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Talal zaman abbasi
Techie

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How to Start a Career in Cloud Computing in 2024

March 25, 2024 Design
How to Start a Career in Cloud Computing in 2024

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What comes to mind when you hear the term “the Cloud”? Do you envision the vast expanse of the sky, with its billowy clouds and soaring birds?

In the realm of technology, the term “Cloud” has no relation to the atmospheric phenomena or avian inhabitants of the world. Instead, it refers to a form of computing known as Cloud Computing.

Cloud computing has become an in-demand career path within the rapidly evolving tech space. With businesses increasingly shifting their operations to the cloud, the demand for proficient cloud professionals is rising.

In this guide, I’ll give you the knowledge necessary to embark on a successful journey into the cloud. From understanding the foundational principles of cloud computing to exploring diverse career paths within the field, this guide will equip you with the tools you’ll need to thrive in the dynamic realm of cloud technology.

What Is Cloud Computing?

The IT space is broad, with four major areas: computing, database, storage, and network. These areas have resources that all connect to transmit information using various tools.

Typically, these resources are purchased and placed in a data centre, where they connect to accomplish various computing tasks. At its core, the cloud revolutionises how businesses access and manage their computing resources.

But what is cloud computing exactly?

Image representation of Cloud Computing

Cloud Computing is the on-demand delivery of IT resources over the Internet with pay-as-you-go pricing. [ Source: AWS ]

Let’s understand the key concepts in this definition:

  • On-demand: You get resources exactly when you need them.
  • Over the Internet: You don’t need to buy resources or have physical data centers. Just make a request online.
  • Pay-as-you-go: You only pay for what you use.

Cloud computing offers many benefits to organisations and businesses. These include agility, elasticity, cost savings, scalability, and more. With cloud computing, your team has more power over your data security and disaster recovery efforts.

Cloud computing represents a paradigm shift in how technology is consumed and delivered. Its transformative impact extends across industries, driving efficiency, innovation, and agility in the digital era.

Understanding cloud computing is essential for developers seeking to navigate the evolving landscape of technology and stay up to date with the latest trends.

Why is Cloud Computing a Good Career Option in 2024?

The cloud offers many benefits to businesses worldwide. It offers flexibility, scalability, and reliability, allowing a company to swiftly scale resources on-demand and adapt to dynamic market conditions.

Top companies such as Netflix, Dropbox, and Rackspace have moved into the cloud because of its great benefits, and many others are rapidly following suit. Because of this, the cloud realm is undergoing a profound transformation.

Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the shift to remote work and digital transformation, making cloud skills indispensable for businesses across industries.

This rapid adoption has created a surge in demand for cloud experts who can efficiently design, implement, and manage cloud-based systems. Companies are actively hiring cloud experts in different domains to meet their needs.

And so, delving into the cloud in 2024 is not just advantageous – it’s a strategic imperative. Starting a career in cloud computing in 2024 presents immense opportunities for growth, advancement, and job security. With the right skills and knowledge, you can embark on a rewarding journey in a field that continues to shape the global future of technology and business.

Careers in Cloud Computing

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If you’re ready to start a career in the cloud, here are a few options you can explore:

Cloud Architect

Cloud architects design and oversee the implementation of cloud-based solutions, ensuring they meet the organisation’s requirements.

  • Prerequisite Skills: Strong understanding of cloud platforms (like AWS, Azure, or Google Cloud), architecture design principles, and experience with networking and security.
  • Average Time to Acquire Skills: 3-5 years of experience in IT or related fields, along with specialised training or certification.
  • Average Salary: $120,000 – $160,000 per year.

Cloud Developer

Cloud developers specialise in creating and deploying applications optimised for cloud environments. They leverage cloud services and platforms to build scalable, resilient, cost-effective solutions.

  • Prerequisite Skills: Proficiency in programming languages (like Python, Java, or JavaScript), familiarity with cloud platforms and services, and experience with software development methodologies.
  • Average Time to Acquire Skills: 1-3 years of experience in software development, supplemented by training or certification in cloud technologies.
  • Average Salary: $100,000 – $140,000 per year.

Cloud Security Engineer

Cloud security engineers focus on safeguarding cloud-based infrastructure and applications from cyber threats and vulnerabilities.

  • Prerequisite Skills: Strong knowledge of cybersecurity principles, familiarity with cloud security best practices, and expertise in security tools and technologies.
  • Average Time to Acquire Skills: 2-4 years of experience in cybersecurity or related roles, augmented by specialised training or certification in cloud security.
  • Average Salary: $110,000 – $150,000 per year.

DevOps Engineer

DevOps engineers bridge the gap between development and operations teams. They help streamline the deployment and management of cloud-based applications through automation, collaboration, and continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD) practices.

  • Prerequisite Skills: Proficiency in scripting and automation tools (like PowerShell and Terraform), experience with containerisation and orchestration platforms (like Docker and Kubernetes), and DevOps methodologies.
  • Average Time to Acquire Skills: 2-4 years of experience in software development or system administration, complemented by training or certification in DevOps practices and cloud technologies.
  • Average Salary: $120,000 – $160,000 per year.

Cloud Data Engineer

Cloud data engineers specialise in designing, building, and maintaining data pipelines and analytics solutions in cloud environments. They leverage cloud-based technologies to ingest, process, and analyse large volumes of data.

  • Prerequisite Skills: Proficiency in data modelling and ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) processes, experience with big data technologies (like Hadoop and Spark), and familiarity with cloud data platforms (like AWS Redshift or Google BigQuery).
  • Average Time to Acquire Skills: 2-4 years of experience in data engineering or related fields, supplemented by training or certification in cloud data technologies.
  • Average Salary: $110,000 – $150,000 per year.

