How do I become a Cloud Architect?

How do I become a Cloud Architect?

Cloud Architects are IT professionals who specifically help businesses seeking high-level advice and implementation of cloud-based technologies for their organization. These individuals may perform in consulting or in-house roles depending on an organization’s cloud-related needs. These needs include the surveying and implementation of available cloud technologies, as well as help migrating to the cloud. For organizations already utilizing cloud-based technologies, Cloud Architects will often integrate and improve upon existing components of cloud technology, including app or service usage analytics, as well as performance metrics including service uptime, latency, and efficiency at handling current or expanding usage levels.

To understand what cloud architects are involved in in a more tangible way, one must ask: what exactly is the “cloud?” Most internet users utilize cloud-based services daily, yet it can be hard to pin down without practical examples. First off, the cloud is a set of servers, often utilized en masse, and each performing their own function. Some servers will host an application or “deliver a service” while others will host information. Examples of consumer cloud-based technology are common, and include Google Drive, Evernote, SkyDrive, and iCloud. If you’re using a service that lets you utilize your files, information, or other assets and yet doesn’t use your computers drive to store anything, you’re using the cloud. In a business setting this frees organizations from having to buy their own hardware equipment, and enables them to scale up or down very quickly without wasting resources. In a consumer setting, the cloud often enables one to access their files from any device, rather than having to physically transfer files from one of their devices to another.

A number of programming languages and frameworks are necessary for many cloud architects:

  • Java
  • PHP
  • Python
  • Ruby
  • Perl
  • Node.js

As well as experience in one of the major cloud platform technologoies:

  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Google
  • VMWare
  • OpenStack

Salary of a Cloud Architect:
Commensurate with the importance of a talented cloud architect, as well as the range of mastery of a quality cloud architect, salaries can be high. Average salaries for cloud architects can range from $120,000-$172,000. This puts the middle of the pack cloud architect salary at $142,141 in the United States.

Cloud Architect Job Description:
Cloud architects are often expected to be thought leaders among other developer in an organization. Common job descriptions of cloud architecture positions include establishing definitions for cloud implementation, the identification and implementation of industry best practices for cloud automation and architecture, the development of hands-on prototypes, designs, and implementations of cloud solutions, as well as the evaluation and continued improvement of cloud tools. Cloud architects will be expected to recognize and help to solve broader-business problems through cloud automation and infrastructure.

What Education and Experience does a Cloud Architect Need?
Cloud architects often have extended experience in other IT or CS disciplines, as well as 5-7+ years in cloud technologies. Many positions require aptitude in one specific cloud platform technology (see the list of major cloud platform technologies above) as well as experience with other technologies/design patterns/and portions of a potential employers stack, such as CHEF, Puppet, Ansible, Dockers, Kubernetes, REST APIs. Additional, more general experience is often specified, including experience with object oriented programming, particular of-choice scripting languages, experience with a particular OS (Windows, Linux, MacOS), as well as knowledge of common protocols among other things. Most cloud architects are expected to have at least an undergraduate degree in information technology computer science, or information systems. Some particularly demanding employers may also require a masters in one of these disciplines, though many interview processes look at the breadth of applicant experience.

Resources for becoming a cloud architect:

Check out our ranking of the best online information technology bachelors degree programs.

Check out our ranking of the best online information systems bachelors degree programs.

Microsoft Cloud Architecture applications are one of the most common. Here’s their documentation hub.

Amazon Web Services is another leading provider of cloud solutions. Check out their documentation hub to get started learning.

Cloud Patterns is an educational site offering free tutorials on many of the most common design patterns for cloud-based automation and computing.