and robust applications on AWS technologies.

  8. Azure Solutions Architect Expert (AZ-303 and AZ-304) – Offered by Microsoft, this certification verifies the holder's skills and knowledge in designing solutions that run on Azure, including aspects like computing, network, storage, and security.

  9. Google Professional Cloud Architect – This certification from Google Cloud validates a professional's ability to design, develop, and manage dynamic solutions using Google Cloud technologies.

  10. Certified Kubernetes Security Specialist (CKS) – This specialized certification provided by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation and The Linux Foundation, focuses on Kubernetes security.

What cloud-native programming languages should they know?

The landscape of programming languages for cloud-native development generally includes well-established languages like Python, Java, Go, TypeScript, and others. There is a growing trend for using domain-specific languages (DSLs) in certain aspects of cloud-native development – e.g., Kubernetes YAML and Terraform HCL. These are tied to specific tools or platforms rather than general-purpose programming languages for the cloud.

Here’s a safe list of programming languages your cloud-native engineers need to know. 

General application cloud-native programming languages

  1. Python – Recognized for its simplicity and readability, Python is frequently used for tasks like scripting, automation, data analysis, and machine learning within cloud environments.

  2. JavaScript (and Node.js) – With its use in server-side scripting through Node.js, JavaScript is commonly chosen for building web-based applications and microservices.

  3. TypeScript – As a statically-typed extension of JavaScript, TypeScript introduces robust type-checking and object-oriented programming features. It's often chosen for building scalable web applications and microservices, and it works seamlessly with Node.js and various front-end frameworks like React, Angular, and Vue.js.

  4. Go – Born at Google; Go is prized for its efficiency and ability to handle concurrency, making it a popular pick for applications involving complex networking or distributed systems.

  5. Java – As a powerful, object-oriented language, Java is widely used in enterprise applications, and with frameworks like Spring Boot, it's a strong contender for cloud-native development.

  6. C# (and .NET) – Particularly for teams working within a Microsoft Azure environment, C# and the .NET framework are frequently used for crafting cloud-native applications.

  7. Ruby (and Ruby on Rails) – Ruby is another language selected for building web applications and microservices, especially when coupled with the Ruby on Rails framework.

  8. Kotlin – Running on the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) and fully interoperable with Java, Kotlin is a statically-typed language officially supported by Google for Android development and is gaining traction in the backend development and cloud-native application space.

Domain-specific languages (DSLs) for cloud-native development 

  • Terraform HCL (HashiCorp Configuration Language) – HCL is a DSL used in the Terraform tool for defining and providing data center infrastructure using a declarative configuration language. It is human-readable and brings simplicity to infrastructure management and orchestration.
  • Kubernetes YAML – YAML, while not specific to Kubernetes, is often used as a DSL in the context of defining and managing Kubernetes resources. YAML files are used to create, configure, and manage Kubernetes objects.
  • CloudFormation JSON/YAML – AWS CloudFormation allows you to use programming languages or a simple text file to model and provision, in an automated and secure manner, all the resources needed for your applications across all regions and accounts. These files are JSON or YAML-formatted text files.
  • Dockerfile – Dockerfile is a text document that contains all the commands a user could call on the command line to assemble an image. Docker uses Dockerfile as a DSL for automating the steps to create a Docker image.

Make sure to look for these DSLs on cloud-native team qualifications. 

What makes one cloud-native development team better than another?

A high-performance team understands cloud-native principles deeply. They're proficient in all the relevant tools and technologies while constantly staying on the cutting edge of cloud technology. They're adaptable, and ready to adopt new technologies and methodologies as needed. 
They’re also highly collaborative and easy to work with, which can be a difficult quality to find in senior software teams.

A successful cloud-native development team should:

  • Understand cloud-native principles deeply
  • Be proficient in the relevant tools and technologies
  • Be adaptable and ready to adopt new technologies and methodologies as needed
  • Have strong collaboration and communication skills
  • Be skilled in automation
  • Prioritize security and performance monitoring and optimization
  • Have a customer-focused approach, understanding customer needs, gathering feedback regularly, and prioritizing delivering value to the customer.

So on top of all the cloud-native qualifications that are in high demand, you’ll need to hire cloud professionals who are highly social and work well across asynchronous teams. And that’s going to take some time to hire for. 

How long will it take me to build an excellent cloud-native development team?

Building a cloud-native development team from scratch can take a long time – anywhere from 6-18 months. That’s because you have to have a lot of hoops to jump through before you’re building software. And then you need to keep investing in them for years to come.

Here’s what you’ll have to consider to build your team:

  • Size and complexity of the project – Larger and more complex projects will require a larger team, which will take longer to assemble. They may also require more specialized skills, which can be harder to find.
  • Availability of talent – If you're in a region or industry where there's a lot of competition for cloud-native development skills, it may take longer to find the right people.
  • Recruitment process – The length of your recruitment process will also impact how long it takes to build your team. This includes advertising the positions, screening applications, conducting interviews, making offers, and waiting for new hires to start.
  • Training and onboarding – Once you've hired your team, you'll also need to invest time for training and onboarding. Even experienced hires may need time to familiarize themselves with your specific systems and processes.
  • Team building and integration – Building a high-performing team isn't just about hiring individuals; it's also about helping them to work together effectively. This might involve team-building activities, setting up communication and collaboration tools, and establishing team norms and processes.

Is it a long, expensive process? It is. That’s why more and more enterprises and venture-funded companies hire modern application development (MAD) service providers to spin up their cloud-native development fast.

If you have a technology roadmap staring you in the face that’s impossible to build based on current resources and you have the budget to hire an internal team, it’s worth considering an outside team you can trust. 

How do I hire a cloud-native development team I can trust?

93% of your colleagues are asking themselves the same question. They have many open cloud-native software development roles and aren’t finding the talent anywhere. Meanwhile, their cloud-native projects are frozen on the road. That’s why Codingscape exists. No need to wait 6-18 months before you start building your cloud-native initiatives. We can start next quarter.

Zappos, Twilio, and Veho are just a few companies that trust us to build their software.  We know every layer of cloud-native development and architecture at scale and love to help companies take full advantage of the cloud.

You can schedule a time to talk with us here. No hassle, no expectations, just answers.

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Cole is Codingscape's Content Marketing Strategist & Copywriter.