Cloud Engineer

cloud engineer trainingCloud engineers plan, develop and support organizations' rapidly growing cache of cloud computing solutions.

Let’s start with a quick definition of “cloud computing” for those who are unfamiliar with the term: simply put, cloud computing is the on-demand, pay-as-you-go distribution of IT resources over the Internet. The cloud has changed the way IT departments operate by providing a newfound level of control and scalability over technological resources like data storage and processing, web hosting, software distribution, and analytics. This ability for organizations to host key IT products and services in a shared, web-based environment with dedicated off-site management personnel leads to greater efficiency, lower costs, better security, increased mobility and a host of other benefits.

Now that we have a basic understanding of cloud computing and why it’s a top priority for employers, let’s explore some career options. The most popular cloud computing job title is “cloud engineer,” which is the designation we’ll use most frequently on this page, however “cloud engineer” typically represents a category of job roles that includes cloud architect, cloud support associate, and cloud developer - each of which we’ll delve into deeper. Cloud computing knowledge is not only important for jobs with “cloud” in the title - these expertise are in high demand for legacy tech roles like software engineer, data scientist and cyber security specialist as well.

Cloud engineers typically fall into one or more of these 3 skills areas:

  • Cloud Architecture: Cloud architects plan the infrastructure and distributed applications that will run in the cloud. They combine strong business acumen and technical expertise to design and optimize an organization’s cloud-computing blueprint.
  • Cloud Development: Cloud developers perform the coding and software engineering that brings the architect’s vision to life. They merge traditional programming skills with specialized knowledge in one or more of the leading cloud platforms' development environments to build, deploy and optimize cloud-based applications.
  • Cloud Support: Cloud support engineers tend to work for the actual cloud service providers - including a host of jobs at industry-leaders Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft, and Google - and are responsible for on-boarding, trouble-shooting and maintaining cloud computing solutions.

Universities and private computer schools offer courses and certificates in cloud computing as well as IT degree programs that feature coursework in marketable cloud skills. Compare cloud engineer training programs in the U.S. and online below.

a.k.a. Cloud Computing Engineer | Cloud Architect | Cloud Developer | Cloud Support Associate | Cloud Operations Manager

Cloud Engineer Training



Skills & Responsibilities

The skills needed to become a cloud engineer vary according to job function. Here are some of the most sought-after skill sets and day-to-day activities for popular cloud engineering roles.

In-demand skills and responsibilities for Cloud Solutions Architects include the following. Cloud architects:

  • oversee the organization’s cloud computing strategy.
  • analyze in-house systems for potential migration to the cloud.
  • project the potential costs, benefits and ROI of cloud computing adoption.
  • understand key cyber security concepts and their impact on serverless resources.
  • manage a mix of cloud environments, i.e., public, private and hybrid cloud solutions.
  • have a working knowledge of emerging technologies relevant to cloud computing, e.g., Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI).
  • possess superior soft skills in project management and complex problem solving.

Marketable skill sets for Cloud Application Developers include the following. Cloud developers:

  • develop, launch, and debug cloud-based applications.
  • have hands-on coding skills in one or more desirable cloud-applicable programming languages, such as Python, R, Ruby, Java, and .NET.
  • can utilize one or more of the leading cloud vendors’ software development kits (SDK).
  • understand application lifecycle management (ALM).
  • develop secure apps using current cyber security best practices.
  • reverse engineer in-house programs and repackage into cloud-native apps.
  • often have database development skills in platforms like SQL, MySQL & Hadoop.
  • have knowledge of emerging container management platforms like Kubernetes and Docker.
  • benefit from skills in DevOps - a highly sought-after methodology designed to bridge the gap between developers and operations staff - to produce better apps more quickly.

Sought-after skill sets for Cloud Support Associates include the following. Cloud support pros:

  • handle the day-to-day management of clients’ cloud-based solutions.
  • diagnose and troubleshoot technical issues in the employ of cloud vendors.
  • help customers successfully deploy and implement cloud computing solutions.
  • resolve technical support tickets via telephone, chat, email and sometimes in-person.
  • benefit from fundamental skills in network and systems administration.
  • know their way around one or more popular operating systems such as Linux, Unix & Windows.
  • understand artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) & data analytics - three of cloud vendors’ most common up-sell areas.
  • need exceptional and verbal and written communication skills to assist clients.
  • may possess basic programming skills (which improve job prospects in this role).

