Cloud computing hit the limelight about a decade ago, yet it has continued to dominate the IT industry for all good reasons. Cloud architecture refers to all the components and services such as storage, network, servers, software, and others that together make up a cloud platform. Cloud architects are the professionals who develop and implement cloud services, solutions, policies, and governance for an organization. Cloud architects wear multiple hats but, most importantly, ensure the availability and optimal security of the cloud at all times.
The cloud architect skills are relevant across various industries and organizations. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates a 5% job growth of computer network architects between 2020 and 2030, with a median salary of $128,418 for cloud architects in November 2021, according to payscale. This may however be less than the package commanded by a specialized cloud architect with years of experience.
Who is a cloud architect?
A cloud architect is an IT professional who, as we have already mentioned, develops, implements, and manages the cloud computing system of an organization. These individuals are well versed with various technologies, including different cloud platforms, public and private clouds, cloud computing applications and services, and their inner workings. Many times, cloud architects work together with network architects, DevOps engineers, system administrators, and software developers.
The roles of a cloud architect
The cloud architect is responsible for developing, implementing, and managing all the components of a cloud system. While their duties will vary from organization to organization, their main roles include the following:
- Understanding the technical requirements of the organization and designing cloud solutions for the same
- Identify opportunities in cloud systems and technologies that the business can explore to streamline processes
- Developing cloud processes and automated systems using open-source technologies and creating documentation for them
- Defining parameters for cloud architectures
- Facilitating migration to the cloud
- Establishing security and governance policies along with the best practices for cloud access and use in the organization
- Monitor cloud systems and resources for security threats and vulnerabilities and come up with incident response mechanisms.
Your journey to becoming a cloud architect
The duties undertaken by the cloud architect are core to service delivery and, ultimately, the success of any organization. A day in the life of a cloud architect will be spent on system administration and management more than on strategy. It takes more than the top cloud architect course to advance your career as a cloud architect. At the helm of your career, your day-to-day duties will have a great impact on the organization’s operations. You will be depended upon to develop complex solutions and recommend appropriate cloud technologies based on the organization’s requirements. For this reason, the life of a cloud architect does not stop learning and acquiring skills and experience. No one said it would be easy. But it is certainly achievable.
Here are the steps to becoming a cloud architect:
Acquiring cloud architects’ educational qualifications
At the very basic, a bachelor’s degree in computer science, information science, or a related discipline is needed as they cover the fundamentals of computing. In addition, consider cloud architect certification and other related courses that will help you acquire specialized skills that will help you advance your career into various roles.
These include general courses like coding, information technology, and systems networking in case you do not have a strong IT background.
Also, consider specialized cloud architects specialized courses like:
- Google Certified Professional Cloud Architect Certification course
- AWS Certified Solutions Architect Certification course (Taken by those who have accumulated one or more years of cloud architect years of experience.
- Microsoft Azure Solutions Architect Technologies certification course
- Microsoft Azure Architect Design certification course
Finally, on matters of education, you can consider the more intense cloud architecture Bootcamps as a worthy alternative to the conventional bachelor’s degree qualification. Bootcamps take a shorter time and are specific to cloud architecture.
Cloud architect background
For the more advanced roles, a solid background that combines both working technical knowledge of the cloud and creative thinking to devise innovative cloud-based solutions for business problems.
Cloud architects have vast experience working with different IT technologies and various clouds. Many of them have prior experience in system administration and IT networking. The more experienced professionals will be members of at least one industry organization like the CCA (Cloud Computing Association) where they interact with other like-minded professionals and experts in the industry. Also, cloud architects need to have a strong background in:
- Traditional IT
- Scripting and programming languages
- Security and governance
- Public and private clouds
Top cloud architect skills
If you are considering becoming a cloud architect, you need to have grasped the fundamentals, advantages, and disadvantages of cloud computing and other technologies related to the cloud. Also, the following technical skills are important for the cloud architect role.
- Networking including HTTP, TCP/IP, IP, DNS addresses
- Programming and scripting languages like Java
- Knowledge of operating systems like Unix, Linux, Ubuntu, Windows, and Solaris
- Knowledge of different clouds AWS, Azure Cloud, GCP, and others
- Data storage and databases knowledge like MySQL
- Working knowledge of open-source technologies like Docker, Kubernetes, and Redis
Also, and most importantly, cloud architects should have the following interpersonal skills:
- Strong communication skills, including good listening, understanding, and both written and oral communication
- Project management
- Analytical ability
- Detail-oriented and critical thinking
The cloud architect career path
You have taken your time and studied, acquired the required skills, and maybe done some projects. What next?
You may have noticed by now that landing a cloud architect role straight away is not easy. It may take you precious time and effort. Most people will prefer to start from other roles and work towards advancing into the cloud architect role. Such roles include:
- IT support
- System engineering
- Database administrator
- System administrator
Why you should become a cloud architect
If you have a deep interest in the IT (Information Technology) field, like designing and managing technologies and working with databases, you may consider specializing in cloud computing. Many organizations have either transitioned or are considering transitioning into the cloud to scale up and streamline their operations. Cloud architects come in to facilitate cloud adoption and design secure, scalable cloud solutions that match their needs. For this reason, the demand for cloud architects will remain high for a long time to come.
The technology world is a fast-evolving world that will always have advanced innovations emerging every other day. As an aspiring cloud architect, be prepared to learn continuously to get updated with emerging technologies. You may also think of specializing further in working with a single public cloud like AWS, Azure, or Google Cloud. On average, entry-level cloud architects earn $82,224 annually, according to ZipRecruiter. Popular roles in cloud architecture include the cloud security architect, AWS Solutions Architect, and Cloud Engineer.