Cloud services engineer: what is the profession, and how much can be earned
A novice cloud engineer is offered from $2,000, and if the specialist is already experienced, from $4,500 and up. We tell you what this profession is and where to learn it.
Over the past two years, the cloud market has exceeded 15 billion dollars. It is becoming expensive and inconvenient for companies to develop and maintain their own infrastructure, and in order to keep up with trends, they need to respond to changes quickly. That is why businesses started to migrate en masse to the cloud – it gives more opportunities for development. In the cloud, you can not only store and process data, but also quickly build and test a new product or add additional functionality to an existing one.
The rapidly growing demand for cloud infrastructure also affects the demand for specialists who are responsible for maintaining it. According to a job market study by one of the largest HR agencies, Robert Half, a cloud infrastructure expert is one of the most in-demand and highest-paid IT professions in several countries in 2021.
What cloud engineers do
Cloud platforms serve various web services and companies that develop their own digital products: medical clinics, universities, Internet providers, marketplaces, housing reservation services. Each service has its own tasks and requirements. And the cloud engineer must make sure that the service in the cloud works flawlessly.
Tasks are versatile, sometimes you may need to develop cloud software or migrate a ready-made solution to the cloud, sometimes just software support is enough – it all depends on the company’s requirements. But more often than not, a business is looking for a “universal soldier” who can implement software, write a script, and create a disaster recovery plan to keep the company running smoothly.
The cloud engineer also talks a lot with customers to learn their needs, with developers to discuss changes, and with colleagues to get help or experience.
What a future cloud engineer should know
You have to understand how the network, storage, fault tolerance mechanisms and single sign-on technology work. At least at a basic level.
At least – the three major ones: C++, Java and Python.
A Linux Foundation study shows that 90% of the workload in the clouds is handled by Linux. You need to understand Linux distributions such as RHEL, Centos, Ubuntu, Sles, understand how processes work.
Database skills are a must.
Configuration management systems.
You need at least a basic understanding of how configuration management systems work, like Chef or Salt.
Containers and orchestration.
You can’t do without them in the cloud. Kubernetes and Docker are the most popular.
Load balancers and reverse proxies.
Almost every web service uses them, so you have to learn how to configure, for example, Nginx and HAproxy.
The cloud engineer is responsible for the security of the service, so he must be well versed in all the nuances of PKI and SSL certificates. You need to know how SSL, TLS, TCP, FTP, SSH, HTTP(S) and DNS protocols work.
This is what concerns the technical side.
And then there are the so-called soft skills.
organization, management and communication skills, because a cloud engineer must not only know how to write code and manage the service, but also be able to quickly solve problems and be able to convince the chosen strategy.
Skills that will come in handy for the cloud engineer
Teamwork. A cloud-engineer can not exist by himself – he always works in a team. This means that it is better to ask for help and solve a problem in an hour, rather than trying to figure it out yourself and spend 10 hours on it. Or to help a colleague solve a problem, so the problem can be fixed quickly. An important point: there are no loners in a team, everyone works together.
Negotiations. You’ll have to communicate a lot with clients, discuss options and solutions, negotiate with suppliers, and coordinate with the team.
Laws. Knowing basic laws is necessary because you’ll have to deal with security, privacy, contract compliance, and more. For example, GDPR and FZ-152.
How much do cloud engineers get paid
A cloud solutions engineer is one of the top 3 most in-demand and well-paid IT jobs. In America, a beginner is willing to pay more than $120,000 per year. More experienced ones can already receive from $170,000 a year.
What the employer needs
Regardless of whether an American or Chinese company hires a candidate, the requirements are almost the same – this can be understood from the analysis of job descriptions. Here is a summary portrait of the ideal employee, according to employers. The candidate must:
- Have a higher technical education;
- Know and be able to work with the programs used in the company;
- be able to read technical texts in English;
- parse and analyze other people’s code;
- work independently;
- see problems and look for solutions;
- have leadership skills;
- be a quick learner of new technologies;
- Have a responsible attitude to the tasks.
- In addition, employers prefer to hire specialists with three or more years of experience and with proven certification.
Usually it’s a certificate from a cloud technology provider. If you want to work for a foreign company, you may need additional independent certifications from CompTIA Cloud Essentials and Cloud Security Alliance for cloud security knowledge.
When hired, you’ll likely have to go through an interview process. Questions that may be asked when you meet:
- What projects have you been involved in where you’ve implemented specific cloud solutions?
- What types of security issues have you encountered with cloud implementations? How have you solved them?
- What web development tools are you most familiar with? What do you like best and why?
- Give an example of how you worked with other members of the IT team to remove a particular obstacle.
- They may also give you a test assignment or ask you to solve a real-world problem – the recruiter will assess the logic of thinking, speed, and methods of completing the test.
How and where to get a specialty
In fact, Cloud-engineer – a specialty at the interface of technical support and system administration. It is relatively new, and there are few courses. Many developers, IT administrators and DevOps-engineers start to learn on their own, getting bumps and gaining experience in practice.
You can go to university at the department of “Information and Computer Systems” or “Computer Systems and Technologies” – the program of study includes modules on cloud technologies.
If you don’t want to study for several years, you can take a course.
Cloud technology is constantly evolving, becoming more complex, there are new projects that require non-standard solutions, so the cloud experts are increasingly in demand. And getting a new specialty is now quite easy – all you need is the desire and basic knowledge.