In addition to the role-based skill sets above, here are some core expertise that will benefit all cloud engineers. Cloud engineers:

  • understand terminology and concepts across popular public cloud services, including the “cloud computing stack,” i.e., Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS).
    • Here's a good article from Rackspace explaining the cloud computing stack.
  • are familiar with popular solutions from the leading cloud vendors, especially the big 3 - Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform - which account for most of the public cloud market. A growing number of businesses employ solutions from numerous providers at once, so there is definite value in learning multiple cloud platforms.
    • View this graph for a breakdown of cloud computing market share by vendor.

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Cloud Engineer Salary

  • The average annual wage for cloud engineers in the United States is $119,000.

Cloud Engineer Salary: $119,000

 

Average salaries for cloud computing engineers and related job roles in the U.S.:

  • Cloud Systems Analyst: $84,000
  • Cloud Support Associate: $85,000
  • Cloud Security Engineer: $96,000
  • Cloud Engineer: $119,000
  • Cloud Developer: $125,000
  • DevOps Architect: $137,000
  • Cloud Architect: $141,000
  • Senior Cloud Engineer: $146,000

The median hourly wage for cloud computing engineers is $58 per hour.

Sources: Salary.com | Payscale.com

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Education Requirements

Cloud engineering positions have a varied set of education requirements depending on the job role and cloud solutions in play at the organization. Here’s a breakdown of cloud engineer education requirements for the most popular cloud computing careers.

Cloud Architect Employers usually require candidates for cloud architect jobs to have at least a bachelor’s degree in information systems, network engineering, computer science or a similar field. Valuable courses to look for in a cloud architecture degree program include cloud computing, systems analysis, Agile development, serverless architecture, and database management. Because it’s often a senior position that requires strong business acumen and some level of personnel management, many companies give hiring preference and better compensation to applicants with a Master’s degree or MBA. Desirable grad-level majors in this space include Management Information Systems (MIS), Business Intelligence (BI), and Technology Management. Soft skills training in leadership, organization, and problem solving will also benefit prospective cloud architects.
Cloud Developer Cloud development positions typically require a bachelor's degree in software engineering, data science, computer science or a related field of study. Marketable classes to seek out in a cloud development training or degree program include computer programming (especially in languages widely used in cloud-based development, such as Perl, Python, Ruby, PHP, Java & .NET.), machine learning, artificial intelligence, DevOps, database development, secure software development, and application lifecycle management.
Cloud Support Specialist Likely the cloud engineering role on this page with the lowest barrier to entry vis-a-vis education requirements, candidates with the right mix of skills and certifications can land a job in cloud support with a bachelor’s degree or possibly a highly focused associate degree plus relevant certifications. Valuable coursework to look for in a cloud support training program include network and systems administration, information security, cloud computing, virtualization, and technical writing. Soft skills training in topics like problem solving and interpersonal communication are also vital to success in this role.

While the learning plans above will help you get your foot in the door, remember that most cloud engineering roles are not entry-level. In addition to earning cloud engineering degrees and certificates, real-world experience in the skills outlined above will be key to landing a job in this field.

Compare training programs that align with cloud engineers' education requirements.

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Courses & Degrees

There are very few college degrees centered exclusively around cloud computing -- for now -- although many programs include coursework in the platforms and skills you need to become a cloud engineer. Here are some certificate and degree programs that align well with cloud engineering job openings.

Admissions advisors can provide more info about cloud engineering programs and curriculum, admissions and start dates, tuition costs and personalized financial aid options.
Got targeted learning goals? Many schools offer individual courses and certificates.

School

Training Program

Course Highlights & Certifications

AAS - IT: Programming and Software Development

  • Method: Online Degree
  • Degree Level: Associate
  • Accredited School: Yes
  • Financial Aid Available: Yes
  • Design and Develop Cross-Platform Software Systems and Applications
  • Learn Hot Programming Languages like Java, HTML5, JavaScript, .Net & Objective-C
  • Software Product Development with Agile
  • SQL Database Design and Development
  • User Interface & Experience (UI/UX) Design
  • Graphic Design using Adobe Creative Cloud

