How to Become
a Cloud Architect
Best Education Tracks, Key Skills, and Top Certifications
It takes years of relevant experience and practice to become a good cloud architect. Successful cloud architects are people who have an in-depth understanding of a cloud’s inner workings.
Building cloud architecture is a fine balance of art and deep technical knowledge. The best cloud architect is somebody who has delved into the nuances of cloud technology in order to deliver a solution that meets the needs of the big picture. In this instance, that bigger picture is the network and the data storage attached to that network.
The best cloud architect career tracks can help you obtain the practical experience to understand these details. Read our guide to find out more about how to become a cloud architect.
What Is a Cloud Architect?
A cloud architect is an IT specialist responsible for developing a company’s computing strategy. This includes determining the right server and database and ensuring the agility of the systems. You will develop cloud adoption plans and cloud application designs. Cloud management and monitoring also fall under these responsibilities.
What Type of School Should You Attend
to Become a Cloud Architect?
To begin your pathway to becoming a cloud architect, you need to attend a school with an information technology department and accredited programs. When choosing a course, bootcamp, or degree program, the certificate or qualification you can earn is important. However, your focus should be on maximizing what that course has to offer.
Best Cloud Architect Education Tracks
If you want to become a cloud architect, you will need some level of education. Although this is an experience-based position, you will most likely need a degree to start in the tech industry. Read below to learn more about the best ways to learn cloud architecture.
Community colleges offer Associate Degrees in Computer Science that can set you on the right path. Typically, an associate degree takes two years. Community college is a popular choice if you’re just starting out or if you want to reskill. A compelling feature of community college courses is that your credits can be transferred to a bachelor’s.
Cloud Architect Degrees
If you want to pursue a degree in cloud architecture, the most relevant would be a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. This degree opens you up to several other career paths. A bachelor’s is a great foundation where you can learn the basics and specialize in cloud computing after. You can also get a master’s degree later on.
Cloud Architect Bootcamps
Your standard cloud computing bootcamp will teach you everything that you need to know about cloud infrastructure. This is a great way to specialize after you get your bachelor’s degree. A bootcamp is usually faster and less expensive than a degree program. Some bootcamps only last a couple of hours, while others can last months.
Cloud Architect Courses
Most cloud architect courses are useful to people who are learning to work with the cloud for the very first time. A typical beginner’s course should allow you to walk away with a fundamental knowledge of cloud computing. You can find cloud computing courses on platforms like Udemy and edX.
How to Become a Cloud Architect: A Step-by-Step Guide
Deciding on which pathway to pursue will largely depend on the cloud service in question. However, there are a few common steps you need to take to become a cloud architect.
Start learning programming languages
These include programming languages like Python, Java, Perl, and C#, all of which will help you learn cloud infrastructure and other applications. You can learn these languages at a bootcamp or with an online course.
Obtain a bachelor’s degree
There is some debate on whether a degree is actually necessary for this field because shorter courses can give you skills. However, a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science or Information Systems will be helpful in the long run.
In this field of study, the best way to learn anything is through making mistakes and learning from those errors. That can only be achieved through practical experience gained from something like an internship program. You can also work on your own personal projects.
Many employers and potential clients prefer cloud architects who have some form of certification. Certifications can prove that you have the right skills to do the job. This will make you more employable. The Google Certified Professional Cloud Architect certification is one of the best.
Apply for jobs in the field
Once you have the right skills and certifications, you can apply for a job as a cloud architect. Read below to learn more about the best ways to enter this field.
Key Cloud Architect Skills
The skills required for a cloud architect are highly specialized. That is because they carry a tremendous weight of responsibility. You need to have the capacity to build and manage a streamlined product without compromising security. The skills below can help you succeed as a cloud architect.
Ideally, you should have a good working knowledge of all operating systems. However, the demand for cloud architects with skills in Linux is particularly high in 2021. Linux is useful because it brings in features like easy customization and security. It is adopted by a number of cloud platforms.
Maintaining adequate preventive measures has become a more important skill than ever. Cloud users need to know that the data and systems they are using are safe. Therefore, cloud architects are expected to track the current state of the security on their networks, while tracing and responding to unexpected events.
A cloud architect must design methods to ensure that the cloud network is responsive to user demands. Achieving this will involve building automatic adjustment procedures. You need to know how to maintain individual servers and then start thinking about fleets of servers.
Cloud Architect Salary and Job Outlook
According to PayScale, the average annual salary of a cloud architect is $128,418. Entry-level cloud architects can expect to earn $80,000 per year. If you find yourself at the top end of the industry, you will be rewarded with up to $167,000 per year.
