4 Cloud Computing Career Paths to Know in 2024

Career paths with cloud certifications
Career paths with cloud certifications

Cloud computing is at the core of many of the goods and services both individuals and businesses use every day. While cloud computing is what makes streaming movies and games possible, it’s also the key to making remote work possible and enables organizations to scale their operations as they grow.

Ensuring this all goes off without a hitch are cloud computing professionals who design, build, maintain, and protect cloud computing systems. But how do you get started in one of these careers and where can you expect it to lead?

In this article, we’ll explore four common cloud computing jobs and the career paths you might take to join them, along with the positions you might pursue later on. At the end, you’ll encounter tips to improve your chances of landing a cloud computing job and find a suggested cloud computing course that can help you gain job-relevant skills today.

What is cloud computing?

Cloud computing uses a network of servers accessible via the internet to store, manage, and process data, as well as run applications and software remotely. While on-premise computing solutions require users to be directly connected to a nearby server, cloud computing leverages the internet to enable users to access data from anywhere in the world. This allows organizations to not only work remotely but also to scale their data storage needs as they shift over time.

Cloud computing is used by consumers and organizations every day. Common examples of cloud computing platforms include Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, and Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Read more: What’s the Difference Between AWS vs. Azure vs. Google Cloud?

Cloud computing job outlook

Cloud computing is a fast-growing field. According to research published on Statista, the worldwide market size for cloud computing applications is projected to reach $168.6 billion by 2025 [1]. That’s many times higher than the 2013 global market size for cloud computing applications, which sat at just 30.4 billion that year. This quick growth indicates the field can expect similarly positive growth in the coming years.

Overall, as more organizations come to rely on cloud computing technology to accomplish their day-to-day tasks and achieve their business goals, the need for cloud computing professionals only grows.

Cloud computing careers and career paths

A career in cloud computing can be both personally and professionally rewarding. In addition to earning a higher-than-average salary, cloud computing professionals get to solve complex computing problems that have a real and important impact on the organizations in which they work.

There’s a lot of room for growth as a cloud computing professional. Below, we lay out the career paths for four different cloud computing careers so you know what to expect.

Note: All salary and career path information taken from Glassdoor as of October 2023 unless otherwise stated.

1. Cloud engineer

Cloud engineers are responsible for building and maintaining an organization’s cloud infrastructure. While their precise duties and responsibilities fluctuate from one organization to another, engineers typically use their cloud computing skills and knowledge of cloud operations to ensure an organization’s cloud infrastructure runs both effectively and efficiently.

Typically, cloud engineers begin their careers as junior cloud engineers before becoming cloud engineers and later occupy more senior roles like cloud engineer II or senior cloud engineer. Typically, each of these positions affords greater responsibility and higher pay, but the precise nature of these duties will vary between organizations and positions.

At a glance, here’s a common career path you may encounter as a cloud engineer, according to Glassdoor [2]:

Read more: What Is a Cloud Engineer? Building and Maintaining the Cloud

2. Cloud architect

Cloud architects are responsible for designing the cloud infrastructure used by organizations. Working under IT directors and chief technical officers (CTOs), cloud architects must design cloud systems that support the goals and objectives outlined by the organization and ensure they operate as expected.

Generally, cloud architects work above cloud engineers and represent another career path that engineers may pursue. Due to their responsibilities, cloud architects must have several years of experience to land the job.

Here’s a common career path that you may experience as a cloud architect, according to Glassdoor [3]:

Read more: How to Become a Cloud Architect: Degrees, Skills, Jobs, Courses

3. Cloud administrator

Cloud administrators, or cloud system administrators, maintain an organization’s cloud infrastructure. Cloud administrators work alongside other cloud professionals, such as cloud engineers and architects, to ensure that systems are running smoothly and efficiently.

To become a cloud administrator, you must first start out as a junior cloud administrator or in a related junior position like help desk technician. Cloud systems administrators can work their way up to more senior positions, such as senior systems administrator or principal systems administrator.

Here’s one possible career path for cloud administrators, according to Glassdoor [4]:

Read more: What Does a System Administrator Do? Career Guide

4. Cloud security analyst

Cloud security analysts, also known as information security analysts, ensure that an organization’s cloud data is safe from data breaches, unauthorized access, and other cybersecurity threats. Using their knowledge of data security and cloud computing, security analysts are tasked with monitoring cloud-based systems, developing new safeguards as cloud technology evolves, and resolving cybersecurity threats as they arise.

Generally, college graduates with a degree related to cloud or cybersecurity are qualified for many entry-level roles. In some cases, you may benefit from receiving a cybersecurity certification related to cloud computing. Afterward, you may progress to more senior-level positions like senior information security analyst or principal information security analyst.

Here’s a possible career path you might consider pursuing as a cloud security analyst, according to Glassdoor [5]:

Read more: How to Become an Information Security Analyst: Salary, Skills, and More

Tips to get started in cloud computing

Cloud computing is an exciting field filled with many different career opportunities. Whether you want to build cloud architecture, maintain it, or work to protect it from outside threats, there are some general steps you can take to improve your chances of joining the field. Below, we explore three steps you should consider taking to become a cloud computing professional.

1. Get your degree.

Generally, employers prefer that applicants to cloud computing positions possess a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related major. Other majors that may prepare you for a career in the field include data science, data analytics, and IT, among other possible subjects.

Read more: What Is a Computer Science Degree?

2. Develop your skills.

Cloud computing professionals must use a well-honed mix of technical and people skills to succeed in the workplace. In effect, it’s important that you spend some time developing your skill set thoroughly in order to stand out to potential employers. Some of the skills you might consider developing include:

  • Knowledge of programming languages, such as Python and Java

  • Knowledge of different cloud platforms like Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure

  • Database management abilities

  • Knowledge of information security best practices

Read more: 7 Cloud Computing Skills to Know

3. Consider certifications.

Certifications highlight your abilities to potential employers and demonstrate your dedication to building your skills. As a cloud computing professional, you’ll need to stay up-to-date on the latest technologies and techniques to ensure you’re offering the best possible service. Certifications are one way to do that. Some of the top cloud computing certifications you might consider pursuing include:

  • Amazon Web Services (AWS) Solutions Architect – Associate

  • Microsoft Certified: Azure Fundamentals

  • Google Associate Cloud Engineer

  • IBM Certified Technical Advocate – Cloud v3

  • Cloud Security Alliance: Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge (CCSK)

Read more: 5 Cloud Certifications to Start Your Cloud Career in 2023

Learn about cloud computing with Coursera

If working in this exciting field appeals to you, set out on your cloud computing career path today by taking a relevant specialization on Coursera.

In Amazon Web Services’ Starting Your Career with AWS Cloud Specialization, you’ll learn cloud fundamentals, roles in the field, and gain hands-on experience performing tasks that are common in the life of a cloud computing professional. Prepare for your cloud career with this beginner-level specialization from AWS.