How to Land a Job in Cloud Computing

A career in cloud computing offers an in-demand, high-paying profession. Learn how to get a job in cloud computing.

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by Marisa Upson

Published August 24, 2022

Reviewed by Monali Mirel Chuatico

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The cloud computing market is one of the quickest-growing global technology markets. According to Precedence Research, the global cloud computing market is projected to grow from $380.25 billion in 2021 to over $1,614 billion by 2030. As more companies turn to cloud computing, the demand for professionals who can adopt cloud computing platforms continues to grow.

Gartner analysts estimate that over 85% of organizations will incorporate a cloud-first strategy by 2025. Moving workloads to the cloud requires transferring applications, data, and other IT resources from legacy on-premise data centers. It can also entail moving things from one cloud to another.

To succeed in this growing IT segment, you'll need specific skill sets, such as expertise in at least one of the cloud platforms, project management, and integration and organizational strategies.

What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing delivers IT resources and computer services over the internet. This includes software applications, computer programs, servers, storage, and databases. Cloud companies retain these services and resources in massive data centers worldwide. Many offer pay-as-you-go or subscription-based payment models.

By using the cloud, companies no longer need physical servers stored onsite in every business location, reducing the cost of maintaining their own IT infrastructure. Examples of companies that use extensive cloud computing include Netflix, Pinterest, Coca-Cola, PayPal, and Kroger.

There are four main types of cloud computing services. Third-party providers own and operate public clouds. These service providers may offer software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), or infrastructure as a service (IaaS). The fourth type of cloud computing services is called functions as a service (FaaS).

A single business or enterprise may also host a private cloud for their exclusive use. These exist onsite or at a remote, third-party location via a private cloud provider. In most cases, the organization carries the responsibility, similar to the on-premise infrastructure.

A hybrid cloud uses a mixture of on-premise, private, and public cloud services. Lastly, a multicloud exists when businesses use many clouds from different cloud computing companies.

Where Can I Work in Cloud Computing?

A career in cloud computing provides opportunities in nearly every industry. Some industries leading in cloud spending include banking and financial services, healthcare, entertainment, retail, and manufacturing.

According to Synergy Research Group, three companies own about 65% of the cloud market. Amazon Web Services leads the pack, with almost 34% of the market share, followed by Microsoft's Azure with about 21%. Google Cloud and Alibaba Cloud round out the top four, followed by IBM Cloud.

Companies may prefer applicants with certifications in one or several of these platforms. Datamation reported that in January 2022, some of the top employers with open cloud positions included AWS, Deloitte, Perficient, VMware, and Salesforce.

Some top cities looking for IT and cloud computing professionals include Durham, North Carolina, and Austin, Texas. CompTIA reported on Google Cloud's plans to create an engineering hub in Durham, accounting for about 1,000 new jobs. Austin, Texas is also a top tech spot, with cloud companies like Epicor, MongoDB, and DISCO making this popular state their home. Amazon, Apple, Google, and IBM also set up shop in Austin.

Notable Cloud Computing Companies

Amazon Web Services

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the leader in the cloud computing space, offering more features and services than any other cloud provider. These include free migration tools, data backup and long-term storage, virtual private clouds, and artificial intelligence. AWS's global cloud infrastructure spans 26 geographic regions around the world.

Google Cloud

Google Cloud is known for its big data, machine learning, and other analytics applications. It helps teams collaborate by integrating Google Workspace for document sharing, video calling, chat, and email. According to Google, it offers three times the throughput at half of the administration costs of other cloud providers.

IBM Cloud

IBM Cloud surpasses other cloud platforms in the private cloud arena and software and hosting services. In 2019, IBM acquired Red Hat for $34 billion. Together, they offer a next-generation hybrid multicloud platform. A few of its offerings include IBM Cloud Paks, software products for hybrid clouds, and IBM Cloud Private.

Microsoft Azure

Microsoft Azure allows users to build, deploy, and manage applications and services. It offers full integrations with all Microsoft products and links well with Microsoft onsite systems like Active Directory, System Center, and Windows Server. It offers IaaS, SaaS, and PaaS and is a popular cloud platform for enterprises committed to Microsoft technology.

Oracle Cloud

Oracle is known for its database software and computer systems and software, such as Java. Oracle cloud infrastructure offers tools that support and run Oracle's databases and applications, as well as a broad variety of cloud products and services. Strategic integrations with Microsoft Azure and VMware offer seamless interoperability and collaborative support.

Cloud Computing Career and Salary Outlook

As reliance on the cloud continues to grow, professionals with specialized cloud computing skills may experience increasing demand. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics projects 13% job growth for computer and information technology occupations from 2020-2030.

The growing demand stems partly from the increasing use of cloud computing services. In 2021, the median yearly salary for these occupations was $97,430, about $51,670 more than the median wage for all occupations.

Cloud Architect

Cloud architects help develop a company's cloud adoption strategies. They may design and transfer applications to the cloud, manage cloud environments, and ensure the transition to the cloud goes smoothly and on budget. These professionals need knowledge of one or more cloud environments. Payscale reports that cloud architects earn an average yearly salary of $128,420 as of August 2022.

Cloud Consultant

These IT consultants specialize in cloud systems. They help clients determine the best cost-effective cloud solutions for their specific purposes. Cloud consultants may design migration policies and migrate traditional systems onto the cloud. Payscale reports that IT consultants with cloud computing skills earn an average yearly salary of $90,430 as of August 2022.

