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Architecting the Future: Your Journey to Becoming a Cloud Engineer

how to become a cloud engineer

Cloud Engineers leverage their technical skills to build and manage organizations’ cloud instances, cloud-based applications, and data. The best time to become a Cloud Engineer is now. The demand for Cloud Engineers has never been greater.

As a Cloud Engineer, your role will involve maintaining the cloud’s functionality, handling data management for the company, and architecting cloud security protection strategies. 

Students interested in becoming Cloud Engineers should pursue a degree and certifications. CIAT offers several programs that can help you become a Cloud Engineer, including:

In this article, we will cover what cloud software engineering involves, salary ranges for Cloud Engineers, how long it takes to become a Cloud Engineer, as well as the skills and certifications you’ll need for success.

What is Cloud Engineering?

Cloud engineering involves planning, managing, and monitoring private and public cloud infrastructures. 

Cloud technology helps companies solve computing problems through cloud computing, platform scalability, and data management. Many cloud platforms fall into three possible architectures:

  • Software as a Service (SaaS) – Applications hosted by software providers.
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS) – Google cloud platform and Salesforce.com will host clients data in their respected cloud ecosystems
  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) – Amazon, Microsoft, and other providers host the entire infrastructure, including the virtual instance, virtual firewalls, and virtual client load balancers.

How Long Does it Take to Become a Cloud Engineer?

Many individuals who started from scratch have landed jobs as Cloud Network Engineers, Hybrid Cloud Systems Engineers, and professional Cloud Developers. With hard work and determination, these career paths are achievable.

 

The average person needs 4-6 years to become a Cloud Engineer. Completing a four-year degree is enough to launch a cloud-related career path as a Cloud Security Engineer or other roles in the cloud engineering field. 

Ongoing learning and staying up on the latest in certificate programs, cloud computing, and advanced cloud architecture are necessary for all job seekers in this field.   

Industry Outlook

Cloud engineering is a fascinating field with endless career opportunities and employment options. For example, many Cloud Engineers started their careers as a Cloud Administrator or a Cloud Software Engineer and moved on to become a Cloud Architect or Network Engineer.

Today, organizations continue to move their most critical workloads to the cloud. As a result, Cloud Engineers with relevant experience are in significant demand, and this trend will likely continue for years to come.

Salary Range for Cloud Engineers

According to Salary.com, an entry-level associate Cloud Engineer makes an average salary of $65,000 to $81,000. Experienced Cloud Engineers can make up to $118,00 annually, making it a desirable tech job. 

What is a typical cloud engineer salary?

These specialized roles help lead to even higher earnings and opportunities.

Becoming a Cloud Engineer can be challenging because of the complex concepts of cloud computing. Technical knowledge that supports a cloud engineering career occurs more often through experience. Many entry-level positions in IT, including Desktop Support, Server Administrator, and Data Administrator, can migrate towards a cloud engineering career.

A Senior Cloud Engineer often holds a master’s degree or has graduated from a computer-related field, though having a formal education is not always required to become one. Comprehensive cloud engineer training and dedication can lead to a successful career.

Mastering Programming Skills

Beside earning cloud certifications and completing a cloud degree programs, all students should learn to master a programming language to round out their skill set for a career in cloud engineering. Here is a list of recommended programming languages students should understand:

A Successful Devops Engineer with experience in DevOps best practices and working knowledge of DevSecOps is in high demand. Many organizations have adopted DevOps to support their rapid deployment strategy. Eventually, these applications will be hosted in the cloud.

Key Certifications

For aspiring Cloud Engineers, stacking your resume with the maximum number of industry certifications can unlock higher salaries and competitive career opportunities.

The following industry certifications can help you stand apart from your competition, increase your earning potential, and open opportunities for career advancement:

Quality Experience 

In addition to obtaining a degree and cloud-related certifications, internships and open-source projects can provide valuable hands-on experience for prospective Cloud Engineers.

These experiences help create a portfolio of work that can be presented during job interviews to showcase expertise. Internships and projects also give prospects the opportunity to train and apply skills in a professional environment.

Essential Soft Skills for Cloud Engineers

To become a Cloud Engineer, you need to be technically savvy. But you also need to have the right soft skills to complement your technical prowess. Knowing all the technical aspects of cloud-based and cloud computing infrastructure is only a portion of the overall job description for any cloud career.

Excellent writing and verbal communication skills are essential for all Cloud Engineers. Many Cloud Engineers present to non-technical people within the organization, including:

  • Human Resources Department
  • Finance Department
  • Legal Department
  • Procurement Department
  • Senior Leadership Team

Today, many organizational departments are consumers of cloud services. For example, Human Resources departments have moved aggressively towards the cloud using SaaS offerings like workforce optimization, including providers like Workday.com, Ceridian.com, and Oracle.com. Financial departments, Accounting, and back-office systems leverage cloud offerings through SAP and Microsoft. The Legal, Procurement, and Distribution departments benefit from cloud-based repositories and industry-specific SaaS applications.

Part of having excellent communication skills also involves being able to explain cloud strategies to Senior Leadership Teams (SLTs). The SLT comprises the CEO, CFO, CIO, COO, and CRO. These executives all have an invested interest in the organization’s cloud strategy. The SLT will often ask the Cloud Engineers questions about the cloud, including:

  • Will the cloud make us more competitive?
  • Are we saving money using the cloud?
  • Do you know if the cloud is secure?

To answer these types of questions successfully, Cloud Engineers should look to master business communication skills as part of their daily functions.

Along with business communications, here are some other soft skills that can benefit anyone seeking to become a Cloud Engineer:

  • Critical Thinking
  • Flexibility
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Project Management
  • Time Management
  • Teamwork 

The Future of Cloud Engineering

Cloud Engineers are in demand. Banks, global manufacturing companies, and the U.S. Federal government are just a few examples of organizations that are constantly recruiting Cloud Engineers to help transform their companies through cloud technology.

Start your journey towards becoming a Cloud Engineer today by exploring CIAT’s Applied for Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Information Systems–Cloud Concentration.

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