How to Become a Cloud Engineer: The Complete Guide

Cloud computing has fundamentally changed the way data is stored. When files containing important information such as emails, data visualizations, photos, and documents are saved in the cloud, it means they’re stored on remote servers, not physically connected ones. Cloud computing allows for remote data access and management, but it’s more than a remote office space. Its complex infrastructure requires cloud engineers to use their expertise to continuously safeguard a cloud’s contents, suggest advancements, and tackle disaster recovery.

Cloud computing has revolutionized how organizations store data, deploy applications, and scale IT resources The ongoing migration to the cloud has created huge demand for cloud engineers to architect and administer cloud infrastructure and services If you want to break into this fast-growing field, follow this guide on how to start your cloud engineering career.

What Does a Cloud Engineer Do?

Cloud engineers are IT professionals who specialize in cloud computing technologies and services. Responsibilities typically include

  • Designing and implementing cloud architecture
  • Deploying cloud infrastructure and applications
  • Automating and managing cloud resources
  • Monitoring cloud performance, usage, costs, and security
  • Optimizing cloud efficiency, reliability, and costs
  • Identifying and remediating issues
  • Integrating on-premises systems with cloud services
  • Training users on cloud solutions
  • Staying current on new cloud capabilities and best practices

Cloud engineers need a strong foundation across computing networking, operating systems, and application development. Soft skills like communication, collaboration, and creative problem solving are also essential.

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor’s Degree

The first step to become a cloud engineer is earning a bachelor’s degree, typically in computer science, information technology, or computer engineering.

Coursework should include classes like:

  • Programming
  • Software design
  • Database management
  • Operating systems
  • Computer networks
  • Algorithms and data structures
  • Distributed and parallel computing

Look for electives in cloud computing like cloud architecture, AWS, Azure, Google Cloud Platform containers Kubernetes, and DevOps. Internships also provide valuable hands-on cloud experience.

Step 2: Gain Proficiency in a Cloud Platform

While core engineering skills transfer, most cloud engineering roles require expertise with a specific provider’s tools like AWS, Microsoft Azure, or Google Cloud Platform.

Gain in-depth experience with at least one major platform through:

  • Projects using services like EC2, S3, Lambda, CloudFormation
  • Cloud-based internships or co-ops
  • Relevant part-time jobs or freelancing
  • Building cloud projects for student organizations

This hands-on training with real-world usage prepares you for the daily responsibilities of cloud engineering roles focused on particular platforms.

Step 3: Learn a Programming Language

Cloud engineers need coding skills to develop cloud-based applications, automate infrastructure deployment, implement monitoring and metrics, and more.

Popular languages include:

  • Python – used for automating AWS, GCP, and Azure services
  • JavaScript – full-stack web development and serverless computing
  • Go – building microservices and cloud-native apps
  • Java – developing scalable cloud apps and systems
  • C# – creating .NET apps and Azure solutions

Aim to gain professional proficiency in at least one language through coursework and personal projects.

Step 4: Earn Relevant Certifications

Cloud certifications validate your expertise to employers. Leading credentials include:

AWS Certifications

  • AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner
  • AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate
  • AWS Certified Developer – Associate
  • AWS Certified DevOps Engineer – Professional

Microsoft Certifications

  • Microsoft Certified: Azure Fundamentals
  • Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate
  • Microsoft Certified: Azure Developer Associate
  • Microsoft Certified: Azure DevOps Engineer Expert

Google Cloud Certifications

  • Google Cloud Digital Leader
  • Associate Cloud Engineer
  • Professional Cloud Architect
  • Professional Cloud Developer
  • Professional Cloud DevOps Engineer

Certifications boost your qualifications and help you land that first cloud engineering role.

Step 5: Consider Specializing

Many cloud engineers focus on specific areas like:

  • Cloud migration and integration
  • Infrastructure as code
  • Cloud security
  • Machine learning operations (MLops)
  • Cloud data engineering
  • Cloud cost optimization
  • Cloud-native development
  • Blockchain cloud platforms

Specializing allows you to command higher salaries and differentiate yourself. But make sure to start with broad cloud knowledge.

Step 6: Complete Internships

The best way to gain direct experience is through cloud engineering internships and co-ops at tech companies or IT departments utilizing cloud services. Look for opportunities to:

  • Design and implement cloud solutions
  • Utilize infrastructure as code tools like Ansible, Terraform, Puppet
  • Monitor performance and troubleshoot issues
  • Automate operational processes
  • Assist with cloud migration initiatives

Paid or for-credit internships provide workplace experience and valuable contacts for launching your career.