Cloud Engineer

Cloud engineers ensure a secure cloud environment and create the applications, databases, or functions that run on the cloud. They design, develop, and maintain an organization's cloud computing solutions. Payscale reports that cloud engineers earn an average wage of $91,410 as of August 2022.

Cloud Infrastructure Engineer

Cloud infrastructure engineers coordinate enhancements and deployment efforts and provide insight for implementing client solutions. They may work closely with other cloud teams and engineers and consult with stakeholders regarding strategies for deploying new cloud technology. These engineers may be responsible for the end-to-end infrastructure management solutions and automating infrastructure migration to the cloud.

Cloud System Administrator

A cloud system administrator develops, configures, implements, and manages the network connections of cloud computing resources. These administrators usually focus on the daily operational performance of cloud computing services, monitoring and analyzing network performance. They typically work with the IT department to develop and support the cloud infrastructure.

How to Break Into the Field of Cloud Computing

No matter the job title, most professionals in cloud computing need a solid foundation in programming languages. They must also know database management, AI and machine learning, and cloud computing companies and technologies. As with most IT professions, they must stay up to date on the latest evolving technological advancements.

Required Education

Many positions require a bachelor's degree in computer science, information technology, computer engineering, or a related field. Some companies require that applicants hold a master's degree.

Keep in mind that as the need for skilled cloud computer specialists increases, companies may seek more diverse applicants, with some eliminating the four-year degree requirement.

According to CompTIA's IT Industry Outlook 2022, cloud computing accounts for critical areas within the infrastructure. Additionally, 71% of companies plan on pursuing training options within their existing workforce to close the skills gap. The survey also found that 22% of channel partners eliminated the bachelor's degree requirement.

These companies may accept candidates who obtained the required skills through other channels, such as bootcamps and certifications. Several years of experience and a solid portfolio can also help applicants stand out.

Required Skills

The required hard skills for this growing profession include expertise in at least one of the public cloud giants, such as AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud. These cloud computing companies offer certifications that require passing an exam. Example credentials include the professional cloud architect certification from Google Cloud and the Microsoft certified Azure data engineer associate.

Migrating native IT systems to cloud platforms requires advanced deployment and migration skills that reduce downtime and protect the security and integrity of data. Integrating data across different cloud platforms is also a highly sought-after skill.

Other critical technical disciplines that can help you distinguish yourself from other candidates include databases and data query languages, such as MySQL. DevOps and agile best practices and proficiency in programming languages like Java, Python, and JavaScript are standard requirements.

Many cloud computing careers also depend on understanding the financial impact of cloud computing. These include a return on investment and calculating the total cost of cloud migration. Doing so requires some business savvy and negotiation skills. Soft skills also play a critical role in these positions, including effective written and verbal communication, being a team player, and analytical thinking.

Required skills vary based on the position and employer. The following represent a few of the common skills employers may require.

  • Programming Languages: Java, JavaScript, Python, Golang, PHP, Ruby
  • Linux: This open-source operating system is commonly used in the cloud.
  • Database Programming Languages: SQL, NoSQL
  • Cloud Computing Platforms: Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, or Google Cloud
  • Methodologies and Related Frameworks: DevOps, Agile, Lean, Kanban, Scrum
  • Automation Tools: Kubernetes, Chef Automate, Puppet Enterprise, Ansible
  • Additional Tools and Knowledge: Cloud Security, Network Management, Machine Learning

Required Experience

Some roles need several years of experience designing, executing, and supporting cloud solutions. For those just breaking into the profession, a cloud portfolio can help prove your skills. Make sure the projects demonstrate the particular skills an employer is looking for. Strong references who can vouch for your work ethic can also help get you in the door.

Consider volunteer jobs for nonprofit organizations or internships, which offer needed experience and can help develop your portfolio. Bootcamps may also provide hands-on experience that can help you build your skills.

Frequently Asked Questions About Cloud Computing Careers

Is cloud computing a good career option?

Yes. A career in cloud computing can offer an in-demand and exciting profession. CompTIA reported that the demand for these professionals grows as more companies pursue a cloud-first architecture. Candidates can find many roles in cloud computing, including those as cloud developers, cloud engineers, cloud security managers, and cloud architects.

Cloud computing also offers high earning potential. Payscale reports that those with cloud computing skills earn an average yearly salary of $128,000 as of August 2022. Cloud professionals with an understanding of cloud computing companies often find it exciting to be in a field that's making advanced features like artificial intelligence much more accessible.

What job is best in cloud computing?

The best job depends on your skills and interests. If you enjoy working freelance and helping various companies navigate the cloud, a job as a cloud consultant may be ideal. Cloud architects see some of the highest earnings, with Payscale reporting average earnings ranging from $80,000-$167,000 as of August 2022.

It's also important to consider the industry in which you would like to work and gather experience in this segment. Industries expecting significant investments in cloud solutions include manufacturing, banking and financial services, retail, government, and healthcare.

How do I start a career in cloud computing?

The first step is gaining the required knowledge. Many IT positions require a bachelor's in computer science, information technology, computer engineering, or a related field. Due to the growing demand, some employers may accept applicants with an associate degree or those who gained skills by attending bootcamps or earning direct experience.

You can get this experience by starting in entry-level positions, volunteering for a nonprofit needing IT and cloud support, or completing internships. Due to its hands-on nature, your portfolio also plays a large role in getting you started in your career. You can create a portfolio based on personal or bootcamp projects.

Feature Image: Morsa Images / DigitalVision / Getty Images

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