Cloud engineering is one of the most in-demand and high-paying professions in the information technology space and will be for years to come. Day by day, more businesses are replacing their infrastructure with cloud services and storing sensitive and important information on the cloud.
Cloud engineering can be adopted by businesses in any industry, be it finance, healthcare, aviation, IT, or manufacturing sector. This article aims to provide insights on who a cloud engineer is and how to become one.
Table of Contents
Who is a Cloud Engineer?
The cloud engineer is responsible for designing, building, and maintaining an organization’s cloud computing infrastructure and systems. Cloud computing is the delivery of computing services over the internet to enable innovation, flexible resources, and economies of scale.
In simple words, cloud computing is a service that lets you use any computing services right through your browser without owning anything. Cloud computing services such as, servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, and intelligence can be accessed and used by individuals and companies.
For example, for basic users with a Google account, Gmail is popularly used for emails. Google Drive is the cloud storage that serves as a backup for pictures, videos and files. These files can be accessed anywhere with any device because they are backed up to the cloud.
Cloud services are essential in today’s digital world. Organizations need to manage their businesses’ emails, files, and crucial documents over the cloud so multiple employees in different countries can access them. And Cloud engineers have an edge to control and manage cloud services for organizations.
Cloud engineers have expertise in public cloud services like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Microsoft Azure, Salesforce, IBM and Oracle. Cloud engineers have hands-on experience in networking, servers, storage, databases, etc.
Cloud Engineer Roles and Responsibilities
Cloud engineers have primary roles and responsibilities, which includes:
- Cloud engineers manage and deploy infrastructure, platforms and software on cloud services.
- They implement and manage cloud-based solutions such as virtual servers, storage systems, and networking configurations. Cloud engineers ensure the organization’s cloud infrastructure is scalable, reliable, and secure.
- Cloud engineers monitor the performance of cloud systems and identify opportunities to optimize the cloud.
- Cloud engineers automate the deployment and management of cloud resources using tools such as scripts, APIs and configuration management systems.
- Cloud engineers collaborate with developers and other IT professionals to design and implement cloud-based solutions for specific business needs.
Cloud Engineer Jobs and Career Paths
There are various cloud engineer jobs and career paths to choose from.
Cloud architects are IT professionals who design and implement cloud solutions. They also determine and manage cloud application design and computing strategies.
Cloud developers are IT experts who create software and applications on the cloud.
Cloud network engineer
Cloud network engineers are specialists who design, implement, and manage network architectures in the cloud.
These specialists develop and maintain the infrastructure of cloud computing services for organizations. Organizations and businesses that use cloud services hire cloud administrators.
Cloud security engineer
Cloud security engineers build and implement a secure infrastructure in the cloud environment. Cloud security secures cloud systems from hacks, cyber attacks, viruses and malware.
Cloud infrastructure engineer
Cloud Infrastructure engineers support and control cloud systems – private, public or hybrid cloud infrastructure.
Cloud support engineer
Cloud support engineers maintain cloud application systems using technical skills and creativity. Cloud support engineers also solve customer cases or tickets through customer channels via telephone, email or live chat. Cloud service providers such as Microsoft and Google hire support engineers to solve and troubleshoot customer’s challenges and questions.
Solutions architects design systems to meet the company’s needs with a deep understanding of cloud computing.
DevOps engineers are responsible for bridging the gap between software development, lifecycle, IT infrastructure and operations. DevOps is a set of practices that improves collaboration to increase the delivery and reliability of software between the development and operations teams.
An essential aspect of DevOps is the ability to monitor and log the performance and usage of applications and infrastructure to identify and troubleshoot issues.
How to Become a Cloud Engineer
Becoming a cloud engineer means acquiring new skills and building on existing ones. Depending on whether an individual has a computer science background, it is essential to learn the fundamentals of the cloud. Many aspiring engineers struggle with the most basic yet frequently required concepts.
As a cloud engineer, it is essential to have a strong foundation. There are two primary skills needed to become a cloud engineer. They are technical and soft skills. Education and training are also part of the requirements to become a cloud engineer.
The technical skills needed to become a cloud engineer includes the following;
- General cloud computing concepts
Cloud engineers need to understand the different types of cloud service models. For example, infrastructure as a service, platform as a service, and software as a service. Cloud engineers should be familiar with deployment models such as public cloud, private cloud and hybrid cloud.
- Programming languages
A cloud engineer should understand networking concepts such as IP addresses well. Knowledge of standard network protocols such as HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol), HTTPS and FTP are useful. Network monitoring, security, understanding concepts such as firewalls, virtual private networks, VPNs, encryption, and how they can be used to secure networks is required.
- Knowledge of cloud service providers
Knowledge of cloud service providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, IBM, and Google Cloud Platform are essential for beginners in cloud engineering.
- Operating systems
Familiarity with operating systems, especially Linux, is important for a cloud engineer as they are commonly used in cloud environments.
It is essential to understand the concepts of virtualization and its use in the cloud. For example, there are different types of virtualization, such as hardware, application, and desktop.
Ensuring the security of cloud environments is a critical responsibility of a cloud engineer. This includes understanding security protocols and best practices for securing cloud resources. Over the last few years, there has been a rise in attacks, hacks, and malware on the cloud systems of major organizations. This is why security is crucial in cloud computing.
Some essential soft skills needed for cloud engineers are listed below;
- Problem-solving: Excellent problem-solving skills are necessary as cloud engineers are required to solve problems frequently.
- Communication: Cloud engineers must communicate well and collaborate with other teams and clients to create solutions.
