A career in Cloud Architecture is one of the buzzwords you will hear if you are new to Cloud platforms. Amazon Web Services (AWS) offers two certifications for it – Amazon Solution Architect ( the Associate level and the professional level). Google Clouds (GCP) also offers similar courses for Solution Architect training. You will find a lot of course offerings by different Cloud providers for Cloud Architect certifications.
However, the actual job and real live industry experience for a Cloud Architect career can often look confusing. This article will shed some light on this career niche, and some basic information you need to know about it, and perhaps you may consider Cloud Architecture as a career path in IT.
WHO IS A CLOUD ARCHITECT?
A cloud Architect is a consultant, He interfaces the business of an organization and the technology that powers the business. He is someone who Designs, Documents, Presents, and Sells tailor-made solutions to solve a business need or achieve a business goal. He is someone who can lead the cultural change for cloud adoption (as well as other technologies) to meet a business goal.
WHAT DO CLOUD ARCHITECTS DO?
An architect designs – they do not build. The same is true of Cloud Architects. A Cloud Architect designs the technology (networks) for optimal business performance. He aligns technologies with the goals of the organization, to improve the organization and to make a profit.
Cloud Architects do not build. It is the job of an engineer to build a design. This underlines the difference between a Cloud Architect and a Cloud Engineer. Much in the same way a building architect draws the blueprint of a building, taking into consideration the environment.
A Cloud Architect probes into the business, identifies the goal of each segment (Marketing, Operations, Finance, HR, IT, Security, etc.) of the business, and seeks to improve the business with technology. He will need to understand the current business architecture in order to be able to improve it with technology.
A Cloud Architect Designs a Network (and works with other professionals)
The technology a Cloud architect deploys will depend on the business goal. They can choose from a variety of technologies or combinations of many such as Cloud, Non-clouds, Networks, Security, Blockchain, the Internet-of-things, Artificial Intelligence, etc. to power his solution.
It is their job to convince the business executive to make the tech changes that will meet the goals of the business and stick to such changes. He leads the cultural change for Cloud Adoption.
They never works in isolation, and will need the input of other experts such as DevOps Engineers, SysOps Engineers, CyberSecurity Experts, AI Experts, Cloud Engineers, etc. to build the architecture he has designed. They find and assembles a competent team of experts to build the design. It is also their responsibility to manage the team to achieve the set goal.
Cloud Architect Lead The Adoption Process
The Adoption Process of any sets of technologies can be immediate or it can take several iterations over a fairly long period. It is the job of the Cloud Architect to oversee this process and ensure that it follows a smooth transition.
The design is the technical aspect of the job, the other non-technical aspect will include developing a strategy for adopting his design, leading a cultural change, presenting or selling the solution to businesses, doing updates to the solution as the business changes etc. They are quite knowledgeable about the business. It is not unusual for some to hold a business degree.
A Cloud Architect works with different types of businesses. One that works with a Service Provider firm will likely do a lot of sales presentations. If he works with an organization, it will be Design, Presentation, and Strategizing to ensure there is a cultural change in adopting his blueprint.
The Non-technical aspects of the job of a Cloud Architect – as with many IT jobs – are not covered by the popular certifications. They are skills that need to be developed separately if one is to have a good shot at being successful at the job.
TRAINING AND CERTIFICATION FOR A CLOUD ARCHITECT CAREER
A Cloud Architect must be trained in both Technical and Non-Technical aspects of the job, this is so because the career interfaces between Technology and Business. He Designs, Documents, Presents, and Sells a solution. The design constitutes the technical aspect of the job, while the documentation, presentation, and the selling of a solution are non-technical.
Technical Training For Cloud Architects (And Certifications)
To design a solution, a Cloud Architect must understand how it works. They take the technology from the Network and Data Center and move them to the Cloud, and as such it is critical to understand both technologies – Networking and Data Center Technology.
A Cloud Architect must understand all the Networking Fundamentals, Security, Network Access, Network Connectivity, etc. These will include the understanding of Routing and various routing protocols (such as Border Gateway Protocol BGP), Internet Protocols (Ipv4/Ipv6, Subnetting, Supernetting) Switching (VLANS, VLAN Tagging, Spanning Tree, Trunking Protocols, etc.) WAN Technologies (VPNs, Leased Lines, Private Lines, Software Defined Networking -SDN, etc.).
The career requires you to have a good grasp of Networking. Networking certifications such as the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA), Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP), Cisco Certified Network CCNP, and Cisco Certified Internation Expert CCIE are some of the common Networking Certifications. They are all offered by Cisco – the leading Networking vendor.
Data Center Technology
Data center technology is at the core of most Cloud Architecture courses offered by the major Cloud Platforms (Amazon Web Services AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Clouds) and is offered at both the Associate and the Professional level. A Cloud Architect must understand Data Center technologies like Server Virtualization, Containers, Databases, Security Appliances (including firewalls), Load Balancers, Identity And Access Management, Storage Area Networks, etc.
Amazon Web Services certification for the role includes the AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate and the AWS Certified Solutions Architect-Professional. Google offers the Professional Cloud Architect Certification. While Microsoft Azure is offering certification for Cloud Architecture with Azure Solution Architect Experts. It is important to note that the certifications from the different vendors mentioned above (as well as others omitted) teach similar concepts but under different “flavors”. It is easy to transfer the knowledge gained from one to another. Many Cloud Architechs do not rely on a single cloud vendor unless the business they work for is.
Non Technical Skill
A large portion of the job of a Cloud Architect comprises non-technical aspects. They interface between People, Business, and Technology. They must exercise competence in the following non-technical areas.
- Communication Skills – Will interact with people, and present and document his ideas in ways that can be understood by the business executives who are not so tech-savvy.
- Salesmanship – Must be able to convince business executives to adopt his designs for the business and stick to it long term.
- Leadership – they work with other professionals and business executives. Should be able to lead the technology adoption.
- Emotional Intelligence – Must have the ability to foster strong relationships with the customers and other members of the team.
- Business Acumen – Understand the business and its ultimate goal of saving some costs and improving productivity.
- Executive Presence – A skill required so that business executives can take you seriously and implement your suggestions.
WHAT DOES A CLOUD ARCHITECT EARN
A Cloud Architect does work in diverse environments and salary can vary widely depending on the type of business. According to Glassdoor, the average earnings or salary is $ 218,000 per annum. With the most likely range being between $170,000 and $286,000 per annum. Earnings can be as high as $360,000 per annum. Talent.com puts the entry-level salary for the role in the US to be about $132,000 per annum.
A Cloud Architect designs tailor-made solutions and helps a business adopt technologies that will improve their business. He offers cost-effective, custom-made, efficient, adaptable, and profitable designs for a business. Cloud Architects do not build or touch the technology. His job is a combination of both a technical role and more of a business role. Cloud architects work as part of a team. The career opportunities are wide and varied and are often rewards top-tiered. Training for the career will include both technical and non-technical skills. The rewards and salaries are also impressive.
Additional Resource at https://gocloudcareers.com/