Rather than traditional in-house computer servers, businesses are turning to cloud computing to better streamline their operations.
Because cloud-based solutions enable businesses to upload, store, manage, and engage with information and programs that are vital to their success. Most importantly though, it allows them to do this in a way that is more secure, scalable, and cost-effective than traditional servers. Plus, utilizing the cloud is helping businesses to better interpret and use their data to gain revenue-boosting insights, like customer trends for example.
But to properly leverage cloud technologies, companies need assistance from a skilled cloud engineer.
This post will breakdown the role of cloud engineer, the hard and soft skills that make them successful, and other insights to this career path.
What is a Cloud Engineer?
Cloud engineers play a critical role in helping businesses harness the power of cloud for storing, managing, and analyzing data. They are responsible for designing and implementing cloud infrastructure and ensuring its future success through maintenance and troubleshooting.
Engineers design cloud infrastructure as a solution for their client to streamline operations and potentially increase revenue. They utilize cloud computing to create solutions that are scalable, secure, and efficient. Popular uses of cloud computing include:
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
- Platform as a Service (PaaS)
- Software as a Service (SaaS)
- Big data analytics
- Test and development
- Data storage and backup
The cloud engineer’s responsibilities can also include maintaining corporate data centers by implementing processes like backup management systems for security purposes and monitoring network traffic flow.
Cloud Engineer Job Description
Aside from maintaining a strong infrastructure, the goal of a cloud engineer is to help clients improve their operations and find solutions through cloud-based technologies. They work alongside their clients, other cloud experts, and stakeholders to design an infrastructure that is fine-tuned to the client’s business needs and existing processes. These processes also include improving the business’s data storage and analysis capabilities.
Within the field of cloud computing, there are other roles or titles like cloud architect, cloud developer, and cloud administrator. Basically, the title ‘cloud engineer’ serves as an umbrella term to encompass a range of cloud computing functions, and it can refer to any cloud expert performing any of these duties.
A cloud engineer may perform each of these roles in their position as engineer, or they may be broken out and assigned to other cloud experts designated to these specific tasks. If that’s the case, then each of the cloud experts will collaborate to achieve a compliant and optimal cloud infrastructure to meet the clients’ needs.
For this role, there really is no one-size-fits-all description of daily tasks—it largely depends on their organization! But the most common day-to-day action items include:
- Helping organizations migrate their computer systems to the cloud
- Configuring cloud infrastructure components like networking and security services
- Creating the applications and databases that perform on the cloud
- Monitoring cloud management and data storage services
To build and maintain successful infrastructures for their clients, cloud engineers need to be equipped with a combination of hard skills, soft skills, and certifications.
Hard or Technical Skills
Cloud computing is a field where technical skills take center stage, because success in this role relies on a deep understanding of how cloud technologies and infrastructures function. Here’s a list of four technical skills that cloud engineers use regularly:
Programming or Coding: Infrastructure design, maintenance, and troubleshooting largely relies on the use of programming languages—also known as coding.
Database Management: The solutions cloud engineers are working toward are meant to support and improve cloud databases, so they should be familiar with managing them! One of the best ways to be proficient in database management is through knowledge of SQL.
Networking: Similar to database management, cloud engineers need a working knowledge of managing virtual networks.
Security and Recovery: Excellent cybersecurity and cloud security are major prioritities among businesses using cloud data storage. Engineers need to be aware of potential threats to their infrastructure and how to solve for any security-related problem areas.
Also known as durable skills, here are three soft skills cloud engineers use in their role:
Collaboration: Whether they’re covering the full scope of cloud computing or operating as part of a team, engineers need to understand how to collaborate within a team and with stakeholders. When working with other cloud experts, they’ll need to work together to achieve their end goal. And they’ll also need to be comfortable working with their clients to design, maintain, and troubleshoot infrastructure.
Communication: In line with the above, cloud engineers practice effective communication in their role. They need to be able to understand the requests of the client so they can build those into the cloud infrastructure, then translate the cloud processes and capabilities to their partners.
Adaptability: Each client has specific needs, preferences, processes, and data types. Cloud engineers should be prepared to modify their cloud infrastructures to properly meet the needs of multiple clients.
Some cloud engineering opportunities still require a degree in computer science as well as previous experience. However, with more teams moving to a skills-based hiring model, some employers may accept certifications and extra experience as a replacement for a degree in computer science.
Here are five of the best certifications to have as a cloud engineer:
- CompTIA Cloud+
- AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner
- Google Professional Cloud DevOps Engineer
- Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate
- Google Professional Cloud Security Engineer
Cloud Engineer Interview Questions
Whether you’re trying out for the role of cloud engineer or gearing up to bring one onto your team, the interview process is important.
Here’s a list of four insightful interview questions for cloud engineers:
- Cloud technology is evolving daily. How would you approach a security issue you never encountered before?
- What current cloud engineering concepts do you use most often?
- What do you view as the most important issue with the cloud facing companies today?
- What is the most challenging project you’ve ever faced? Describe how you contributed to its success—or learned from failure.
Career Outlook and Salary
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment of cloud engineers and other cloud computing professionals will grow at rate of 4% through 2031—which is the average pace for other industries. So, it’s a field that should offer considerable job security, especially as more businesses turn to cloud for storing, managing, and analyzing their data.
As we mentioned earlier, ‘cloud engineer’ can sometimes be used as an umbrella term to reference architects, developers, administrators, or all the above. Because of job title discrepancies and other factors like seniority and location, the salary fluctuates considerably. The median pay, however, is $102,385 according to Glassdoor.
Could Your Business Use Cloud Computing?
Cloud computing is changing the way businesses find success by providing scalable, cost-effective, data-centered solutions. And they’re doing this through qualified and experienced engineers.
If you’re ready to take your data management and analysis to the next level, it may be time to bring on a cloud engineer (or more of them). Fill out the form below to get started.
Looking for Cloud Experts?
We know where to find them.