How To Become A Cloud Computing Engineer (2023)?

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Last Updated on April 10, 2023 by Ashish

Introduction

Software coders having a discussion

The total market worth as of 2020 is $371.4 billion. It is projected that the market will grow to $832.1 billion by 2025 based on the compound annual growth rate of 17.5 percent. https://www.cloudwards.net/cloud-computing-statistics/

Many enterprises, big and small, use at least one cloud service for their business. As of 2022, over 60% of all corporate data is stored in the cloud. In contrast, only 30% of all corporate data was stored in the cloud. Hence, we can see how cloud technology usage has grown drastically over the years. 

This shows that there is a huge opportunity for developers and programmers to enter the cloud computing industry. We can safely assume that as time goes on, more and more companies will migrate their systems to the cloud and must hire more people with cloud computing skills.

Three Cloud Engineering Categories

Cloud Architect

Monitoring cloud activity

Since we know more enterprises are migrating and using cloud-based services, the demand for cloud architects is increasing. In general, cloud architects must oversee aspects of cloud practice, strategy, adoption plans, design, monitoring, implementation, and management. 

  • Roles and responsibilities
    • Plan and design cloud solution architecture with security and compliance in mind
    • Understand the organization’s cloud requirements and implement them in their design
    • Manage and provision the cloud solution
    • Implement the designed architecture
    • Ensure smooth operation, security, and reliability
    • Constantly monitor space usage
    • Provide training to cloud users in the organization
    • Plan future cloud strategies for improvement
    • Respond to technical issues with urgency 
    • Adapt cloud solutions to the changing organizational strategies
  • Average Salary

Based on Glassdoor.com and as of 13 December 2021, a cloud architect with 0 to 1-year experience in all industries has an average base salary of $107,163 per year. 

The 10 top-paying companies for cloud architects in the United States are Amazon, Microsoft, SRK Systems, Rackspace Technology, Oracle, Cloudreach, IBM, Verizon, TekLink International, and Accenture.

  • Specific knowledge and skillset
    • Ability to listen and communicate well. Cloud architects must be able to listen and understand company briefs as well as convey information to others accurately.
    • Excellent time management skills. Cloud architects have many responsibilities at a time so they must be able to stay focused, multitask and manage time wisely to meet deadlines. 
    • Familiar with different cloud services such as AWS, Microsoft Azure, firewalls, cyber security, and compliance. 
    • Value added when equipped with certifications from the major cloud providers from AWS, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure. 

Cloud Administrator 

Software Developer

Due to the benefits of cloud computing, companies are increasingly using cloud services for data storage and optimizing company services. However, the cloud environment is wide and complex. It requires constant management, optimization, and surveillance. A cloud administrator focuses on ensuring the cloud is working smoothly to maintain infrastructure, functionality, and safety.

  • Roles and responsibilities
    • Liaise with clients to determine their cloud needs and set up the cloud environment based on those needs.
    • Constant management of cloud applications to ensure continued functionality
    • Provide training to employees to ensure correct and optimized cloud usage
    • Control cloud access
    • Protect the cloud against breaches and cybersecurity-related attacks
    • Keep the cloud up-to-date with current security and compliance protocols
    • Troubleshoot cloud-based issues 
  • Average Salary

Based on glassdoor.com and as of 13 December 2021, a cloud administrator with 0 to 1-year experience in all industries has an average base salary of $62,230 per year. 

The 10 top-paying companies for cloud administrators in the United States is Microsoft, Rackspace Technology, Upland Software, Sirius, Bain & Company, Accenture, EFI, Novetta, Intrado, and Garmin.

  • Specific knowledge and skillset
    • Data management. The ability to use databases and data storage systems. 
    • Cloud management. The ability to create and maintain cloud environments based on client specifications. 
    • Knowledgeable of Windows, Linux, and Unix operating systems.
    • Time management. A cloud administrator is responsible for overseeing many cloud environments for the company and its clients. Hence, they must have the ability to plan tasks and execute them in a  timely manner without exceeding deadlines. 
    • Problem-solving skills. Cloud environments are not perfect and most probably, technical issues will arise. Cloud administrators must have problem-solving skills to troubleshoot repeating and unique technical issues that happen in the cloud. 
    • Security safety. Other than making sure the cloud functions smoothly, cloud administrators must be aware of security breaches or attacks and react accordingly to ensure company and client data protection. 

Cloud Safety Engineer

Cloud with security and surveillance

Despite the numerous benefits of cloud computing, cloud providers and users are constantly faced with cybersecurity threats and attacks. Due to these security issues, some companies are hesitant to adopt the cloud into their business. The ones that already use cloud services are not excepted from having worries about data security. Hence, cloud security engineers are needed to implement methods that can ensure the company’s cloud security and minimize cyber attacks.    

