How to become a Cloud Engineer
Are you a user of apps like Google Drive, DropBox, Slack, Salesforce, and more? Well, you are already a part of the “Cloud” ecosystem, and in this article, we will help you understand how you can become a Cloud Engineer without prior experience.
Cloud this, cloud that, the whole world seems to be enamored by this “cloud” concept. right? Well, what exactly is the cloud? Why is it so popular? Will “cloud” and associated jobs be in demand? Let’s answer all these questions as we read on.
Crudely put, Cloud Computing is the on-demand availability/delivery of IT resources – databases, networks, infrastructure, storage, operation frameworks, and more – without the need for physical infrastructure investment. Instead of owning physical servers and large data centers, you can access technology services on-a-need basis from cloud providers like Amazon Web Services(AWS), Microsoft Azure, or Google Cloud (arguably the biggest cloud providers).
Until 2019, cloud computing was a fast-growing industry. Thanks to the pandemic and the need for organizations to transition into a remote-first culture, the demand for cloud computing exploded and grew exponentially. According to Cloudwards, the global cloud computing market is set to grow to US$832 billion in 2025 from $374 billion in 2020. What fueled this 4x jump?
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Why are companies so eager to move to the cloud?
- Cost reduction: Without the need for maintaining expensive IT infrastructure on-premise, the need for a large IT team with an expert maintenance crew is not needed, thereby directly slashing IT costs. Furthermore, using shared or on-subscription model services reduces high one-time procurement costs and the overhead costs associated with maintaining such a facility – electricity, manpower, water, and office space.
- Flexibility – Right from purchasing and installing expensive upgrades to increasing storage at the click of a button because of a sudden surge in server traffic, everything can be handled by the cloud service provider, allowing you to focus on your business and growth.
- Security – On-premise servers or data centers are prone to natural disasters, power failures, or geopolitical crises. However, a cloud model enables business continuity given its remote accessibility. It provides your organization with the security needed.
- Collaborative – If you are working on a project across different locations, you need the ability to share information freely yet securely within your network. While traditional enterprise systems could make such a process cumbersome, cloud systems are built to enable collaboration among global teams.
While we understand the “why” behind opting for the cloud, what can cloud computing do for organizations? Have you come across terms like SAAS, PAAS, IAAS, etc.? Ever wondered what they are? They are abbreviations of what Cloud Computing can handle for an organization.
Cloud computing’s functions are broadly categorized into three buckets:
- Software as a Service (SaaS) – Software-as-a-service is one of the most commonly used cloud services worldwide. With SaaS, you can access internet-hosted software products on a subscription model without needing them to be downloaded and installed on individual systems. Salesforce or Slack are prime examples of the Software as a Service model.
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) – As the name suggests, infrastructure as a service translates to buying or renting computing power (network, server, etc.) and information storage from cloud providers without establishing a setup on-premise. The service provider will maintain the physical system hardware. Microsoft Azure, Dropbox, and Google Drive are examples of the IAAS model.
- Platform as a Service (PaaS) – As the name suggests, in the PaaS model, a customer is provided a complete cloud platform, including hardware, solutions, and infrastructure for running and managing applications on the cloud, yet at their own will and priorities. In other words: PaaS = IaaS + SaaS. The three big cloud providers – Microsoft, Amazon, and Google—have their respective PaaS offerings, each with various features.
Recalibrating the focus to the main agenda of the article, let us answer the question, ‘What does a Cloud Engineer do?’
As the name suggests, a cloud engineer is responsible for building and maintaining cloud solutions for an organization. Depending on their specific function, the designation may vary. For instance, Cloud Architects are focused on “building” cloud solutions, while Cloud Administrators lean towards “maintaining” cloud solutions.
The typical job description of a Cloud Engineer
- Collaborating with engineering and development teams to evaluate and identify optimal cloud solutions.
- Modifying and improving existing systems.
- Educating teams on the implementation of new cloud technologies and initiatives.
- Designing, developing, and deploying modular cloud-based systems.
- Developing and maintaining cloud solutions following best practices.
- Ensuring efficient data storage and processing functions per company security policies and best practices in cloud security.
- Identifying, analyzing, and resolving infrastructure vulnerabilities and application deployment issues.
- Regularly reviewing existing systems and making recommendations for improvements.
- Interacting with clients, providing cloud support, and making recommendations based on client needs.
Cloud Engineer: Most desired skill-set
Technical skills: Cloud engineers must develop software, manage applications and databases, and work with APIs and open-source libraries. Cloud engineers need to be technically sound.
It is good to have:
- Operating systems expertise, including Linux
- Certifications from cloud providers like Azure, AWS, or Google Cloud
- Knowledge of cloud applications
- Programming and scripting competency in Python, R, or the latest programming languages
- Development knowledge to build and/or integrate application programming interfaces (APIs) and web services
- Network security certifications and expertise
- Database management competency with SQL
- Knowledge of DevOps frameworks and practices
Engineering skills: Any software engineer must be able to think analytically and logically to build complex algorithms, and this role demands nothing different.
If you want to be a good cloud engineer, you must:
- Have good knowledge of statistics, data analysis, and computation
- Have good knowledge of logic creation
- Have a good system and process development knowledge
Critical thinking and problem-solving skills: Considering cloud engineers must work cross-functionally, it is important to be solution-oriented and test and optimize existing solutions.
It is good to be able to:
- Troubleshoot technical issues
- Research and test cloud integrations
- Analyze and mitigate risk through strategic planning
- Compute, analyze, and establish system objectives
- Product analysis, planning, and design
Apart from these three major skill categories, cloud engineers need to possess strong communication skills, both written and spoken, to work with the team and stakeholders to develop a strong product.
How to Become a Cloud Engineer?
Here is a 4-step process to cementing your ‘cloud’ career.
Step 1: Get Certified
Whether you have a bachelor’s degree in IT systems/Computer Science, getting certified by cloud service providers like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, or Google Cloud will help you understand different products across the software, infrastructure, security, and platform buckets. These certification courses feature interactive learning and guided projects to help you gain hands-on experience.
Explore fundamental certifications:
Coursera: Cloud Certification
Udemy: Google Cloud Certification
Simplilearn: Cloud Computing Certification
Step 2: Specialize
There are multiple types of cloud services, such as private cloud, public cloud, and hybrid clouds. Under each of these categories, you could specialize in – security, products, cloud infrastructure, or overall cloud administration.
Step 3: Projects
Gain hands-on experience with cloud development projects to build a strong portfolio of cloud expertise to showcase during your interviews.
Step 4: Ace Interviews
Become familiar with answering technical questions during your interview. Keep networking with cloud experts on LinkedIn and glean industry secrets and commonly asked questions from them. Furthermore, explore job openings for tech professionals on Xpheno.com and keep applying till you find a role that fits your bill.
Are you ready to become a Cloud Engineering specialist yet? Well, if the above information doesn’t pique your interest, then this will. According to Glassdoor, the average salary for a cloud engineer in India is INR 6,00,000/-. Start your journey now.