How to Become
a Cloud Architect
Education Pathways, Skills, and Certifications
Organizations and businesses nowadays rely on cloud services to store data and make it accessible anywhere. Cloud architects are the ones who maintain cloud systems and keep them secure. In this comprehensive guide, you will find out how to become a cloud architect.
Becoming a cloud architect requires you to learn cloud computing and master various technical skills. Picking the right education pathway will be a big help. Fortunately, there are plenty of learning options to choose from.
What Is a Cloud Architect?
A cloud architect is responsible for an organization’s cloud computing plans and strategies. Cloud architects design the cloud, manage data on the cloud, and ensure that the cloud is well protected. They are considered information technology specialists and they often share skills with software developers and network architects.
A cloud can be made for public or private use. Either way, the cloud architect has to make sure that members of the organization can access its data from anywhere. The goal is to make processes easier for businesses, so a cloud architect must be solutions-oriented.
What Does a Cloud Architect Do?
Cloud architects make sure that the organization has reliable cloud servers and systems to use. You will be expected to continuously provide cloud solutions to meet the requirements of the organization. Below are some of the responsibilities of a cloud architect.
Creates Cloud Solutions
Different organizations have specific requirements and needs and you need to be able to translate these needs into reliable cloud structures. You also need to be able to improvise and suggest new innovations for your company.
Maintains, Monitors, and Manages the Cloud
Your work does not end when you create the cloud for your client. It will take a while for the company to be fully integrated into the system, so you need to help with the transition. You could also be working full-time to continuously maintain and monitor the cloud.
As a cloud architect, you are tasked to manage the cloud structure and the incoming and outgoing streams of data. This is to ensure that the cloud is operating efficiently and space is being used to its full potential.
Oversees Cloud Security
Cloud architects are also responsible for ensuring that the cloud is secure. If you can’t confidently secure the data, it could cause problems for your company. Security threats are everywhere and protecting against them requires constant vigilance and implementing defense mechanisms as appropriate.
Cloud Architect Education Pathways
To work as a cloud architect, you need to enroll in classes or courses to acquire the necessary skills. Most organizations require a bachelor’s degree but there are other ways to get the knowledge you need.
Cloud Architecture Degrees
Organizations and companies expect cloud architects to have a bachelor’s degree. A Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science is usually sufficient, as it covers the necessary skills and knowledge related to computing. During a four-year course at a university, you deal with case studies and participate in hands-on lab sessions to build practical skills.
If you don’t want to dive straight into a bachelor’s degree program, you can enroll in an associate degree program at a community college first. And after you complete your bachelor’s, you can enhance your worth even more by earning a Master’s Degree in Computer Science or a Ph.D.
Cloud Architecture Bootcamps
Bootcamps are a great alternative to traditional degrees. Bachelor’s degrees are broad and cover major topics, while a boot camp program is more specific. There are several online boot camps that can boost your resume and teach you advanced skills in a short period of time.
Various bootcamps partner with reputable tech companies that work with cloud infrastructures. Bootcamps like Divergence Academy and DigitalCrafts offer cloud architect programs. In as little as 12 weeks, you will learn the ins and outs of Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, or Google Cloud.
Cloud Architecture Courses
If you do not want to commit to a bootcamp, there are online courses available that require less commitment. They are essential in preparing you to pass cloud certification exams.
There are also related courses outside the scope of cloud architecture, which can still benefit your career. Short courses on coding, information technology, and network systems are available online through platforms like Coursera, Udemy, and Udacity.
How to Become a Cloud Architect A Step-by-Step Guide
To score a job as a cloud architect, you need some formal education along with mastery of specific technical skills. Earning a professional certification goes a long way in improving your chances of getting hired. Below is a step-by-step guide to follow.
Earn a bachelor’s degree
To master the skills you need to become a successful cloud architect, you need to have a bachelor’s degree. Make sure you earn a degree in a relevant field, such as computer science.
Consider enrolling in a bootcamp or taking a short course
Bootcamp programs and short courses for cloud architecture are readily available. If there are any gaps in your bachelor’s education, a bootcamp can fill them with job-ready skills.
Acquire a professional certification
A certification is concrete proof that you are a competent cloud architect. Once you pass the exam, you will have shown that you have the expertise to handle projects and navigate complicated situations.
Get on-the-job experience
An internship provides you with an opportunity to hone your skills, assist senior professionals on projects, and get a sense of what it is like to work in the real world.
Look for a job with a competitive company
During your job hunt, make sure to look for companies that will help you grow as a cloud architect. Apply for tech companies and surround yourself with professionals who will help you grow in the industry.
Top Cloud Architect Skills
To work as a cloud architect, you must possess advanced cloud computing skills. Below are the top three skills that you need to have and must continually refresh.
Operating System Expertise
You must have in-depth knowledge of at least one operating system. Understanding Windows, Linux, Solaris, Ubuntu, or Unix will guarantee that you can create a compatible cloud.
