MSP Fights to Hire Scarce Cloud Engineers
At CorpInfo LLC, cloud is their business and business has been very good.
So good, in fact, that the cloud-focused subsidiary of a legacy reseller has grown from fewer than a handful of full-time staffers 18 months ago, to 54 employees today.
They expect that headcount to swell past 150 by the end of 2018, with operations expanding beyond current markets in California and Texas, to cities across the U.S.
Such rapid growth brings with it a host of exciting if sometimes daunting challenges, and this week, MSPmentor caught up with Josh Binnie – head of talent at CorpInfo – to discuss the gargantuan and hypercompetitive mission of recruiting and hiring so many qualified cloud engineers.
“As a professional services company, if it was easy we’d all be out of work,” he said. “That’s one of the things about being a good engineer: You’re never going to find yourself out of work.”
CorpInfo is an AWS Premier Partner that specializes in migrating clients from on-premise to cloud environements, and providing managed services to help customers run cloud infrastructures.
Previously known as Desktop Solutions, CorpInfo weathered some lean years before settling on a growth strategy that includes a robust cloud component.
The company has several public-sector clients and expects growth in that business line, among others.
Their need for quality technical talent is acute.
“Mostly, it’s engineers; cloud engineers and cloud solutions architects,” Binnie said.
That means people with software and cloud development backgrounds.
“That could be Azure, AWS – hands on, paid, professional experience within cloud,” he explained.
But in an acknowledgement of the difficulty of the challenge, Binnie is quick to qualify the description of his target candidate.
“We will take people who have extraordinary talent and can learn quickly,” he said. “They must have a baseline of technical knowledge (but) we definitely don’t have a cookie-cutter approach to hiring; we’re the opposite of that.”
As much as technical proficiency, Binnie said he looks for a flair that will add something to the greater team.
“We’ve regularly hired people because they bring something extraordinary to the table rather than because their butt fits the shape of that seat,” he said.
Along with cyber security specialists, engineers with cloud skills are among the most sought-after workers in the technology space.
Landing and successfully onboarding such candidates is only half the battle.
“We expect people to have regular offers,” Binnie conceded. “We’re constantly aware that we have to retain good talent.”
CorpInfo, he estimates, spends a little less than the roughly $5,000 per hire that’s typical in the space.
But, Binnie said, the company spends more than average on retaining employees, through extensive training and development, and other means.
“It’s the nature of the working environment that makes a difference; the nature of the projects,” he said.
They must be doing something right.
This month, CorpInfo landed on Inc.com’s 2017 list of top places to work.
The growing technical demands of the modern IT managed services space points to an increasingly challenging recruiting environment going forward, Binnie predicts.
And, to be clear, the MSP is also looking for talent on the sales side.
“Talent has continued to become more and more important,” he said. “We have 20 years doing this. Your approach to talent grows and matures.
“It becomes apparent that you need more and more folks who can work independently and can work intelligently,” Binnie added. “It’s fundamental. It’s an enormous part of the business.”
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