How to Become a Cloud Architect in 4 Steps (With Skills)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated October 3, 2022 | Published September 7, 2021

Updated October 3, 2022

Published September 7, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Companies often employ various information technology (IT) professionals with different specializations to ensure the IT department operates effectively. A common role in modern IT departments is a cloud architect, which is a specialized role that focuses on how a company uses the cloud. If you're interested in cloud architecture, it's useful to learn how to get started in this role. In this article, we discuss how to become a cloud architect in four steps and explore the typical job duties and skills that can help you succeed in this career.

What is a cloud architect?

A cloud architect is an IT professional who specializes in cloud technology and establishes programs and protocols to support an organization's business goals using the cloud. Most often, cloud architects complete their work in an office environment during standard business hours, although they may be on call at times. Depending on the company and its needs, a cloud architect may need to complete work after hours, including weekends, nights and holidays.

Because cloud computing rarely involves any specific hardware, like physical computers or machines, cloud architects can sometimes work a flexible schedule or complete their duties remotely. Cloud architects also work closely with other members of their IT team, including help desk professionals, quality assurance specialists, database developers and information security managers.

Read more: What Is Cloud Architecture? Virtual Data Storage and Sharing

How to become a cloud architect

Follow these steps to learn how to become a cloud architect and start your IT career:

1. Pursue a degree

Many employers expect candidates for cloud architect roles to have at least a bachelor's degree in computer science or a related field. This is because many cloud architects first work in other technology roles before learning more about and getting a job in cloud architecture. Pursuing a bachelor's or master's degree can help you understand the basics of IT, computer and cloud technology to give you a good foundation for your future career.

During your schooling, you can also take courses focusing on cloud computing and meet new people who can be part of your professional network after graduation.

Related: What Does a Cloud Engineer Do? (And How to Become One)

2. Gain the necessary skills

Training courses and programs are a great way to learn the skills employers look for in cloud architects. You can find many online training courses that allow you to learn useful cloud architecture skills at your own pace and collaborate with classmates and instructors to further develop your knowledge. Gaining both soft skills, which you can apply to any profession, and hard skills, which are technical skills specifically for your field, can help raise your chances of success finding a job as a cloud architect.

3. Get experience

Since cloud architects often start in different IT roles before becoming cloud experts, it's important to get job experience in a technology role that relates to your career goals. For example, you can gain experience through jobs in networking, cybersecurity and maintaining the code for cloud-related features to enhance your abilities and learn more about your industry. Sometimes, your employer may also fund your training or certification process to help you reach your goals and gain a higher-level cloud architect job.

Read more: 23 Careers in IT To Explore (With Duties and Salaries)

4. Receive certification

Certification in cloud technology can improve your chances of getting hired for a cloud architect position. You can pursue various types of certifications through online study programs and exams. Each of them typically focuses on the basic technology, uses and design elements of a specific piece of cloud technology.

A good certification to consider is Microsoft's Azure Solutions Architect Expert credential, which involves two exams that test different areas of your Azure knowledge and design abilities. Since Azure is a popular cloud system for many organizations, this credential allows you to impress various employers and understand how to implement and maintain Azure systems effectively.

Related: 10 Google Cloud Certifications for Career Advancement

What does a cloud architect do?

Cloud architects have a high level of responsibility in an IT department because they're an essential source of knowledge about how the cloud works and how their organization can better use this technology. With this knowledge, they manage a company's cloud database and develop new cloud-computing solutions to help an organization meet its goals and increase productivity. Some additional responsibilities include:

  • Meeting with company executives to understand the goals of an organization

  • Designing new and improving current cloud technology

  • Maintaining cloud databases, existing programs and architecture

  • Training other members of the IT team on various cloud-computing technologies

  • Writing documentation that outlines and describes procedures

  • Understanding technology trends and new practices

Related: What Does an IT Architect Do? (And How to Succeed as One)

Skills for a cloud architect

Here are some useful soft and hard skills that may help you succeed in a role as a cloud architect:

Programming

Programming skills are helpful for understanding how to create useful cloud technology tools and maintain programs and applications that allow you, your team, and your company to use the cloud more productively. It's a good idea to understand the basics of programming in at least one language, which you may learn during your education or while working in IT.

Some cloud architect job descriptions may list specific programming languages employers want you to learn, so consider checking job listings in your area to find out which languages are most important. Once you understand the most common programming languages in your area, you can take courses or practice online to improve these skills.

Adaptability

It's important to have adaptability skills in a role as a cloud architect because technology changes frequently, and you may have to meet changing requirements from stakeholders and clients. When you can adapt to changes in your work environment and daily tasks, you can more easily find new and creative ways of completing projects and help lead your team to better outcomes. To become more adaptable at work, consider trying to see different perspectives for a situation and prepare multiple solutions to any problems you have so that you can prepare fully for various circumstances.

Operating systems knowledge

Understanding operating systems is a valuable skill for cloud architects because it gives you the knowledge to choose the best operating systems for your company's cloud technologies. Computers run on different operating systems, and each system has its pros and cons, like different run speeds and compatible software programs. Some operating systems are better for different cloud projects, and your expertise in how popular systems work can help you pick the systems that run your cloud technologies smoothly and effectively.

Project management

Many cloud architects possess project management skills that help them lead their teams and keep projects on schedule while meeting stakeholder and client requirements. As a cloud expert, you may create plans for your team and teach them new cloud-computing concepts. You can also help them stay on track as they perform their work to make successful pieces of cloud technology for your company. Improve your project management skills by getting feedback from your team about how you can help them and researching each project's timeline and requirements before getting started.

Related: Essential Project Manager Technical Skills

Networks

Since cloud architects regularly create the architecture or foundation of cloud technologies, it's useful for them to know about networks and how the cloud can combine or interact with them. Networks allow software programs and web applications to access databases and communicate demands that are essential to their function. You can use these networks and features to enhance your company's usage of the cloud. Keep your skills current by learning more about cloud networking from online resources and classes to impress employers and show your skill in this area of technology.

Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is a vital area of knowledge for cloud architects to develop because it keeps data and users safe from hackers and viruses that aim to access sensitive information on the cloud. While many organizations also employ cybersecurity specialists, a skilled cloud architect can prevent data breaches by creating secure technologies and using features like firewalls to protect important information on the cloud. To get better at cybersecurity, consider meeting with cybersecurity specialists in your workplace and taking courses that outline the basics of internet and cloud safety.

Curiosity

Cloud architects who are curious may have a greater desire to learn and apply new ideas that distinguish their work from competitors. Being curious allows you to look more deeply into your work to find more effective solutions or improvements. It can also help you find opportunities in your field and in cloud technology that others might not notice. This is especially important in fields like IT, where practices are constantly changing and advancing. To be more curious, try to research new trends in cloud technology and keep updated about new innovations from competitors in your market.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions, or organizations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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