These career paths represent just a few of the many opportunities available in cloud computing. Each role offers unique challenges and rewards, making cloud computing a diverse and promising field for aspiring IT professionals.
You can explore the various cloud providers’ certification lists to grasp other career paths.

How to Start Your Career in the Cloud

Starting a career in the cloud may seem a bit daunting at first. But with the right strategies, you can pave a successful path in this thriving industry.

Here are some helpful strategies to get you started:

Learn the basics

The best way to start something new is to really understand the concept. Learning the basics and concepts of cloud computing is the first step to starting a career in the cloud.

You can start by taking a course that generally explains the concept of cloud computing. To understand the concept more deeply, you can also read the many articles the freeCodeCamp publication has on cloud computing.

And you can check out this free 107-hour cloud bootcamp course on the freeCodeCamp YouTube channel. It was created by Andrew Brown who has passed every cloud computing certification under the sun and helps train other devs how to do the same.

When it comes to learning the basics of cloud computing, I recommend focusing on the following skills and tools:

  1. Cloud Service Providers (CSPs): Familiarize yourself with leading CSPs such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). Each CSP offers a range of services and tools for cloud computing, and understanding their platforms is essential for practical application.
  2. Virtualization Technologies: Learn about virtual machines (VMs), containers (like Docker), and orchestration tools like Kubernetes. These technologies are fundamental to cloud infrastructure and deployment, enabling efficient resource utilisation and scalability. Here’s a free course on Docker and Kubernetes to get you started.
  3. Networking Concepts: Gain knowledge of networking fundamentals such as IP addressing, routing, VPNs, and load balancing. Understanding how networks operate in the cloud environment is crucial for designing secure, high-performance cloud architectures. Here’s a beginner-friendly networking tutorial for you.
  4. Storage Solutions: Explore cloud storage options like object storage (for example, AWS S3, Azure Blob Storage), file storage (for example, AWS EFS, Azure Files), and database services (for example, AWS RDS, Azure SQL Database). These services play a vital role in managing data effectively in the cloud. Here’s a helpful guide that explains the different types of storage options.
  5. Security Practices: Learn about cloud security best practices, identity and access management (IAM), encryption techniques, and compliance standards (like GDPR and HIPAA). Security is paramount in the cloud, and knowledge of security measures is essential for protecting cloud environments and data.
  6. Monitoring and Management Tools: Familiarize yourself with cloud monitoring and management tools such as AWS CloudWatch, Azure Monitor, and GCP Stackdriver. These tools help monitor performance, manage resources, and optimise cloud infrastructure.

Choose a Specialization

Now that you understand the concept, the next step is to specialise. Identify a niche or specialisation within cloud computing that aligns with your interests and career goals.

Specialising will set you apart from other candidates, whether it’s cloud security, DevOps, data analytics, or infrastructure management.

Here are some insights and tips to help you choose a specialisation:

Assess Your Interests and Strengths

Consider your interests, strengths, and previous experience in IT. If you enjoy working with data and analytics, consider specialising in cloud data engineering or data analytics. If you excel in problem-solving and system design, cloud architecture or solutions architecture could be a suitable specialisation.

Evaluate Your Skills

Take stock of your technical skills and knowledge. If you have a strong background in programming and development, cloud development or DevOps could be a good fit. If you are proficient in networking and security, consider specialising in cloud security or networking on the cloud.

Research Market Demand

Explore job trends and market demand for different cloud specialisations. Identify areas with high demand and growth potential.

For example, cloud security professionals are in high demand due to increasing cybersecurity threats, while cloud architects are sought after for designing scalable and resilient cloud solutions.

Seek Guidance and Mentorship

Reach out to people working in different cloud specialisations for insights and advice. Mentorship programs and networking communities can provide valuable guidance in choosing the right specialisation and advancing your cloud career.

Choose the proper certifications

Obtain industry-recognized certifications that align with your chosen path. Certifications from cloud providers like the AWS Certified Solutions Architect, Microsoft Certified: AzureAdministrator or Google Cloud Professional Cloud Architect validate your skills and enhance your credibility in the job market.

Again, Andrew Brown has created many courses to help you study for and pass these exams. You can find his course articles here.

Build your Portfolio

Build your portfolio by solving real-life problems with your cloud skills. Your cloud solutions to real-life problems are proof that you are skilled.

Cloud providers usually have hands-on projects to work on as you take their course. These courses are sometimes fun in the form of a game, for example the AWS Cloud quest and sometimes technical, for example Google cloud courses. Taking courses that have hands-on projects helps in building your portfolio.

You can also attend cloud workshops. Workshops help build your portfolio because you can work on projects and get some guidance along the way. Microsoft, Google Cloud, and AWS all offer cloud workshops and training.

Networking

Build a professional network by attending industry events, joining online forums and communities, and connecting with professionals in the field. Networking can lead to valuable mentorships, job opportunities, and insights into the industry.

Stay Updated

Stay abreast of the latest cloud computing trends, technologies, and developments. Work on upskilling yourself through continuous learning, attending workshops, and pursuing advanced certifications as you progress in your career.

Apply for Jobs

Now that you have fortified yourself with valuable skills, you can start applying for jobs.

Following the above strategies, you can acquire relevant skills, gain practical experience, and navigate the job market, setting yourself on a path to a rewarding and successful career in cloud computing.

The Time Is Now

Encouragement

As you reflect on the insights shared in this guide, think about the immense potential and opportunities awaiting in the realm of cloud computing. In 2024, the demand for skilled cloud professionals continues to surge, making it an opportune moment to embark on this transformative career path.

You can start your journey into the cloud today. By acquiring relevant skills, gaining practical experience, and staying updated with industry trends, you can position yourself for success in this dynamic and rapidly evolving field.

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