To outsiders, cloud computing sounds like something lightweight, fluffy and full of rainbows. But cloud computing is actually very deep and technical, and requires engineers to be versed in the cutting edge of technology.
If you’re an expert engineer in another discipline, you may already have many of the skills you need to succeed in the cloud. And since the cloud is still fairly new, you can set yourself apart by being able to apply what you know to learn fast on the job.
A Mix of Operations, Software and Architecture
As a cloud engineer, you need to understand the ins and outs of building and running software in the cloud. Although this role typically requires programming and scripting experience, the specific language requirements tend to be a bit more relaxed than in traditional engineering jobs.
What you need:
- AWS, Azure, OpenStack. You should be familiar with at least one of these. If you are well-versed in one stack, that knowledge will translate fairly easily to designing software for the others. Of course, that will involve a bit of learning on the job to do it well.
- Web Services, API, REST, RPC. The underlying foundation of cloud architecture is based on APIs and Web Services. You probably already have experience with these types of service patterns and protocols from working on websites, and that knowledge will give you a head start on mastering cloud fundamentals.
- Virtualization, Storage, Networking. In the world of cloud computing, these skills can be very useful for designing and operating applications. If you’ve got these skills, that’s a very good thing! At the very least, you should have a strong general programming background, because without it the learning curve may be a bit too steep.
- Disaster Recovery, High Availability, Fail Over and Redundancy. These are methodologies that are central to operating software in the cloud, and are skills you typically get in an operations role. What if you haven’t done operations before? As long as you’re familiar with these concepts, the pieces related to cloud architecture can be learned with a little bit of experience and training on the job.
The best candidates for a cloud engineer’s role will possess strong technical skills, the ability to think through business use cases (does this system need to scale to accommodate increased traffic?) and an intellectual curiosity to learn new tools and technology.
Is that you? Then you may be ready to reach for the sky and start engineering the cloud.
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