Are you looking to ‘fly’ into a new career in the cloud?
Do you want to work with cool tech, solve interesting problems, and make good money while doing it? Well, then you’ve come to the right place!
In this post, we’ll dive into the world of Cloud Engineering and what it takes to become a Cloud Engineer. We’ll cover exactly what a Cloud Engineer does, the skills required in the role, and how to get that all-important experience you need to land a job.
So grab a cup of coffee and let’s go!
Don't feel like reading? Then check out the video below.
Or, keep reading to the answers to other related Cloud Engineer questions.
With the increasing popularity of cloud computing, there’s a ton of demand for Cloud Engineers these days.
But what exactly do Cloud Engineers do?
In short, they build and maintain infrastructure in the cloud. Servers, networks, databases – that kind of thing. This role can be fairly broad and you may wear a lot of hats. You might be doing a bit of architecture, a bit of writing code, and a bit of administering and troubleshooting things like cloud networks.
But generally speaking, your job is to keep everything running smoothly behind the scenes so that customers can access their favorite sites and applications.
A typical “day in the life of” a Cloud Engineer might include:
Cloud computing has exploded in recent years, as companies look to get more bang for their buck. By moving to the cloud, companies can achieve better performance, reliability, a global reach, and even more importantly, they can usually do all of this for less money than building their own infrastructure on-premises.
Today, the three main cloud providers are:
And while a lot of companies are already operating in the cloud, there’s still a lot of opportunity out there. According to Gartner, end-user spending in 2023 reached almost $600 billion, an increase of 20.7% from 2022.
And this demand is likely to continue for many years, which means plenty of job opportunities for you. In fact, there are currently over 93,000 Cloud Engineering jobs available on ZipRecruiter at the time of writing, and the pay is very attractive.
According to Glassdoor, the average salary for a Cloud Engineer in the U.S. is over $153,000 per year.
Pretty good right!?
By now you’re probably thinking “$150,000 a year! Gah, I bet I need a degree though and 200,000 in debt before I can start”
Actually no, not really...
While it is true that some companies will require a college degree, it’s not all of them. In fact, more and more companies are open to education through bootcamps, certifications, and vocational programs.
Here’s the thing, tech is one of those areas where some of the biggest and best people in the world are all self taught, and some even oppose the idea of people getting a college degree.
Being self taught is less of a blocker than you probably think. Especially because these days, you can learn the key elements of what's covered in a CS degree.
In fact, demand for people is so high, that the largest cloud providers have their own certification programs, to help people learn and get hired:
Now that you have a better idea of the role, let’s look at the skills you need to land a job. As noted above, this role can wear a lot of hats, so having a broad set of skills is a good thing.
At a minimum, you should have a good command of the following:
Obviously that’s a lot of skills, and will take a little time to get them all under your belt, but don't worry, I have your back.
Following a guided course is the fastest way to become a Cloud Engineer, simply because you’ll only learn what you need to know, and won't second guess yourself.
I teach two courses on Cloud Engineering:
Combined, that's a total of 23 hours of video lectures to complete, but they cover 90% of what you need to know re databases etc. (You'll be able to pass the certification exams easily).
Then, because you'll come into contact with code during work, you can add in some project work and learn some basic programming (python is a good option).
It will be different for everyone since people learn at different speeds but it's definitely possible that your total time to learn would be around 60-70 hours or so to complete.
(Assuming you complete a coding course as well up to a point where you have the basics under your belt... you don't need to be an expert coder).
60-70 hours might seem like a lot but is really not bad when you consider this is learning from scratch with zero coding or cloud experience, and by the end of it, be able to land a job making over $100,000 / year!
Anyways, now you know how long it takes, let’s walk you through the best process to learn all this.
Note: The process I’m talking about below is for learning AWS, but it could just as easily apply to any other provider.
This path will teach you all of the skills listed above.
Start off by learning how to become a certified cloud practitioner, and pass the AWS practitioner exam.
The best part about this, is that you can learn these fundamentals with no previous coding experience.
Also? This entry level role pays extremely well, with the average AWS cloud practitioner salary being around $132,000!
Not bad right?
Check out my course here and learn everything you need to pass the exam, and get hired at this step.
You can even start taking my course for free using this link.
Now that you have the fundamentals, continue to learn to become a Cloud Engineer, and learn advanced cloud technologies and methods. This will not only open up more Senior roles for you. But it can also pay a LOT more.
How much more? Well, I know we said the average was $150,000, but some companies are offering $260,000 or more for Cloud Engineers. That's a big jump up from the practitioner role, so don’t stop yet!
You can follow my course on this via the link below, learn everything you need to know, and then ace your AWS Solutions Architect exam.
Or just like Step #1, you can start taking this course for free using this link.
You’re going to need some basic, foundational knowledge in a programming language, simply because this will come up now and again during your work.
Work through a course on either of these until you feel comfortable and understand the core principles, and can write some code. Maybe even build a basic project or two, as these will help you stand out in interviews.
So you’ve completed training, maybe even earned a certification, but employers are still asking for that all-important experience.
How can you get the experience before you get the job? Well, let’s walk through some of the best methods.
One of the reasons that tech companies hire people without college degrees is that they have a thorough interview process.
This means not only answering technical questions about the role you’re going for, but they will also want to see previous project work or ask you to complete a project that allows you to demonstrate you have the necessary skills (regardless of how or where you learned them).
We cover the entire interview process in far more detail in this article here, but let me give you some further quick tips on how to ace your interview.
In addition to the technical know-how you’ve built up through education and certification, interviewers will be evaluating your soft skills.
A Cloud Engineer does a lot of troubleshooting and problem solving.
Be prepared to talk through a situation or two where you saved the day by solving a complex or business-critical problem. If you don’t have work-related examples, share stories from school or community projects.
Like any other kind of interview, it’s always good to:
So there you have it, friends! I hope you’ve found this post helpful.
Like all career moves, becoming a Cloud Engineer takes time and effort, but it’s an exciting area with lots of opportunities, especially because almost everything is moving to the cloud!
You’ll get to work on a variety of interesting problems, learn cool technologies, and get paid well while doing it, which is not bad either.
So dig into the training and certifications that I mentioned above, and get as much hands-on practice as you can using some of the tips from this post. Then, ace the interview, and enjoy your flight to the clouds!
All of the courses I’ve mentioned above, are all part of Zero To Mastery. So if you become a member, you have access to all of these courses right away and will have everything you need in one place.
Plus, as part of your membership, you'll get to join myself and 1,000s of other people (some that are alumni mentors and others who are taking the same courses that you will be) in the ZTM Discord. Ask questions, help others, or just network with other tech professionals.
Make today the day you took a chance on YOU. There's no reason why you couldn't be applying for Cloud Engineering jobs in just a few months from now if you just follow the steps I outline and put in the hard work.
So what are you waiting for? 😀 Dive into your new cloud career today!