  • Roles and responsibilities
    • Identify the parts in the cloud that are vulnerable to cyber attacks
    • Prepare solid plans and strategies to face cyber attacks.
    • Perform threat simulations and tests to identify, predict and detect possible threats
    • Managing encryption of data in the cloud
    • Monitor, log and respond to detected incidents in the cloud environment
    • Investigate and recommend new technologies and methods to improve cloud security
  • Average Salary

Based on glassdoor.com and as of 13 December 2021, a cloud security engineer with 0 to 1-year experience in all industries has an average base salary of $74,619 per year. 

The 10 top paying companies for cloud security engineers in the United States is NVIDIA, VMware, Adobe, Autodesk, IBM, Merck, Verkada, Wisdom Infotech, Accenture, and Teradata. 

  • Specific knowledge and skillset
    • Cloud security fundamental knowledge. To have a career in cloud security, you must have a solid knowledge of the fundamentals of cloud security which include cloud architecture, encryption methods, access control, common cloud service providers, and basic cloud security methods. 
    • Experienced with operating systems such as Windows or Linux
    • Skilled in common programming languages such as Python
    • Creative problem-solving skills. An engineer must be able to use their technical skills along with creative thinking to tackle complex security problems.
    • Ability to respond quickly. A cybersecurity attack or threat, no matter big or small, must be handled with extreme urgency because important and confidential company data is at stake. 

Top Soft Skills Of Cloud Engineers

Team Management Skills

Presentation on team management

It was recorded that cloud engineers with team management skills earn 50.08% more than the average base salary.

Team management skills are a set of skills that allow effective leadership in groups. Below is the list of abilities engineers can master to increase team management skills.

  • Delegation: 

Good leaders know their team members and their skill sets. Hence, good leaders delegate tasks to the people who are best suited based on their skill set. This gives the employees confidence since the leader trusted them to get the job done. Delegating tasks to the right people also allows for smooth workflow and reduces delays.

  • Emotional intelligence:

Emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive, gauge, evaluate, express, and respond to emotions. This skill is very important as it allows for a respectful, empathetic, and understanding team culture. Strong emotional skills improve workplace mood and increase productivity since morale is high, ultimately making reaching work goals easier.

  • Organization

Each team in a department is assigned many projects and tasks. An excellent team leader possesses the skill of being organized. Without proper organization, the many parts of a project might get jumbled along the way which makes it more difficult to complete tasks. Nowadays, leaders can organize their teams and tasks using project management software.

  • Decision making

Decision-making is a vital part of being a leader. Decisions made by leaders affect not only the team but often, the company at large. Leaders are faced with having to make choices on a daily basis, and these choices must be smart so as to not cause detrimental effects on the team and the projects. 

Technical Writing Skills

Technical report writing

It was recorded that cloud engineers with team management skills earn 27.29% more than the average base salary.

A person with technical writing skills is able to prepare and publish reports, manuals, guidelines, articles, and other documentation effectively and concisely. Their tasks include research, editing technical documents, and collaborating with others. 

  • Writing

A large part of technical writing is the writing itself. Common technical documents are how-to manuals and journal articles. A good writer can explain complex and technical principles concisely and they are able to distill difficult principles into explanations others can understand.

  • Technical skills and knowledge

Technical writers are usually equipped with a plethora of technical skills that ease their writing tasks. They are familiar with word-processing software and documentation tools that produce concise reports, articles, and manuals. Additionally, a good technical writer has a vast knowledge of technical concepts and theories and is open to learning new knowledge. 

  • Organization

Organization is also an important skill to have for a technical writer. Usually, writers have to write on multiple projects at a time. Hence, organizational skills greatly reduce workload strains and help prioritize tasks to meet deadlines. With an organized manner, writers can create written work with minimal to zero errors and produce accurate technical documents. 

Top Technical Skills of Cloud Engineers

Software Programs

Manage company portfolio

The top software program that companies look for is PPM tools as cloud engineers with this skill earn 58.64% more than the average base salary.

PPM stands for project portfolio management. PPM software supports the selection, planning, and execution of different work packages and traditional projects. The critical PPM capabilities are project demand management, project planning, time management, resource management, resource capacity planning, collaboration, reporting, security management, and integration.

