Cloud architects design, build, and manage an organization’s cloud computing infrastructure and services. Their job involves defining the organization’s cloud strategy, selecting the appropriate cloud services, and ensuring the infrastructure meets its business and technical requirements.
Additionally, cloud architects oversee the deployment, configuration, and management of cloud-based systems and applications, as well as monitor and optimize the performance of cloud systems. They also collaborate with other teams, such as security and network teams, to conduct the seamless integration of cloud services into the overall IT environment.
If you want to pursue a career in cloud architecture, this article will help you understand the role of a cloud architect and how to become one.
What Does a Cloud Architect Do?
A cloud architect ensures that the company’s cloud infrastructure is safe, effective, and aligned with its strategic aims.
The primary responsibilities of a cloud architect are:
- Cloud architects ensure that cloud-based applications and systems are configured and function appropriately after deployment.
- They research and select the most suitable cloud service providers for their company.
- They design the cloud infrastructure, including networks, servers, storage, and security systems, ensuring that it meets the organization’s requirements.
- Cloud architects ensure that the organization gets the best value for its cloud computing investments by optimizing costs and maximizing efficiency.
- They also manage the risks associated with cloud computing, such as security and privacy risks, and ensure that appropriate measures are in place to mitigate them.
- Cloud architects collaborate with management to define the company’s cloud computing vision and develop a strategy to achieve it.
- They keep up with the latest developments in cloud computing and implement these innovations when necessary.
- They ensure that the cloud infrastructure and services comply with relevant regulations, such as data privacy laws.
How to Become a Cloud Architect
Cloud computing has become a critical aspect of the modern business landscape, providing organizations with the ability to store and access data remotely. As a result, there is a demand for individuals with the skills. So if you are interested in pursuing a career as a cloud architect, these are the necessary steps you need to take.
- Earn a degree in computer science: If you’re interested in pursuing a position as a cloud architect, a solid understanding of computer science and IT concepts is essential for your career. You can obtain this knowledge through a degree in computer science, IT, or a related field.
- Network with other professionals: Build a solid network of contacts in the industry to facilitate professional growth and advancement opportunities. You can achieve this by attending industry events, reading industry publications, and participating in online communities.
- Get on-the-job experience: Getting real-world experience as a cloud architect will help you become more skilled in the role and provide you with deeper insight into the industry. You can start in an entry-level position and get acquainted with the industry and other experts in the field.
- Further your education: Consider pursuing graduate degrees or certifications in cloud computing or related fields to further your knowledge and expertise.
- Gain hands-on experience with cloud computing: Get hands-on experience with cloud computing technologies, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, or Google Cloud Platform (GCP). You can do this through internships or personal projects.
Common Qualifications to Be a Cloud Architect
To become a cloud architect, you’ll need to acquire a particular set of skills, an appropriate education, and relevant professional experience.
- Technical understanding: Familiarity with cloud computing technologies and cloud deployment models, and various cloud service providers (e.g., AWS, Azure, Google Cloud).
- Project management: Ability to manage cloud projects, including defining project scope, timeline, and budget.
- Networking and security: Knowledge of networking concepts and security best practices to optimize the protection of cloud infrastructure and data.
- Business insight: Understanding of business requirements and ability to align cloud solutions with business objectives.
- Strong communication and interpersonal skills: Ability to communicate complex technical concepts in simple terms to stakeholders and work effectively in a team.
A cloud architect should have at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science, engineering, or mathematics. In some cases, a master’s degree may be recommended or required.
You should also possess two or more of the following certifications to have an edge over others in the market:
- Google Professional Cloud Architect: Demonstrates understanding of cloud security, compliance, and architectural optimization and ability to plan, develop, manage, and deliver cloud infrastructure. The certificate course tests you using real-world scenarios.
- AWS Certified Solutions Architect: Validates your proficiency in AWS deployment and management services and knowledge of AWS infrastructure and application control.
- IBM Certified Professional Architect: Validates your proficiency in IBM cloud architecture, service management, and security.
- Arcitura Certified Cloud Architect: Verifies your proficiency in managing cloud platforms and your ability to use the skills in real-world scenarios.
- A cloud architect must have experience migrating applications and data to the cloud and managing cloud environments.
- Practical experience with cloud management and monitoring tools, such as AWS CloudWatch and Azure Monitor, is also required.
- A cloud architect must have experience with databases, including relational databases (MySQL, Oracle) and NoSQL databases (MongoDB, Cassandra).
- Knowledge of various cloud architecture patterns and design principles.