Knowledge of Computer Networks
Understanding networks involves familiarizing yourself with specific Internet-related elements. You need to be knowledgeable in HTTPS, DNS, and TCP/IP. You need to have a broad understanding of the entire network to do your job correctly.
Multiple Programming Languages
Cloud Architect Salary and Job Outlook
According to ZipRecruiter, the average cloud architect earns $153,318 per year, and most cloud architects make annual salaries of between $112,000 and $199,000. Your salary is likely to increase as you gain more skills and experience.
Currently, there are no specific job outlook statistics for cloud architects. However, they can be classified together with computer network architects. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of jobs for computer network architects is expected to increase by five percent between 2019 and 2029.
Entry-Level Cloud Architect Job Requirements
At the very least, you need to have a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science or a related field and possess competitive tech skills. Competition is fierce, so meeting a company’s requirements and expectations helps your application tremendously.
According to ZipRecruiter, the average entry-level cloud architect makes $82,224 per year. Most of the highest-paying companies are located in New York or California. The common job titles related to cloud architect are cloud data architect, cloud security architect, and Azure cloud architect.
How to Prepare for Your Cloud Architect Job Interview
Your interview for a cloud architect job is likely to revolve around technical aspects. You need to demonstrate that you are knowledgeable and capable of handling the job. Below are some of the questions you might be asked.
Cloud Architect Job Interview Practice Questions
- What operating systems have you had the chance to work with?
- How would you set up a security or protection measure against an injection attack?
- What is your strategy for migrating applications and data to the cloud?
- Cite a specific project that you have worked on. How would you assess your performance?
Cloud Architect Certifications
Getting certified is one way to establish your credibility as a cloud architect and there are several professional certifications you can obtain from tech companies. The main three tech companies offering professional cloud architect certifications are Google, Amazon Web Services, and Microsoft Azure.
You get the certification by passing an exam. You have the option to take the exam right away or participate in training first. Below are three of the most popular options.
Professional Cloud Architect | Google Cloud
A professional cloud architect certification is offered by Google. A Google Certified Professional Cloud Architect has full knowledge of the Google Cloud Platform. The certification exam takes about two hours to finish and is composed of multiple choice questions.
The Google Cloud certification exam will assess your ability to design, create, and manage cloud infrastructure. It also covers other related skills that you need, such as security, analyzing issues and providing solutions, and ensuring reliable performance.
Certified Solutions Architect | AWS
This examination by Amazon Web Services is intended for those who already have one or more years of experience as a cloud architect. The exam takes about 130 minutes to complete and is composed of 65 questions, a mix of multiple choice and multiple response.
This certification validates the test taker’s ability to create a secure application for AWS cloud technologies. It also demonstrates your knowledge of best practices for organizing and following through with a cloud project.
Solutions Architect Expert | Microsoft Azure
There are two exams that you are required to pass if you want to earn the Azure Solutions Architect Expert certification. Obtaining this certification means that you are an expert in designing and creating solutions for cloud computing using Microsoft Azure.
The first exam, Microsoft Azure Architect Technologies, is all about various technical tasks related to Azure, such as managing the cloud structure, providing security solutions, and more. The other exam, Microsoft Azure Architect Design, deals with designing security, data storage, infrastructure, and business continuity.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Cloud Architect?
Following the typical path, it would take about four to five years to become a cloud architect. Some professional certifications require you to have at least one year of experience before taking the exam. Right after graduation, you can proceed to look for an internship or an entry-level job.
Your journey to becoming a cloud architect involves acquiring the necessary skills and knowledge to work with cloud computing. Aside from completing a degree or getting certified, you can continue learning through bootcamps or short courses.
Why You Should Become a Cloud Architect in 2021
Many organizations are moving towards cloud computing. As long as companies are making the switch, cloud architects will remain in high demand.
The job outlook for network architects, and by extension cloud architects, is positive. If you like designing and managing cloud technology and overseeing databases, then you should consider becoming a cloud architect. The impressive salaries are the icing on the cake.
Cloud Architect FAQ
A cloud architect designs, manages, and monitors an organization’s cloud technology. You are expected to ensure that cloud servers are functioning well and are accessible to users. You are also responsible for securing the cloud.
You need to have at least a bachelor’s degree to become a cloud architect. The most common degree to earn is in computer science. Once you graduate and acquire enough experience, you can get certified in Google, Amazon Web Services, or Microsoft Azure. There are also bootcamps and short courses available to hone your skills.
To become a cloud architect, you need to have an understanding of at least one operating system, such as Windows, Linux, or Ubuntu. It is imperative that you know how to code with multiple programming languages, especially SQL for database management. Finally, you need to be solutions-oriented as you will be dealing a lot with client requests and concerns.
According to ZipRecruiter, an entry-level cloud architect earns an average salary of $82,224, whereas an experienced cloud architect earns an average of $153,318 per year. With enough skills and experience, you could end up earning over $200,000 per year.