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Cloud computing growing jobs, says Microsoft

Hostway Software Engineer Youngtae Kim works company's 100 N. Riverside office. Hostway is one several companies hiring new employees because

Hostway Software Engineer Youngtae Kim works in the company's 100 N. Riverside office. Hostway is one of several companies hiring new employees because of the trend toward 'cloud' computing. The Chicago area is expected to gain 38,000 new jobs by the end of 2015 because of this trend, according to a new report being issued Tuesday. | Rich Hein~Sun-Times

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Updated: April 10, 2012 10:27AM

The buzzword “cloud” computing — a way for companies to buy less-costly computing power on demand — is forecast to create 37,868 jobs in the Chicago region by 2016, a whopping 64 percent increase from today’s number, according to a forecast released Monday.

The jobs range from cloud computing engineers who command $115,000 to $145,000 yearly salaries to cloud technologists who start at $80,000 annually, to jobs in sales, marketing, finance and production at both IT companies and their business clients.

Nationwide, cloud computing is forecast to add 1.1 million jobs and, worldwide, 14 million, in the next three years, according to the IDC research firm. Local companies said Monday they are adding jobs as cloud computing expands.

Hostway Corp., which employs 60 at its data center and corporate headquarters inside the Boeing building in downtown, expects to expand its workforce by 10 percent in the next four to five years to accommodate cloud computing growth, said Chief Financial Officer Mark D. Adolph.

“We will see growth in hiring in the data center, network operations and network systems, as well as cloud-related salespeople, product managers and research-and-development employees,” he said.

Cloud computing lets companies in retail, banking, insurance, transportation, construction and professional services eliminate the expense of buying their own computer servers, which can cost $30,000 to $300,000. That is expected to enable these companies to hire more employees not only in IT but in jobs that help them innovate, said Adam Hecktman, director of the Microsoft Technology Center in Chicago, which employs 700. Microsoft also operates a data center in Northlake.

Microsoft, which manages companies’ cloud services and sells tools to help companies move their IT to the cloud, commissioned the research.

Underwriters Laboratories Inc., the product safety testing and verification company in Northbrook that employs 1,800 locally, is tripling the number of its employees focused on cloud computing.

Though UL Chief Technology Officer Christian Anschuetz declined to give specific hiring figures, he said he is hiring “as fast as I can go” for technologists who can work with Microsoft’s business software.

Cloud computing lets UL work with its clients worldwide in real time — a process that’s “faster, more effective and and in real life rather than emails” compared with past processes, Anschuetz said.

Vibe Media, a Near West Side mobile marketing technology company that employs 95, expects to hire 40 more people this year — software developers, infrastructure engineers and “across the board,” said John Haro, chief technology officer.

The growth is coming from an explosion in messaging interactions, an increase in new clients and a move by existing customers — mostly retailers, publishers and media companies —to cloud services.

“We are building our own cloud internally so we can extend other clouds if we need to, and to let us meet our customers’ demands,” Haro said.

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