Alternative Paths and Backgrounds

Cloud engineers come from diverse backgrounds beyond a computer science degree like:

  • IT roles eager to expand cloud skills
  • Software engineers transitioning to cloud-native development
  • Business analysts with deep cloud platform expertise
  • Sysadmin specialists moving to cloud administration
  • Non-technical backgrounds combined with intensive bootcamp training

A blend of cloud certifications, hands-on experience, and demonstrable passion for cloud computing can overcome nontraditional education paths.

Cloud Engineering Salaries

According to Payscale, average salaries for cloud engineers are:

  • Entry-level: $74,000
  • Early career (0-5 years): $92,000
  • Mid-career (5-10 years): $114,000
  • Experienced (10-20 years): $133,000

Salaries vary based on your specialty, credentials, specific cloud platforms worked with, and location. Metropolitan tech hubs tend to pay the best.

Job Outlook and Growth

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 13% increase in cloud computing jobs between 2020 and 2030 – much faster than average. Demand for cloud engineers continues to accelerate as more organizations migrate to the cloud.

AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud have become the core digital infrastructure for companies globally. Cloud engineering skills are highly valued and will provide job stability and security well into the future.

Learning Cloud Skills Online

You can learn in-demand cloud engineering skills through:

  • Coursera Specializations: Cloud Engineering with Google Cloud, AWS Fundamentals, Multiplatform Mobile App Development with Web Technologies
  • edX Professional Certificates: Cloud Computing with AWS, Microsoft Developing On Azure, Cloud Computing Essentials
  • Udemy Courses: AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate, Google Cloud Professional Cloud Architect, Azure Administrator Exam Certification

Combining online learning with projects, certifications, and internships provides a proven path to getting hired in cloud engineering.

Making Continuing Education a Priority

As a cloud engineer, ongoing learning is crucial to stay on top of new services, tools, architectures, and best practices. The technology evolves extremely rapidly. Prioritize keeping your skills current through:

  • Webinars and virtual conferences like AWS re:Invent and Microsoft Ignite
  • Cloud provider training and certification
  • Experimenting with new capabilities through projects
  • Reading blogs, documentation, whitepapers, and guides
  • Joining cloud computing Meetups and communities

Consider setting an annual learning budget and goal 10-20 hours per month for continuing education. It will pay dividends in keeping your cloud engineering skills sharp.

Impactful and Exciting Career

From startups to Fortune 500 companies, cloud engineering is one of the most in-demand and fast-growing technology roles. If you enjoy continually learning, collaborating across teams, and working on cutting-edge infrastructure, cloud engineering offers an dynamic, future-proof career path with excellent compensation and opportunities. Get started today by earning AWS, Azure, or GCP certifications and honing your hands-on skills through internships and projects. The cloud engineering job market needs your talents!

how to become a cloud engineer

Considering a career in cloud computing?

Learn more about the Fullstack Academy part-time cloud computing bootcamp.

Demand for skilled cloud engineers is high as the digital world becomes increasingly interconnected and businesses shift to the security and accessibility of cloud computing. A wide range of organizations seek the expertise of cloud engineers, and, as technology evolves, jobs for individuals with the proper credentials are likely to increase.

Specialized career training programs, such as a cloud computing bootcamp, offer extensive training in the field and can help jump-start your goal of becoming a cloud engineer.

How to Become a Cloud Engineer: 3 Steps

Aspiring cloud engineers need to gain a combination of foundational technical knowledge and specialty cloud computing skills to demonstrate expertise to employers.

How to Become a Cloud Engineer – A Step-By-Step Roadmap

Do you need a bachelor’s degree to become a cloud engineer?

Although some employers might prefer candidates with bachelor’s degrees, they’re not necessary to become a cloud engineer. Many professionals work up to cloud engineering and beyond by gaining the necessary skills and experience. That said, earning a bachelor’s degree in a field like computer science or IT might fast-track you to a cloud position.

What does a cloud engineer do?

A cloud engineer helps organizations transfer their data to a cloud-based infrastructure to provide remote access to this information. Learning about this career path can help you decide if it’s right for you to pursue. In this article, we explain how to become a cloud engineer and provide other career information so you can perform job research.

What skills do cloud engineers need?

Some necessary skills for cloud engineers include: Problem-solving: Cloud engineers use problem-solving skills to troubleshoot technical issues and determine solutions quickly to protect valuable data.

How much do cloud engineers make?

Cloud engineers have a median base salary of $96,449, according to data from Glassdoor. The average salary of cloud engineers in the US at the time of publication was $118,586, according to Indeed. Additional resources

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