BS - Cybersecurity

  • Method: Online Degree
  • Degree Level: Bachelor
  • Accredited School: Yes
  • Financial Aid Available: Yes
  • Includes Certification Preparation for:
    • CompTIA A+, Network+ & Security+
    • TestOut Network Pro, Security Pro & Pro PC
  • Gain the Skills and Credentials for Jobs in Cyber Security, Network Management and Engineering
  • Information Security Tools and Techniques
  • Design, Build & Manage Secure IT Networks
  • Cyber Security Policy and Risk Management
  • IT Service & Process Management/Improvement

Master's in Technology Management

  • Method: Online Degree
  • Degree Level: Master
  • Accredited School: Yes
  • Financial Aid Available: Yes
  • Prerequisite: Bachelor's
  • Prepare to Lead IT Personnel and Wield Emerging Technologies to Achieve Business Goals
  • Choose from courses like:
    • Cloud Computing and Virtualization
    • Business Intelligence and Data Analytics
    • Cyber Security Threats & Vulnerabilities
    • Managing Diverse Organizations in a Flat World
    • Computer Systems Analysis
    • Cryptography & Network Security
  • No GRE or GMAT Required for Admission

MS IT - Enterprise Networks & Cloud Computing

  • Method: Online Degree
  • Degree Level: Master
  • Accredited School: Yes
  • Financial Aid Available: Yes
  • Prerequisite: Bachelor's
  • Analyze and Deploy Cutting-Edge Cloud Solutions to Meet Organizational Goals
  • Plan, Design, Manage and Secure Enterprise Computer Networks
  • Cloud Distribution Systems inc. SaaS, PaaS & IaaS
  • Cloud Application Deployment and Operations
  • Database, Application and UX Development
  • Global Network Policy, Regulation & Governance
  • Information Technology Project Management

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Cloud Engineer Certifications

In a field like cloud computing where the most desirable skill sets are rapidly evolving, getting certified is the best way to show employers you have the latest and greatest expertise. Cloud engineering roles also tend to be vendor-specific, i.e., employers want candidates with knowledge in the specific cloud platform(s) in use at the organization.

It's estimated that over 35% of companies (and rising) in the cloud use solutions from two or more vendors concurrently, so earning multiple certs across various platforms will improve job prospects.

Here are some of the most marketable certifications for cloud engineers:

The best cloud engineering certifications in the U.S. are those from industry-leaders AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform. Here's another look at cloud computing market share to help direct your cloud certification path.

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Cloud Engineering Jobs

Your cloud computing skills and experience may qualify for a variety of lucrative job openings. Use the links below to browse and apply to:

  • Cloud Engineer jobs link-icon
  • Cloud Architect jobs link-icon
  • Cloud Developer jobs link-icon
  • Cloud Support jobs link-icon
  • DevOps jobs link-icon
  • Cloud Security jobs link-icon
  • AWS Cloud Computing jobs link-icon
  • Microsoft Azure jobs link-icon
  • Google Cloud Platform jobs link-icon

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Job Outlook

The cloud marketplace is massive and growing exponentially. The public cloud market will expand its $182.4 billion value in 2018 to $214.3 billion in 2019, a whopping 17.5% year-over-year growth. This makes cloud computing the fastest growing tech sector, with the workforce demand to match. There is currently a severe skills gap in cloud computing, meaning there are more job openings than qualified engineers to fill them.

The cloud engineer job outlook is especially bright for those with expertise in Software as a Service (SaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), and Platform as a Service (PaaS) - the three fastest growing cloud segments over the next 5 years according to technology research firm Gartner. Other cloud engineering skills areas seeing faster than average growth include cloud security, hybrid cloud, and DevOps engineering. Cloud architects and developers with skills and certifications in IT project management are also in high demand.

It’s worth mentioning here that cloud computing isn't all upside for the American IT workforce. Because it means migrating certain IT resources that would traditionally be managed inside of the company to the cloud, there will be reduced hiring for certain in-house computing roles. Tech jobs that will be adversely affected by the proliferation of cloud computing include help desk technician, systems administrator and DBAs, although some (but far from all) of these workers will now be able to find work at cloud solution providers.

Sources: Gartner.com | U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Subject Matter Expert Contributor

IT Subject Matter ExpertDaniel Greenspan is an IT education specialist and the founder of ITCareerFinder. Working closely with IT professionals, world-class trainers and tech executives since 2005 has given him a unique perspective into the information technology job market and the skills and credentials IT pros need to succeed.

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