How to Build a Successful Career as a Cloud Security Engineer in 2024

Educational background for Cloud Engineers

Cloud computing has transformed the way businesses operate by providing on-demand access to computing resources, storage, and applications over the internet. However, this convenience comes with new risks and vulnerabilities that require specialized expertise to mitigate. This demand for cloud security has led to a surge in the need for cloud security engineers. In this article, we will explore what a cloud security engineer does and examine how you can break into this field in 2024.

What is a Cloud Security Engineer?

A cloud security engineer is responsible for protecting infrastructure, data, and applications hosted in public, private, or hybrid cloud environments. They design and implement security solutions to monitor and safeguard cloud workloads against threats. These professionals proactively identify vulnerabilities, recommend fixes, and respond to security incidents. In essence, they serve as security architects, auditors, operations managers, and incident responders for the cloud.

Why Become a Cloud Security Engineer?

Becoming a cloud security engineer can offer a fulfilling and lucrative career for several reasons:

  • Critical Role: Cloud security engineers play a crucial role in safeguarding the cloud, which is now the backbone of many businesses.
  • Growth Potential: According to Cybersecurity Ventures, by 2025, there will be over 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs globally, and a significant portion of these positions will be for cloud security experts.
  • High Salaries: The average salary for cloud security engineers ranges from $91,000 to $115,000 per year, with experienced professionals earning up to $200,000 annually.
  • Rewarding Work: Cloud security engineers enjoy exciting and meaningful work, protecting critical systems and data from adversaries while continuously learning and innovating.
  • Career Options: Starting as a cloud security engineer can open doors to other prestigious roles, such as Chief Information Security Officer (CISO).

In summary, a career as a cloud security engineer in 2024 offers an opportunity to work in a domain with tremendous growth potential, financial rewards, and long-term viability.

Educational Background

To become a cloud security engineer, you typically need to pursue an educational path focused on computer science, information technology, or cybersecurity. Here are some educational requirements to consider:

Bachelor’s Degree

A bachelor’s degree in computer science, information technology, or cybersecurity serves as the baseline qualification for most entry-level cloud security roles. Coursework in networking, systems administration, risk management, identity access management (IAM), and compliance provides a solid foundation. Hands-on experience with programming and scripting languages, particularly Python, is valuable for automation and orchestration tasks in the cloud.

Master’s Degree

Though not strictly necessary, an advanced degree such as a Master’s in Computer Science can provide a competitive advantage for senior cloud security engineering positions. Specialized coursework in cloud infrastructure security, DevSecOps, containerization platforms, and other related domains can help you stand out. Additionally, research and technical skills acquired during a master’s program can enhance incident investigation, risk assessment, and knowledge of emerging trends.

Technical and Business Skills

In addition to formal education, it’s essential to develop technical and business skills relevant to the cloud security field. These skills include:

  • Expert-level knowledge of major cloud platforms like AWS, Azure, or Google Cloud.
  • Proficiency in infrastructure-as-code (IaC) tools such as Terraform, Ansible, Chef, or Puppet.
  • Understanding of containerization concepts and technologies like Docker and Kubernetes.
  • Familiarity with compliance frameworks such as PCI DSS, HIPAA, GDPR, and ISO 27001.
  • Mastery of scripting languages like Python, PowerShell, and Bash for automating security controls.
  • Proficiency in cloud access security brokers (CASB) and cloud workload protection platforms (CWPP) for monitoring and analytics.
  • Strong business and communication skills to collaborate effectively and bridge the gap between security and business requirements.

Gain Relevant Experience

After acquiring the necessary education, gaining hands-on experience is crucial to becoming a successful cloud security engineer. Here are some typical career progression paths:

Entry-Level Security Roles

Starting as a security analyst, IT auditor, or identity and access management (IAM) specialist allows you to familiarize yourself with foundational concepts. These roles provide opportunities to work on projects, collaborate with experts, and develop your skills and professional network.

Security Administrator

Transitioning to an intermediate security administrator or SOC analyst position allows you to apply your knowledge by working directly with security tools and handling prevention, detection, and response tasks. This experience builds proficiency in investigating threats, assessing risks, and strengthening defenses.

DevSecOps Engineer

As a DevSecOps engineer, you integrate security into development pipelines, ensuring best practices throughout the entire software development lifecycle. This role provides valuable experience with public cloud platforms and showcases your ability to collaborate with cross-functional teams.

Mid-Level Cloud Security Engineer

After accumulating at least 3-5 years of experience in various security facets, you can qualify for mid-level cloud security engineering roles. In this position, you will have the opportunity to architect cloud-based solutions, apply deep knowledge of cloud security services, and stay updated with emerging threats and vulnerabilities.

Advancement Opportunities

With 7+ years of experience, you can explore specialized security engineering roles focusing explicitly on cloud environments, such as threat intelligence, forensics, or security operations centers. Senior cloud security engineers also have leadership opportunities, including roles like Principal/Lead Engineer, Chief Cloud Security Officer, or Chief Information Security Officer (CISO).

Pursue Industry Certifications

Relevant industry certifications validate your expertise as a cloud security engineer and demonstrate your commitment to continuous learning. Some valuable certifications for cloud security professionals include:

  • CCSP: The Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP) credential is offered by (ISC)2 and covers essential domains like cloud governance, compliance, architecture, and incident response. It is applicable across multiple cloud platforms, including AWS, Azure, and GCP.
  • Cloud Platform Specific: Major cloud providers like AWS, Microsoft, and Google offer role-based and specialty certifications that validate your expertise in securing their specific cloud platforms.
  • Additional Certifications: Supplemental certifications like Certified Kubernetes Security Specialist (CKS), Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), and ISACA certifications (CISA, CRISC, CISM) can further enhance your knowledge and marketability.

A combination of platform-specific cloud security certifications and vendor-neutral credentials like CCSP or CISSP is highly recommended to showcase your expertise effectively.

Start Your Cloud Security Engineer Journey with Jessup University

If you’re considering a career as a cloud security engineer, Jessup University’s Bachelor of Science in Computer Science program can provide the essential knowledge and skills required. With options for both in-person and online learning, Jessup University offers flexibility to accommodate various educational preferences.

The program covers core infrastructure knowledge and cutting-edge development paradigms that are in high demand in today’s cloud ecosystem. Specializations in Cybersecurity, Data Analytics, Data Science, Information Technology, and Software Engineering allow you to customize your educational journey. Whether you choose on-campus or online learning, Jessup University equips you with the necessary skills to excel in the field of cloud security engineering.


In conclusion, pursuing a career as a cloud security engineer in 2024 presents an opportunity for a successful and rewarding future. With the increasing adoption of cloud computing and the growing need for cloud security, professionals in this field are in high demand. By following the educational path, gaining experience, and obtaining relevant certifications, you can build a solid foundation for a thriving career as a cloud security engineer.

Remember, staying updated with the latest trends and continuously improving your skills will be crucial to staying competitive in this ever-evolving domain. Start your journey towards becoming a cloud security engineer today and secure a bright future in the world of cloud computing.