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Building a Career in Cloud Computing.

By: James Cummings

In basic terms ‘cloud’ refers to the internet and cloud computing simply means hosting or sharing computing services over the internet. These computing services include sharing servers, network, storage, databases and so on.

Cloud computing might have been around for a little over a decade, but the benefits abound. Many of us enjoy one form of cloud computing or the other in our daily activities- movie streaming, cloud document storage, among many others.

Cloud computing has eased many aspects of human life, and it has provided excellent business solutions such as virtual machines, applications, storage.

Cloud computing has a lot of advantages allowing flexibility, a reduction in manpower among a host of other benefits.

Companies that offer these solutions are called cloud providers.

Cloud providers may provide IaaS services, i.e. infrastructure as a service like Umbrellar Cloud does for businesses in New Zealand. IaaS providers offer infrastructure such as virtual servers and cloud storage services that can be customised to fit the computing needs of any organisation.

There are also PaaS providers that are those that offer a platform as a service. Users take advantage of an already made platform to host development tools used for general software development. A PaaS provider you probably know is Google. Through their Google App Engine developers can develop software and can also be hosted on their platform.

The third aspect is the SaaS which is simply software as a service. This model delivers software applications over the internet. SaaS applications and services may be accessed from any device provided there is internet service. Google Doc, Microsoft Office 365 are SaaS offerings for productivity software and email services. Users can access SaaS applications and services from any location using a computer or mobile device provided there is internet access.

Why a Career in Cloud Computing

If you are still wondering whether choosing a career path in cloud computing is viable, you should consider the growth and expansion the industry has experienced since it became popular. So many businesses are embracing this technology making experts in this field highly sought after. According to Forbes, there are 18,239,258 cloud computing jobs, with 40.8% in China. About 3.9 million jobs in the U.S. are linked to cloud computing, and about 10% of that number is IT related.

A career in this field is also financially rewarding. As at 2014, the median salary for IT jobs associated with cloud computing in the United States was around $90,950 according to Wanted Analytics

Career Opportunities in Cloud Computing

There are two broad aspects of cloud computing. There is the element that requires core knowledge of specific cloud skills while there is the other aspect that does not necessarily need you to have such a core skill but to know about cloud architectures.

Companies have different needs where your expertise as someone with cloud computing skills may be required.

Some companies require you to have specific knowledge of particular cloud providers such as Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud Platform or the Amazon Web Service. Equally in demand is knowledge in container clustering technology such as Docker Swarm’s systems and Google’s Kubernetes.Knowing how to use Linux is also fast catching on, and it may be a requirement. You should also consider getting familiar with DevOp.

All these are to make certain you are relevant in a field that is becoming competitive. However as a beginner, you do not need to understand every aspect, many people learn on the job.

Your services may be required by companies that are cloud service providers. You may also function within an organisation that is migrating to cloud, or you may have to provide cloud support for an organisation that is already using cloud or going through cloud migration.

ComputerWorld compiled a list of the most lucrative cloud computing jobs, and they include; Cloud software engineer, cloud architect, cloud sales which is selling cloud services, cloud engineer, cloud services developer, cloud systems administrator, cloud consultant, cloud systems engineer, cloud network engineer, cloud product manager. Being a cloud architect is also a great career path.

Career Requirements

Building a successful career in cloud computing doesn’t entail so much. A background in computer science or computer engineering is a good place to start, but even those with qualifications in other disciplines that possess the right certification may qualify.

To be qualified for most of the cloud computing jobs,a basic knowledge of cloud architecture is required.

  • Acquaint yourself with the basics. If you are disciplined enough, you can search through Google to find books and literature on cloud computing and diligently study them. There are a lot of online training programmes and course on cloud computing, search for them and apply, or you may also enrol for online courses on platforms like Cousera or Edx.

However, the popularity in cloud-related jobs in recent times has given rise to different cloud certification programmes. It may be a requirement for you to have appropriate certificates to be considered for a role you applied for, so you should look into getting certified in one or more of the major certifications.

The major ones include;

AWS Certification

Google Cloud Platform Cloud Academy

Microsoft Azure Certifications

IBM Certified Solution Advisor -- Cloud Computing Architecture

IBM Certified Solution Architect -- Cloud Computing Infrastructure

VMware Certified Professional (VCP)

Certified Cloud Professional (CCP)

You should note that most of these certification programmes are focused on individual technology provider products, but the good thing is that you will acquire the basic knowledge of cloud computing architectures while taking any of these courses.

These certifications will look good on your resume, and you may be able to manipulate your knowledge of one of the programmes in dealing with issues arising with the others.

  • To be honest, nothing beats hands on experience. You need to put all you have learnt into action. Learn from your mistakes; do not relent until you get excellent at it. Knowledge acquired from the classroom doesn’t bring much to the table, practice, practice, practice.
  • Stay motivated. While the money is a good reason to start, your passion is the fuel you require to keep you going. This is especially needed if you are taking online courses and trying to understand the workings on your own.It may get tiring in the middle but keep up, a good number of IT professionals confess to learning on the job and also teaching themselves.
  • Do not be wary of learning. To stay relevant in this field, you have to keep yourself up to date with any new trend. The industry is very fast paced so you need to have a passion for learning to keep up. It may be tempting to stay in your comfort zone as an expert on a particular cloud provider programme e.g., a Google Cloud Platform expert or an AWS expert, but even that evolves staying hungry for knowledge.

 

To build a good career requires deliberate effort from whoever chooses it. Persistence and dedication are essential in the construction of a solid career. To get an idea about jobs in tech take a look through our job listings.