Future-Proofing Your IT Skills: A System Engineer’s Guide to Cloud Adoption


“As an individual with a background in System Engineering and IT, having managed various environments and obtained a VCP-DCV certification, I’m seeking expert advice on the most valuable areas of study to re-enter the field. Considering my experience with Cisco UCS-M, storage solutions, vSphere/vCenter, and a range of other technologies, as well as my current home lab setup, which includes a TrueNAS SCALE SAN, a vCenter 8 two-host cluster, and plans for an ESXi host cluster upgrade, what would you recommend I focus on? Should I delve deeper into cloud platforms like Azure and AWS, given their growing prevalence for workloads, or continue to enhance my on-premises infrastructure? Additionally, would integrating an E3 license and syncing AD to Entra ID (Azure AD) be beneficial for my career prospects?”


In the ever-evolving landscape of IT and system engineering, professionals are often at a crossroads when deciding the best path forward for career development. With a solid foundation in system engineering and a diverse range of experiences from managing Cisco UCS-M blade environments to vSphere/vCenter, you’re well-positioned to make a strategic leap into the next phase of your career.

The current trajectory of the industry suggests a strong shift towards cloud computing, with platforms like Azure and AWS leading the charge. Given your background, delving deeper into these services is not just recommended; it’s essential. Cloud platforms are becoming the backbone of enterprise IT, hosting an increasing number of workloads that were traditionally on-premises. By gaining expertise in Azure and AWS, you’ll be aligning your skill set with the market demand, ensuring that you remain a competitive candidate for future roles.

On-Premises Infrastructure: Still Relevant?

While the cloud is ascending, on-premises infrastructure is far from obsolete. Many organizations still rely on in-house solutions for various reasons, including regulatory compliance, data sovereignty, and specific performance requirements. Your hands-on experience with on-premises hardware and virtual environments will continue to be valuable, especially if you can bridge the gap between traditional IT and cloud services.

Integrating Cloud and On-Premises Environments

A particularly marketable skill is the ability to integrate on-premises infrastructure with cloud services. This includes setting up hybrid environments that leverage the best of both worlds. Your plan to refresh your home lab and integrate an E3 license, syncing AD to Entra ID (Azure AD), is a step in the right direction. It demonstrates a proactive approach to learning and adapting to the hybrid IT landscape.


In conclusion, your focus should be a balanced one: deepen your knowledge of cloud platforms while continuing to update and refine your on-premises skills. The integration of cloud services with existing infrastructure is a critical area that can set you apart in the job market. As October approaches, consider setting up projects in your home lab that mimic real-world hybrid scenarios, and don’t hesitate to explore advanced certifications in both Azure and AWS. This dual expertise will be your ticket to not just re-entering the field but excelling in it.

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