The cloud is everywhere today, with many organizations and consumers relying on cloud computing to handle their everyday IT-related needs. This rising need means a greater demand for cloud engineers, which means more cloud engineering jobs. That’s why this article focuses on how to become a cloud engineer.
This article answers the question, “what is cloud engineering?” and shows you what it takes to become a cloud engineer, including what cloud network engineers do, the required cloud computing skills, required cloud computing courses, and rounding things out with the importance of earning a cloud computing certificate from a reputable organization.
Let’s start our journey by defining the role of the cloud engineer.
What’s a Cloud Engineer?
Before answering this question, we should ask, “what is cloud engineering?” Well, by this time, most folks know what the cloud is: an on-demand virtual network that exists on the Internet where users gain access to IT resources without requiring computer hardware onsite. These resources include data storage and processing, web hosting, running applications, software distribution, and analytics.
Cloud engineering is an engineering field that specializes in cloud services, such as software as a service (SaaS), infrastructure as a service (IaaS), or platform as a service (PaaS). So, most cloud engineers are responsible for an organization’s cloud computing infrastructure. Cloud engineers with a broad skill set can work in many different positions in cloud environments, such as operation, planning, management, and support activities.
Additionally, cloud engineer roles can be further broken down into diverse categories such as Cloud Architect, Cloud Developer, Cloud SysOps Administrator, Cloud Software Engineer, Cloud Security Engineer, Cloud Network Engineer, Database Administrator, and Solution Architect.
Now, before we show you how to get into cloud engineering, let’s see what a cloud engineer does.
What Does a Cloud Engineer Do Every Day?
Your typical cloud engineer has a lot on their plate, although the actual workload is subject to variables such as company size, how many IT staff are on board, etc. But here’s a list of what the typical cloud engineer does daily.
- Manage cloud environments and debug initiatives throughout their development
- Migrate existing system data to cloud-based applications
- Plan, design, and develop cloud-based applications and software
- Work and collaborate with technical teams to identify and implement necessary cloud solutions
- Build and design various web services within the cloud environment
- Troubleshoot and resolve issues with cloud-based processes
- Manage a mix of cloud environments (e.g., public, private, and hybrid cloud solutions)
- Automate system-wide, cloud-based functions, and platforms
- Stay current on industry trends, new technology applications, and cloud-based initiatives
Many cloud engineers typically get categorized into one of the three following specialties.
These professionals plan the cloud infrastructure and distributed applications that run in the cloud. They typically have responsibilities such as:
- Oversee the organization’s overall cloud computing strategy
- Project potential costs, benefits, and ROI of adopting cloud computing
- Understand critical cyber security concepts and how they impact serverless resources
Cloud developers perform the software engineering and coding tasks needed to bring the cloud architect’s plans to life, combining traditional programming with specialized cloud development knowledge. Cloud developers perform these roles, among other things:
- Develop, deploy, and debug cloud-based applications
- Develop secure apps using current cybersecurity best practices
- Reverse engineer traditional in-house programs and repurpose them into cloud-native apps
Cloud Support Engineers
Cloud engineers usually work for actual cloud providers, including the big guys like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud. They are responsible for implementing cloud solutions, troubleshooting, onboarding, and maintaining cloud computing solutions. Here are just a few cloud support engineer responsibilities:
- Handle the daily management of the clients’ cloud-based solutions
- Help customers implement cloud computing solutions
- Diagnose and troubleshoot technical issues
This list of duties gives us a better understanding of what is cloud engineering.
Necessary Cloud Engineer Skills
Judging by the hefty amount of responsibilities and roles that the typical cloud engineer fills, you might think the profession demands a large and varied skill set. And you’d be right. Here’s a list of skills needed to become a cloud engineer. We’ll cover cloud engineer education later.
- Linux OS. For starters, you need to understand the Linux operating system. This knowledge could be something as easy as learning how to install a virtual machine using VirtualBox or creating a VM in a cloud environment.
- Programming. Cloud engineers need good programming skills. Consider learning some of these languages:
- Networking and Internet Protocols. Cloud engineers must understand the Internet works, especially networking. The latter is vital to cloud roles since it provides centralized computing resources via the cloud.
- DevOps and Containerization. DevOps combines development and operations and is one of the most popular cloud frameworks. Containerization involves abstracting cloud-based applications from one another, making deploying applications on the cloud easy. Focus on learning Docker or Kubernetes.