- Good understanding of software development and DevOps processes.
Licensing and Physical Requirements
There is no specific physical or licensing requirement to be a cloud architect. Depending on the particular role, you might work in various environments, including office settings, data centers, and remotely.
Core Responsibilities of Cloud Architects
Cloud architects enable companies to benefit from the scalability, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness of cloud computing.
The core responsibilities of a cloud architect include the following:
- Collaborate with IT security to keep company data secure in the cloud and fix any possible issues.
- Provide prompt, expert assistance with any technical problems.
- Guide cloud migration strategies.
- Select appropriate cloud services to meet business requirements.
- Manage relationships with cloud service providers.
- Ensure security, scalability, and high availability of the cloud environment.
- Optimize costs of cloud resources.
What is the Average Cloud Architect Salary?
According to Glassdoor, cloud architects in the United States earn an average salary of about $124,414 annually. This does not include cash bonuses, commissions, tips, and profit sharing.
Cloud Architects can make up to $175,000 or more annually in cities like San Francisco and New York City. It’s also important to note that cloud architect salaries can vary based on the company in which they’re employed, with larger companies and tech firms often offering higher pay.
Generally, the average salary for entry, mid, and senior-level cloud architects is as follows:
- Entry-level: $95,691
- Mid-level: $100,322–$111,941
- Senior-level: $122,238–$135,309
Top Cloud Architecture Certifications
The certification you choose may depend on the cloud services and technologies you use or plan to use in your organization.
However, these are the top certifications highly valued in the industry:
- Google Professional Cloud (GPC) architect: To get this certification, candidates must demonstrate their ability to use GPC in the design and development of cloud-based systems, as well as in their management, scaling, and security, all while maintaining compliance.
- IBM Certified Professional Architect: You’ll need to show in-depth knowledge of the architecture and functioning of IBM’s cloud environment. You should also be familiar with best practices in the sector and be efficient at building custom solutions.
- Microsoft Certified Azure Solutions Architect (Expert): This certification checks your knowledge of the Azure cloud platform and your ability to build cloud architecture, virtualization, security, and business continuity. To take this certification course, you should have gained a high level of expertise in Azure cloud enterprise architecture.
- Associate AWS Certified Solutions Architect (Professional): You must have at least two or more years of experience designing AWS systems and the knowledge and skills to develop and deploy scalable, secure applications in the cloud to take this certification.
- Arcitura Certified Cloud Architect: This certification shows that you understand the internal dynamics of cloud platforms and have mastered their design ideas, engineering techniques, and practical implementation.
- Associate AWS Certified Developer: This is a test of your knowledge of programming languages, AWS core services and best practices, and the development of serverless applications. To get this certificate, you must have worked with Amazon’s cloud for at least a year as a developer and system administrator.
Should You Start a Career in Cloud Architecture?
Starting a career in Cloud architecture depends on your interests, skills, and the demand for cloud architects in your area. If you enjoy designing and building complex systems, have a strong background in software development or IT, and there is a demand for cloud architects in your region, then a career in cloud architecture might be a good fit for you.
Here are some perks you might enjoy as a cloud architect.
- High demand and job security: Cloud computing is a thriving sector, and cloud architects are in great demand, providing strong job security in the often volatile tech space.
- High salary: Cloud architects often draw a high salary due to the specialized and in-demand nature of the role.
- Opportunities for career advancement: As the cloud computing industry grows, so do the opportunities for career advancement for cloud architects.
- Remote work: Many cloud architecture roles allow for remote work, providing more flexibility and better work-life balance.
- Integration of technology: Cloud architects work with the latest technology, staying up-to-date with the newest advancements in the field.
Related Positions to Consider
Cloud computing is an evolving field that offers several career opportunities for professionals with different skill sets, and the demand for cloud computing has increased dramatically in recent years.
If you wish to pursue other careers in cloud computing aside from cloud architecture, here are some of the related positions to consider:
- Cloud System Administrator
- Data Engineer
- Cloud Engineer
- DevOps Cloud Engineer
- Cloud Security Engineer
- Full Stack Developer
Bottom Line: Becoming a Cloud Architect
Cloud architects design, build, and manage an organization’s cloud computing infrastructure and services. With that level of responsibility, a career in cloud architecture can be both rewarding and challenging.
Cloud architects are always in demand by companies—and as more and more organizations adopt cloud technology, the demand for professionals with these cloud computing skills is expected to grow. Therefore, with the proper education and experience, you can be well-positioned for success in this dynamic and rapidly growing field.
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