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

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published June 10, 2022

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.

The computer cloud is a global network of remote servers you can access over the internet. As companies replace onsite technologies with cloud computing platforms, many employment opportunities are available to cloud engineers. Exploring the duties and responsibilities of these technology professionals can direct you on whether to start a cloud engineering career. In this article, we answer the question, "What does a cloud engineer do?", discuss becoming one, explain in-demand skills to develop, and answer common cloud engineering questions.

What does a cloud engineer do?

Learning the answer to, "What does a cloud engineer do?" can help you decide whether to work in this role. A cloud engineer designs, develops, and implements cloud-based software and processes. They also build and maintain cloud infrastructure. For example, if a company wants to build a cloud-based bookstore, it typically requires a cloud engineer's services. Here are other duties and responsibilities of cloud engineers:

  • Troubleshooting and debugging cloud computing issues

  • Upgrading cloud-based systems to improve operations and prevent cybersecurity threats

  • Automating cloud-based functions

  • Integrating cloud-based solutions to meet clients' requests and enable communication among network users

  • Collaborating with cybersecurity and IT personnel to assess existing cloud architecture

  • Migrating existing systems data to cloud-based applications

  • Staying updated on cloud application developments

  • Providing cloud support services

  • Monitoring the accessibility of cloud services by authorized company personnel

How to become a cloud engineer

Here's the path you can follow to become a cloud engineer:

1. Earn a bachelor's degree

Completing a bachelor's degree program can help you qualify for entry-level cloud engineering positions. You can choose a computer science, computer engineering, software engineering, or information technology program to learn the basics of coding, database management, and cloud computing. A bachelor's degree in these fields typically requires four years of full-time study.

Read more: 17 Rewarding Bachelor's Degree Jobs (With Duties and Salary)

2. Gain cloud engineering experience

During your undergraduate program, you can start gaining cloud computing experiences through internships, hackathons, and cooperative programs. Doing this can help you build your expertise and create a portfolio you can show to hiring managers. If you secure a different IT role, you can job-shadow professionals in cloud computing or volunteer for tasks that involve applying cloud computing principles. Participating in open-source projects can also help you gain more experience.

3. Pursue valuable certifications

Certifications can help you build your technical skills and validate your qualifications. You can earn foundational certifications, which typically cover the basics of a specific cloud computing platform. Then, you can pursue advanced certifications that cover cloud computing aspects, such as applying security solutions. Many software corporations offer certifications in cloud engineering.

Read more: 12 Programming Certifications to Boost Your Career

4. Consider an advanced degree

A master's degree in computer science, cloud computing, information technology, or software engineering can help you advance your career. For example, you might require this credential to apply for senior cloud engineering positions. A master's degree in technology fields typically requires 18 months to two years of full-time study.

What skills do cloud engineers require?

Developing the following skills can help you succeed in cloud engineering:

Computer programming

Fulfilling your responsibilities in cloud engineering typically requires you to learn multiple programming languages. For example, creating and integrating cloud-based applications generally involves writing Python and Java programs. You can improve your programming skills by practising regularly and working on personal cloud computing projects.

Network management

Computing networking involves connecting devices, such as computers and smartphones. In cloud engineering, learning networking concepts can help you create secure, cloud-based solutions. For example, you can apply your knowledge of virtual private networks (VPNs), domain name systems (DNSs), and content delivery networks (CDNs) to integrate networks with cloud services.

Security management

Troubleshooting and managing security threats are essential skills to learn in cloud engineering. For example, you may use your security management skills to store and protect data from unauthorized access. As a technical skill, you can develop this quality by attending bootcamp training programs or through self-learning and practice.

Change management

Change management skills describe your ability to implement changes in internal and external processes. As a company changes from onsite data centres to cloud services, you can use your change management skills to support this transformation. For example, you might draft plans for migrating data, create a new network connection, and develop a contingency plan.

Teamwork

Teamwork is the ability to collaborate with others to reach a shared goal. As a cloud engineer, you often work in cloud computing teams, comprising software developers, business leaders, project managers, security specialists, and cloud architects. Becoming a better team player can help you complete your cloud computing duties efficiently.

Decision-making

Decision-making is the ability to choose among potential options. Working as a cloud engineer often requires you to be decisive. For example, internal stakeholders may ask your advice as they evaluate cloud platforms for their departments. They may also require your expertise to estimate the cost and workload of cloud services.

Read more: What Are Decision-Making Skills and How to Improve Them

Communication

Communication is the ability to exchange information with others. This skill involves writing concisely, speaking coherently, and listening actively. For example, you might use your written communication skills to develop cloud documentation. Similarly, you may use your verbal skills to communicate with a company's vendor, especially if you work in customer-driven industries, such as retail or transportation.

Read more: 7 Ways to Communicate Effectively (Plus Benefits and Tips)

FAQs about becoming a cloud engineer

Reviewing the following helpful answers and questions can further clarify a cloud engineer's role:

What is the average salary for a cloud engineer?

The national average salary for a cloud engineer is $96,555 per year. During contract discussions, you can negotiate higher pay depending on your potential contributions and value to a hiring organization. For example, if you can provide technical writing and managerial services, you may consider negotiating your cloud engineering salary.

What is the typical work environment for cloud engineers?

Cloud engineers typically work full-time roles in businesses and organizations. They spend most of their time working on technical applications and attending meetings in office settings. Aside from technology, cloud engineers may also work in industries, such as oil and gas, manufacturing, and production.

What are related careers in cloud computing?

Aside from cloud engineering, here are other cloud computing careers you can consider pursuing:

  • Cloud architect: This professional helps design cloud-based applications that businesses can use to improve their operations. The national average salary for a cloud architect is $114,487 per year.

  • Cloud developer: These professionals are software engineers who specialize in cloud computing. The national average salary for a cloud developer is $96,555 per year.

  • Cloud consultant: This professional helps companies identify and meet their cloud needs, applying cloud computing for efficient operations. The national average salary for a cloud consultant is $131,310 per year.

  • DevOps engineer: A development operations (DevOps) implements engineering tools and software development processes to create and update software programs. The national average salary for a development operations engineer is $100,552 per year.

  • Network engineer: A network engineer designs, builds, maintains, and configures network infrastructure. The national average salary for a network engineer is $78,124 per year.

  • Cybersecurity consultant: A cybersecurity consultant assesses an organization's computer systems, network, and software for threats and designs security solutions. The national average salary for a network engineer is $122,390 per year.

  • Systems engineer: A systems engineer oversees a project or system's business, managerial, and engineering aspects. The national average salary for a network engineer is $78,671 per year.

  • Full-stack developer: A full-stack developer is a software developer who builds a program's client-facing and server-based aspects. The national average salary for a network engineer is $85,996 per year.

Related: 9 IT Career Paths You May Have Never Considered

What tips can help you get a cloud engineering role?

Here are the best practices for securing the cloud engineering position you want:

  • Build your network: Your professional and personal contacts can help recommend you for unlisted cloud computing roles. Consider building your network by attending events and conferences to develop mutually beneficial relationships with individuals you meet.

  • Stay informed: Like other technology roles, updating your skills and expanding your cloud computing knowledge can help you remain competitive.

  • Prepare for coding interviews: Aside from general questions, interviews for cloud engineering positions may require you to showcase your programming skills. Preparing for interview projects and cloud engineering tasks can help ensure interview success.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at the time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on a hiring organization and a candidate's experience, academic background, and location.

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