- Virtualization. This skill involves running applications on virtual machines, reducing hardware dependency, and aiding in fault tolerance. Virtualization examples include AWS EC2 (Elastic Compute) and AWS Lambda.
- Cloud Service Providers. This knowledge is a must for any cloud professional. This skill includes the leading cloud provider (Amazon Web Services) and other popular platforms such as Microsoft’s Azure and Google Cloud. But remember other, more minor services such as IBM and OpenStack.
- Security and Recovery. Cybersecurity is a big deal today, and you need the skills to handle data breaches or disaster recovery.
- Web Services and API. Cloud infrastructures depend upon APIs and web services to integrate Internet applications. Some examples include SOAP, XML, WSDL, and other open standards for transferring and describing data and listing available services.
- Communication. You need this soft skill to explain concepts to groups of people who may not have technical backgrounds. Additionally, cloud engineers with strong communication skills can better troubleshoot problems and collaborate with other engineers on projects.
- Critical Thinking. We conclude our list with one more soft skill. Every day, cloud engineers face problems requiring the best possible solution. Consequently, cloud engineers must think creatively to help save money and time and do things efficiently.
Now let’s tackle a critical question regarding your cloud engineer education.
Do You Need a Bachelor’s Degree to Be a Cloud Engineer?
In short, yes. Most cloud engineering positions require a bachelor’s degree in cloud computing or a related major like computer science, information technology, or database management. Additionally, these sub-domains require bachelor’s degrees in one of these fields:
- Cloud Architect. Computer science, information systems, network engineering, or a similar field.
- Cloud Developer. Software engineering, computer science, data science, or a related field.
- Cloud Support Specialist. Cloud support specialists have the most uncomplicated requirements of these three specialties. Typically, any cloud-related major will do, plus training in cloud computing, information security, network and systems administration, virtualization, and technical writing.
How to Become a Cloud Engineer?
And now, we finally cover precisely how to become a cloud engineer. Follow these steps, and you can’t go wrong.
- Get that bachelor’s degree. We’ve already discussed the particulars, so this is the first step. Take care of the educational requirements straightaway.
- Become familiar with at least one cloud platform. Get comfortable with at least one of the Big Three: AWS, Azure, or Google Cloud Platform (GCP). If you want to be qualified for more positions, get acquainted with more than one.
- Learn at least one programming language. We covered the languages under the skills mentioned above. Learn one, or like the cloud platforms, expand your versatility by getting familiar with multiples.
- Earn appropriate certifications. Certifications impart valuable skills and experience and show recruiters you know your stuff. We’ll touch on certification opportunities later.
- Decide on whether you will specialize. Would you rather become a cloud architect, developer, support specialist, or other specialization? To that end, consider studying one of these skills in greater depth:
- Security and disaster recovery
- Storage and networking
- Virtualization and operating systems
- Web services and DevOps
- Consider an internship. Internships provide valuable hands-on experience and help you develop connections that can aid you in finding a job later on. Bear in mind most cloud engineer positions aren’t entry-level.
What Does a Cloud Engineer Career Path Look Like?
Once you become a cloud engineer, you can choose many different paths for future career development. The opportunities are tremendous thanks to the formidable skill set you need just to become a cloud engineer. Consider one of these destinations:
- Cloud architect
- Cloud developer
- Data engineer
- Development operations engineer
- Front-end/back-end developer
- Full-stack developer
- Solutions architect
- Security engineer
- SysOps administrator
Would You Like to Get Into Cloud Engineering?
Now that you have learned how to become a cloud engineer, how would you like to become one? This cloud computing bootcamp course can help you master cloud engineering in just six months.
You can fast-track your cloud engineering career by understanding the core cloud architecture principles on the top two cloud platforms: AWS and Azure. With the help of over 40 hands-on industry projects and sandboxed labs, you will learn to design, plan, and scale advanced cloud implementations.
Skills you will acquire include cloud and application migration, cloud workload deployment and management, autoscaling, disaster recovery, identity and access management, storage services, web services and APIs, and much more.
According to Indeed.com, cloud engineers in the United States can earn a yearly average of $117,774. So, don’t wait. Get certified to make your cloud engineering aspirations a reality. Whether you’re starting a new career or a cloud professional who wants to upskill, this is the course for you.