- Project management: Cloud engineers manage projects, and the ability to deliver high-quality projects on budget and time is vital for career growth.
- Leadership: Cloud engineers must be exemplary leaders to ensure their teams have the necessary guidance, support, and tools to fulfil their objectives.
- Zeal to keep learning: Cloud engineers should keep learning and updating their knowledge.
- Critical thinking: Cloud engineers need to analyze, interpret and evaluate ideas. They need to think clearly and be skilful with cloud projects.
Education and training
- Earn a degree in Computer Science
Earning a bachelor’s degree (B.Sc), education, national diploma (ND), or higher national diploma (HND) in Computer science can boost one’s knowledge and resume in cloud engineering.
- Get relevant experience
Experience is a major factor in cloud engineering. Internship and apprenticeship opportunities will provide experience for cloud engineers. Microsoft provides an apprenticeship program called Microsoft Leap, available to Nigerians. These cloud providers, AWS, Azure or GCP, offer generous free tiers to get you started with their services to get hands-on experience with the services.
Create a resume for cloud engineering
Creating a resume for cloud engineering is essential for getting cloud jobs. Add relevant experience, certifications and knowledge of cloud computing concepts to boost your chances of advancing in cloud computing as a career.
Network with cloud professionals
Cloud professionals have expertise and experience in cloud engineering. To become proficient in cloud engineering, you need the guidance and direction of these cloud professionals. Reach out to cloud professionals across different social media platforms.
Online learning platforms like Coursera and Udemy offer cloud engineering courses with certifications. LinkedIn also provides cloud engineering courses and training that can be added to the profile. Cloud service providers like Google, Amazon and Microsoft offer learning courses and paths to write cloud engineering certification exams. These certifications help to boost portfolio and cloud engineer job applications.
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Cloud Engineering Certifications
Certifications are essential in Cloud engineering for beginners. Obtaining a certification can be beneficial for several reasons, some of which includes;
Validation of skills
A certification demonstrates to potential employers that you have specific knowledge and skills in a particular area. This can be especially important for cloud engineering as the field is constantly evolving, and it can be difficult for employers to determine the level of expertise of job candidates.
Improved job prospects
Certification can make you a more competitive candidate for job openings and may increase your chances of getting hired.
Obtaining a certification can help you stay up to date with the latest technologies and best practices, which can be valuable for your professional development and long-term career growth. It also leads to increased earning potential. In some cases, certifications may lead to higher salaries or better job opportunities, as employers may be willing to pay a premium for employees with specific certifications.
The major cloud providers worldwide are Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). These cloud platforms offer fundamentals and role-based certifications. Microsoft has fundamentals exams like the Azure Fundamentals (AZ-104) and Security, Compliance and Identity Fundamentals (SC-900). With some years in the job, aim for expert-level certifications like Azure Associate Engineer, Security Engineer and Azure Administrator.
Amazon Web Services offers solutions architects, practitioners, and developers certifications.
Google Cloud offers free certification on GCP. For Google Cloud, the Associate Cloud Engineer is the best certification to start with. According to Google, someone holding the certification can deploy applications, monitor operations of multiple projects and maintain enterprise solutions to ensure that they meet target performance metrics. Google Cloud also offers certification as a Cloud Architect, cloud DevOps engineer, data engineer, cloud developer and cloud network engineer.
These fundamentals can be learnt through their online platforms and learning. YouTube videos are available to teach and train these fundamentals to pass the exams.
There’s also great demand for experienced cloud engineers, which means entry-level positions and internships may be more competitive. These cloud platforms release and provide free access to write the certifications exams. Stay updated by following them on social media platforms and subscribing to their newsletters.
Cloud Engineering Opportunities in Nigeria
There are opportunities to learn cloud engineering in Nigeria. Studies show that cloud adoption in Nigeria will yield 30.2 trillion naira by 2033. Cloud engineer salary in Nigeria is between 2 million to 4 million naira at the lowest level. Seeking opportunities to obtain practical hands-on experience with cloud technology is critical for success as a cloud engineer.
Some universities in Nigeria offer cloud engineering as a course. Training Institutes in Nigeria, such as the African Institute for Innovation and Technology (AITI), teach Cloud engineering as a course with certification. Some companies in Nigeria hire cloud engineers with no experience with the intent to train and increase the rate of cloud engineers. Also, banks like Standard Bank and Stanbic Bank offer cloud computing Internships.
Cloud adoption in Nigeria is increasing, as Amazon Web Services (AWS) established its office in Lagos, Nigeria, in 2021. Tech events sponsored by Microsoft and Amazon also take place annually. These events and sponsorships aim to increase awareness and skill sets in the Nigerian population.
Nigeria is blessed with youths who are tech-savvy and can take on the cloud industry. Access to exams, free certifications, jobs and relevant experience are great opportunities for Nigerians. Nigerian youths should hop on these opportunities to boost the employment rate.
The digital world keeps evolving, and cloud engineering is in demand. It is essential to have skills in cloud engineering, as many organizations manage their operations in the cloud. Cloud engineer jobs will continue to grow. By following the steps in the article, you can be sure of becoming a successful cloud engineer.
Becoming a proficient cloud engineer takes time and effort. But, it is a rewarding career that offers many opportunities for growth and advancement to shape the future of technology and innovation.
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Edited by Oluwanifemi Akintomide.
Hi. I'm Temitope Victoria, a technical writer with a strong foundation in computer science.
I'm passionate about writing engaging articles that enlightens readers on latest technologies.
My interests span across women, technology and lifestyle and entrepreneurship.
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