Most companies use the cloud in one form or the other, which highlights just how high the demand is for cloud architects. Provided you attain the right skills and adopt the correct attitude, there will be vast work opportunities for you in 2021 and beyond.
Entry-Level Cloud Architect Job Requirements
Cloud architects just entering the job market are expected to have a working knowledge of SQL, which is a prerequisite for data manipulation and processing. Entry-level cloud architects should also have a working knowledge of Python, which you need to use to create, analyze, and organize significant amounts of data.
When entering the job market, you should also have some hands-on knowledge of XML with Java programming. If you are an Azure developer, it will also be useful to have a working knowledge of .NET, which is a must-have framework in this field.
A cloud architect working at this level is also expected to have a foundational knowledge of data storage and the cloud. That would include knowledge of infrastructure, hardware, storage buckets, and capacity planning.
What Does a Cloud Architect Do?
A cloud architect performs many different tasks in the field. Since cloud architecture is a higher-level occupation, most of these tasks are extremely important for the company. Read below to learn more about what cloud architects do.
A blueprint in cloud computing allows you to syndicate, configure, and deploy application payloads. It can also help with role assignments, policy assignments, and resource groups within the cloud. Creating blueprints is one of the most important roles of a cloud architect.
Supports Application Architecture
Application architecture includes load balancers, web servers, applications servers, and databases. While you no longer have to worry about maintaining an actual server, somebody needs to take responsibility for this traditional function, even though it has been comprehensively replaced by the cloud. In this case, that person is the cloud architect.
Coordinates within a Team
Cloud architects often work with other company leaders to plan strategies. They need to be aware of the goals of the project so it can run as smoothly as possible. As a cloud architect, you might work with cloud engineers or other information technology workers in the company.
Cloud Architect Certifications
Cloud certifications are not compulsory, but people who have them are likely to stand out in the job market. The vast majority of IT employers want people who have certifications because they believe these candidates are most likely to add value to a company.
Google Certified Professional Cloud Architect
This is a certification offered by the makers of Google Cloud. When you sit this professional cloud architect exam, you will demonstrate your knowledge of cloud solution architecture, security, and compliance on the Google Cloud platform. You will also learn technical and business analysis. You will pay $200 to take the exam.
Certified Solutions Architect
This is a certification offered by Amazon Web Services (AWS). Completing this certification exam proves that you have a working knowledge of architectural design principles and customer service. With Amazon, you can take a practice exam for $20 to establish your knowledge gaps. The cost of the official exam will be $150.
This is a Microsoft certification. This certification is evidence that you have a working knowledge of cloud concepts and technology concepts, as well as how networking and data storage works. All of this will naturally be geared towards those who are familiar with, and reliant on, Microsoft Azure.
How to Prepare for Your Cloud Architect Job Interview
When potential employers consider your candidacy for the job, they will try to establish your flexibility and attitude. The cloud is constantly evolving, and you will need to evolve with it.
Cloud architects working at all levels need to demonstrate some form of leadership, strong business acumen, and sound communication skills. These are all things that you can expect to be asked about in your interview. Read below for practice questions that can help you ace your job interview.
Cloud Architect Job Interview Practice Questions
- What are some of the differences between cloud technologies and on-premise computing?
- Can you explain how cloud computing can help with the reliability and availability of IT resources?
- Who are the main cloud service providers, and which ones have you worked with?
- How are data centers deployed or transitioned to the cloud?
- What are the steps used and designed to deploy cloud architecture?
How Long Does It Take to Become a Cloud Architect?
It can take around five years to become a cloud architect. First, you should get a bachelor’s degree, which takes about four years. Then you should get a professional certification. Your learning will take place in stages, and you will be constantly learning. You also might have to work for a few years in an entry-level job before you can move into cloud architecture.
Should You Become a Cloud Architect in 2021?
Yes, you should become a cloud architect in 2021. The cloud is in great demand because most companies have become reliant on storage and processing. Cloud storage is more streamlined, scalable, and dynamic than traditional servers. If you want to become a cloud architect, now is the best time to do so.
Cloud Architect FAQ
Why should I get certified as a cloud architect?
You should get certified because the majority of employers consider certifications as part of the hiring process. In the tech industry, this is a way to distinguish yourself from the competition.
What skills do I need to become a successful cloud architect?
To succeed in this field, you need a highly specialized technical and software background. You will need to understand scripting, programming languages, and more.
Is cloud architecture a good career choice?
Yes, it is a good career choice. Cloud architects are in high demand, so there is a great way to enter the job market. In addition, the best cloud architects get paid a competitive salary.
Does a cloud architect need to know how to code?
The simple answer to this question is no. However, knowledge of coding will help you learn cloud computing and get a better job in the field.