IT Software Development Skills

An engineer performing program analysis

The top IT software development skill that companies look for is skills in data warehousing as cloud engineers with this skill earn 25.80% more than the average base salary. https://www.indeed.com/career/cloud-engineer/salaries

A data warehouse is a management system that is designed to support business intelligence activities, especially analytics. Its sole responsibility is to perform queries and analyses of large volumes of historical data. A data warehouse collects and consolidates large amounts of data from multiple sources within an organization. Analytics of these data allows organizations to derive business insights and plan decision-making steps. (https://www.oracle.com/my/database/what-is-a-data-warehouse/

Database Skills

Datacenter to store online data

The top IT software development skill companies look for is Oracle, as cloud engineers earn 25.80% more than the average base salary.

Oracle Autonomous Database is a cloud database for data marts, data lakes, operational reporting, and batch data processing. It uses machine learning to automate routine database tasks.

Programming Languages Framework

A person creating a program

The top two programming languages framework sought after by companies are Erlang and Go. Cloud engineers with Erlang earn 59.02% more than the average base salary whereas engineers with Go skills earn 10.71% more than the average base salary.

Erlang is a programming language that was originally designed for telecommunication application development. Other than that, Erlang can be used to build web applications using frameworks. Erlang with web frameworks can be used to build scalable, event-driven, asynchronous, non-blocking, reliably, real-time, and distributed applications. 

Operating Systems

Accessing operating system

The top operating system skill that companies look for is Debian. Cloud engineers with this skill earn 25.32% more than the average base salary.

Debian is a popular and open-source computer operating system that uses a Unix-like kernel along with other programs. Debian is 100% free to use, modify and distribute. It is a Linux-based operating system that is stable and secure. Many popular Linux distributions such as Ubuntu and PureOS are based on Debian. For developers, Debian can support multiple hardware architectures that are needed for programming complex applications and environments. 

Network Server Technology

Computers connected to the server

The top network server technology that companies appreciate is Kubernetes. Cloud engineers with this skill earn 9.18% more than the average base salary.

Kubernetes is an open-source system for managing containerized applications across multiple hosts. It provides the user with basic mechanisms for deploying, maintaining, and scaling applications. For cloud-based applications, Kubernetes helps in automating operational tasks of container management and includes built-in prompts for deploying applications, making changes to applications, scaling applications up and down based on changing needs, and more. 

Cloud Computing Degrees

IT

Learning IT

To work as a cloud engineer, most companies require a bachelor’s degree, especially in information technology. Below are three universities in the United States that offer undergraduate degree programs in information technology.

Bachelor of Science in Information Technology, Westcliff University

Location: Irvine, USA

Study type: Online and campus combined

Mode : Full-time | Part-time

Duration: 48 months

Language: English

Cource concentrations :
  • AR/VR mobile game development
  • Cloud computing
  • Cybersecurity
  • Data Analytics
  • IT project management
  • Web development

Tuition fees: https://www.westcliff.edu/financial-aid/tuition-fees/#1659414055077-5ac16ba8-1fc9

Bachelor in Information Technology, Upper Iowa University

Location: Fayette, USA, and more

Study type: Online | campus 

Mode: Full-time 

Duration : 3 to 5 years

Language: English

Courses :
  • Project management and integration
  • IT Infrastructure
  • Intro to Programming
  • Computer architecture
  • Operating systems
  • Networking lab
  • Networking
  • Web systems
  • Web systems lab
  • Databases and information management
  • Advanced computer networks
  • Computer forensics/incident response
  • Network management
  • Programming for the WWW
  • E-commerce technology
  • Information assurance and security
  • System security and risks

Tuition fees: https://uiu.edu/admissions/tuition-and-costs/

Bachelor of Science in Information Technology, Sullivan University

Location: Louisville, USA, and more

Study type: Online | campus 

Mode: Full-time 

Duration: 36 months

Language: English

degree covers
  • User/Customer support
  • Networking
  • Databases
  • Website design
  • Programming

Tuition fees: https://www.sullivan.edu/tuition-costs?utm_medium=top_nav

Computer Science

Computer program

Other than IT, companies also look for people with degrees in computer science. Below are three universities in the United States that offer undergraduate degree programs in computer science.

Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, St Ambrose University

Location: Davenport, USA

Study type: Campus 

Mode: Full-time 

Duration: 4 years

Language: English

Degree covers
  • Application development
  • Computer architecture
  • Software engineering
  • Operating systems
  • Programming
  • Data structures
  • Legal and ethical issues
  • Network and data communications
  • System analysis and design
  • Database management systems

Tuition fees: https://online.sau.edu/tuition-costs/

Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, King’s College

Location: Wilkes-Barre, USA

Study type: Campus 

Mode: Full-time 

Duration: 4 years

Language: English

Degree areas
  • Introduction to computing
  • Programming for Science and Engineering
  • Introduction to computer programming
  • Object-oriented software development
  • Data structures
  • Database management
  • Computer organization
  • Compiler design
  • Programming paradigms
  • Theory of algorithms
  • Operating systems
  • Computer graphics
  • Image processing and parallelism
  • Advanced programming
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Software engineering
  • Applied software engineering

Tuition fees: https://www.kings.edu/admissions/financial_aid/business_office/tuition-fees/full-time-undergraduate

Bachelor in Computer Science, University of Findlay

Location: Findlay, USA

Study type: Campus 

Mode: Full-time

Duration: 4 years

Language: English

Degree areas:
  • Business
  • Computer systems
  • Data Analytics
  • Information assurance
  • Mathematics
  • Web and database

Tuition fees: https://www.findlay.edu/offices/business-affairs/student-accounts/undergraduate-charges

Important Cloud Engineer Certifications

Receive certificate

Besides having a bachelor’s degree, good certifications from the main cloud service providers will demonstrate to hirers your abilities in cloud computing in major service provider cloud environments. In this section, three certifications from three major service providers are listed. 

AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate

  • After completing the AWS solutions architect certification training course, you will receive the AWS certified solutions architect associate certificate.
  • This training enables you to design, plan and scale AWS implementations utilizing over 7 cloud computing services.
  • Skills covered:
    • AWS solution planning
    • AWS architecture best practice
    • Designing resilient AWS implementations
    • AWS cost estimation
    • AWS implementation optimization 
    • AWS data io
    • Industry projects
  • Self-paced learning training cost: $ 749
  • Online Bootcamp: $ 799

Microsoft Certified: Azure Fundamentals

  • This certification validates your fundamental knowledge of cloud services provided by Azure. By the end of the training, you would be able to demonstrate knowledge of cloud concepts, Azure services, workloads, security, privacy, pricing, and support. 
  • After studying Microsoft Azure fundamentals and taking the certification exam, you will be equipped with the certification.
  • Skills measured are:
    • Cloud concepts
    • Azure architecture
    • Azure services
    • Azure management and governance
  • Exam price: $99

Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect Expert

  • This certification displays your ability to provide advice to stakeholders and translate requirements into secure, scalable, and usable solutions.
  • This certification is meant for people with expertise in designing cloud and hybrid solutions running on Azure. 
  • Skills measured are:
    • Design identity, governance, and monitoring solutions
    • Design data storage solutions
    • Design business continuity solutions
    • Design infrastructure solutions
  • Exam price: $ 165

The Linux Foundation: Cloud Engineer Bootcamp Success Story

Dart hitting bulls-eye

Now, let’s learn about the success story of someone that had a non-technical career background. We will also know how he became a successful DevOps engineer after completing a cloud computing boot camp, specifically the Cloud Engineer Bootcamp from Linux Foundation Training & Certification.

Michael Rossiter was a music teacher in England with an interest in Linux. He studied and performed music his whole life and naturally became a music teacher. He had friends who were working in web development, IT support, etc, and found their tech roles to be very interesting. 

Around the year 2014, Michael Rossiter’s uncle introduced him to Mint Cinnamon and since then, his interest in Linux has skyrocketed. As time passed, he was using Mint Cinnamon for many purposes and finally settled on Fedora. At that time, it was just a hobby. He did not know how he could turn this ‘hobby’ into an occupation. 

The various training courses and certifications helped him prepare for his current role as a DevOps engineer because it forced Michale Rossiter to focus and fill any gaps in knowledge. 

As of March 2022, as a DevOps engineer, Michael Rossiter maintains environments for the developers and maintains the cloud estate. He also monitors them with many open-source projects such as Grafana and Prometheus. He also mentioned that the certifications gave him a confidence boost.

This story proves that with great enthusiasm, persistence, and ambition, you can achieve your dreams of becoming a part of the cloud engineering community. One great method to increase your knowledge and boost your confidence in the cloud engineering field is to join and complete cloud computing-related certifications, programs, or boot camps.

Conclusion

It is inevitable that cloud computing will keep on growing in the years to come. The number of companies, big and small, adopting cloud solutions into their business model is increasing annually. Hence, the demand for cloud engineers will also increase. There aren’t enough cloud engineers in the world so you have a chance at filling in those gaps by enrolling in cloud computing university courses, acquiring certifications provided by some of the biggest cloud service providers to enhance and prove your abilities to employers, sharpening your soft skills to become an apt leader and continuously enhance your technical skills to excel in cloud engineering. 

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