How to Become a Cloud Engineer
Have you ever wondered who helps create and maintain the cloud technology behind your Google Backup data and Dropbox files? Cloud engineers are IT specialists who manage cloud infrastructure.
Cloud engineers enable companies to integrate cloud technology to keep databases secure and accessible.
However, Forbes reported in 2020 that a shortage of skilled professionals is currently undermining the overwhelming demand for cloud engineers. If you are thinking of filling the void, this page is for you.
Read on to learn more about the education, certification, and training process needed to become a cloud engineer.
What do cloud engineers do?
Cloud engineers build and maintain cloud-based infrastructure. Their responsibilities may include:
- Design, manage and implement cloud-based applications
- Helping companies migrate databases to cloud infrastructure
- Negotiate with vendors on issues such as cost control, scalability, etc.
They collaborate with other members of the IT team and keep senior management informed of the status of the cloud migration project.
The typical cloud engineer specializes in a cloud service provider, such as:
Industries in which cloud engineers typically work include computer systems design, finance, and insurance. They can also work in business and business management.
Specialized roles within cloud engineering include:
These roles require specific expertise. Cloud developers, for example, mainly develop cloud-based applications and services.
The skills needed to become a cloud engineer
The work of cloud engineers relies on a mix of technical and managerial skills. They need education and technical skills training in areas such as network service configuration and software engineering to have the basic skills.
However, they also need soft business-related skills to collaborate effectively with management and service providers.
- Data base management
- Network Setup
- Software engineering
- cyber security
How to become a cloud engineer?
The cloud engineer is generally not an entry-level position. Most cloud engineers work as software engineers or IT managers before crossing over. Recent graduates can sometimes get a job as a junior engineer under an experienced cloud engineer.
Becoming a cloud engineer involves gaining the required skills and experience through college, graduate certificates, certifications, bootcamp, or work.
1. Earn a bachelor’s degree in computer science or computer science.
To work as a cloud engineer, you typically need an information technology degree at the bachelor’s level. A computer science degree can also make your resume attractive, with its broad scope and emphasis on theory. Some common majors, usually available both online and in person, held by cloud engineers include:
Many cloud engineers back up their bachelor’s degree with a graduate certificate in cloud computing/engineering.
However, not all employers require a degree. Passing a coding bootcamp and demonstrating your skills in a technical interview may be enough to land a job.
2. Learn to code through coding bootcamps, your degree, and/or self-study.
A career as a cloud engineer typically requires a working knowledge of at least one programming language. Cloud engineers should consider learning:
Proficiency in multiple computer languages is a smart choice, as it makes you more versatile and attractive to employers. Fortunately, Python, PHP, and Ruby are some of the easiest programming languages to learn.
You can learn to code in different ways. Your bachelor’s degree in computer science/computing will likely have required courses in Java, C++ or Python. Coding bootcamps offer another route. Most coding bootcamps last 3-6 months and cost between $5,000 and $30,000.
You can also learn to code independently through resources like free online courses. and websites for practicing programming problems.
3. Obtain relevant certifications.
Professional certifications are essential to a career as a cloud engineer, as they showcase your skills with commonly used vendors. Popular certifications that may come in handy include:
- AWS certifications including Cloud Practitioner, Solutions Architect, Developer, SAP on AWS and SysOps Administrator at various levels
- Google Cloud Platform certifications, including Professional Cloud Architect, Professional Cloud Developer, and Professional Cloud Security Engineer
- Microsoft certifications, including Microsoft Certified: Azure Developer Associate and Microsoft Certified: Azure Fundamentals
You can also obtain cloud computing certifications from independent vendors such as EXIN and CompTIA.
4. Gain relevant experience in the technology industry.
Experience is another important factor in advancing a career as a cloud engineer. Many skills that a successful cloud engineer needs, especially managerial skills, cannot be learned in the classroom. They must be developed in the workplace.
You can gain experience by pursuing a technology internship. Your best bet is with big tech companies like Microsoft, Amazon, Meta, or Intel. If your internship is successful, you could receive a job offer with job security and competitive benefits.
5. Create your resume and apply for cloud engineering roles.
Now is the time to create a winning resume. When writing your resume for a cloud engineer position, pay particular attention to the following technical skills:
- Programming languages
- Cloud service providers (i.e. Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, etc.)
- Other areas of specialization, such as cybersecurity or software engineering
Emphasize internships, jobs, and academic or personal projects related to computer science, software engineering, and data science when discussing experience.
You can expect investigators to ask you what troubleshooting processes or collaborative methods you used to resolve cloud integration and security/access issues. Prepare in advance to collect your thoughts.
In addition to a typical behavioral interview, train for a technical interview where you may be asked to code or troubleshoot an issue in real time. Know your toolbox inside out.
This article has been reviewed by Sierra Gawlowski, PE
Sierra Gawlowski, PE, earned her bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and is a licensed professional engineer in Washington State. She has worked for a private consulting engineering company as well as for public bodies. Sierra enjoys mentoring engineering students and junior staff. She also leads a project team for Engineers Without Borders and currently sits on the board of Kilowatts for Humanity.
Gawlowski is a paid member of the Red Ventures Education Integrity Network.
Last revised April 21, 2022.