Who Are Cloud Engineers? And What Do They Do?
As most enterprises worldwide, regardless of scale, have parted ways with on-premise data centers and servers, cloud computing platforms have become the norm. By the end of 2022, the global market share for cloud computing is expected to reach USD 623.3 billion and will continue to grow to USD 800 billion by 2025. As cloud computing reaches new heights, cloud engineers are also in high demand to carry out different tasks associated with both front-end and back-end cloud computing processes. You may be curious to know who cloud engineers are and what they do. Let’s try to understand what they bring to cloud computing.
Who is a Cloud Engineer?
After the COVID-19 disruption, we are witnessing cloud computing go from a luxury to a “compulsory” within the business landscape. With this drastic shift, the requirement for an IT professional who assists in the cloud migration process and carries out cloud operations has skyrocketed. This is where a cloud engineer comes into play and becomes the driving force behind making cloud computing seamless for end users. Based on reports, cloud engineer jobs are predicted to rise from 6.7 million to 13.8 million by 2023.
A cloud engineer, by definition, is an IT professional who manages every technical aspect and task related to cloud computing. This job usually involves managing, architecting, planning, and monitoring cloud computing systems. It also includes deploying the best practices for installing an application on the cloud. Cloud engineer is a generic term, but it involves different roles, like,
- Cloud software engineer
- Cloud architect
- Cloud systems engineer
- Cloud security engineer
- Cloud network engineer
Each job role focuses on a specific cloud computing type rather than working on the entire technology. Enterprises that recruit cloud engineers usually are planning to deploy cloud services, maximize the utilization of their existing cloud resources, or gain a better understanding of cloud technology.
What do Cloud Engineers Do on a daily basis?
A cloud engineer’s role can vary according to the company’s requirements. Ben Miller, a cloud professional at Google, says, “My role and responsibilities at Google as a Strategic Cloud Engineer are to assist Google Cloud clients to architect and develop systems on the Google Cloud Platform.” A cloud engineer’s day-to-day work may include,
- Assist the enterprise in migrating its on-premise IT infrastructure to the cloud
- Configure cloud computing components such as networking & security services
- Develop apps and databases that run on the cloud
- Monitoring and handling cloud management & data storage services
Responsibilities of a Cloud Engineer
- Design, build, & install modular cloud-based systems.
- Ensure the optimized functioning of data storage & process functions aligns with company security policies & best practices associated with cloud security.
- Develop & maintain cloud solutions that go hand in hand with best practices
- Detect, analyze, and solve application deployment issues and infrastructure vulnerabilities
- Maintain strong communication with clients, offer cloud support, and prepare recommendations according to client needs
- Conduct a timely review of existing cloud systems and make suitable recommendations for improvements
Skills required as a cloud engineer:
1. Sound Knowledge of Linux OS:
The first thing to do to become a cloud engineer is to gain sound knowledge and hands-on experience using Linux operating system. If you are a cloud engineer or an architect, practicing Linux will help your fundamental understanding of the entire operating system. This can include deploying a virtual machine via VirtualBox or building a VM on a cloud platform, installing numerous software packages, conduct load analysis, installing and modifying packages, etc.
2. Mastering Programming Skills:
Having mastery over programming is integral to becoming a cloud engineer. There are certain coding languages you must become proficient with:
- SQL: Utilized for storing, manipulating & processing a large amount of data
- ASP.NET: Provide dynamic cutting-edge solutions and web pages across numerous browsers
- Golang: Used for parallelism and concurrency management while working on GCP
- Python: Utilized for building serverless applications, primarily via AWS.
- PHP: Used for automating websites
Proficiency in all these languages will help you become an expert cloud engineer.
3. Networking & Internet Protocols:
A working knowledge of how the internet works and networks is vital to any cloud role since provisioning centralized computing resources on the cloud is fundamental to all operations. Engineers must work on network management, such as boosting network responses to user demands through automated procedural adjustments. Hence, learning network fundamentals and virtual networks for cloud-based job roles is crucial.
4. DevOps and Containerization:
DevOps is a blend of development and operations and the most preferred frameworks you come across in the cloud. Currently, AWS DevOps is in high demand among cloud service users. On the other hand, containerization refers to abstracting applications from each other in the cloud and facilitating the easy deployment of such applications there. Hence, learning Kubernetes or Docker will help you become a better cloud engineer on the whole.
5. Understanding Virtualization:
If we rely on hardware to install software, it has limitations in terms of space and scaling. But, if we install application software on virtual machines, then there are a lot of advantages. This will minimize hardware dependency and also helps in fault tolerance. Therefore, understanding virtualization is one of the most important skills every cloud engineer must have in their quiver. Ex: AWS EC2, Linode, OVHcloud, AWS Lambda, etc.
6. Cloud Service Providers:
There are numerous private and public cloud service providers that offer cloud computing services. AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud are among the top cloud service providers across the globe. Understanding how each cloud provider works and sharing their resources with their clients can help you unlock the best cloud computing practices and procedures, making you a better cloud engineer.
7. Security & Recovery:
Cloud security is among the most challenging subdomains of the cloud. This is because it involves critical measures that are required to be applied when there is a disaster recovery or a data breach. To provide top-notch protection, advanced cybersecurity skills are needed. If cyberattacks manage to disrupt the cloud services, then they will result in data loss and have other negative consequences that may be impossible to overcome. Therefore, cybersecurity is a major responsibility of cloud engineers that can’t be compromised in any situation.
8. Web Services & API:
Cloud infrastructure relies primarily on web services and APIs for integrating applications over the internet. Ex: XML, WSDL, SOAP, etc., are utilized to describe and transfer data and list the available services. Gathering thorough knowledge of these fundamentals can make you a top-notch cloud engineer.
In the near future, there is a big chance that every company will have no choice but to move into a cloud environment to stay relevant in the global market. Cloud engineers will be the catalyst that helps enterprises migrate from on-premise data centers and servers to cloud environments and maintain day-to-day operations. Overall, cloud engineers are always in demand, provided they have all the required skills discussed above.
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