What Exactly Is a Cloud Architect and How Do You Become One?

One of the buzzwords surrounding the cloud that I’m sure you’ve heard is “Cloud Architect.” In this article, I will outline my understanding of what a cloud architect does and I’ll analyze the skills and certifications necessary to become one. I will also list some of the types of jobs that are available if you decide to head down this career path.

What is a Cloud Architect?

Cloud computing architecture refers to the components and subcomponents required for cloud computing. These components typically consist of a front end platform, back end platforms, a cloud-based delivery, and a network. Combined, these components make up cloud computing architecture. Cloud solutions design is based on architectural procedures and methods that have been developed over the last 20 or so years.

A Cloud Architect is responsible for converting the technical requirements of a project into the architecture and design that will guide the final product. Often, Cloud Architects are also responsible for bridging the gaps between complex business problems and solutions in the cloud. Other members of a technology team, including DevOps engineers and developers, work with the Cloud Architect to ensure that the right technology or technologies are being built.

What initial skills are required?

If you are thinking of becoming a Cloud Architect, you will ideally already have a strong background in cloud computing or a similar technical area. If you feel comfortable with most of the following concepts or at least some of them, then you are probably on the right track. Otherwise, I would recommend some initial study or work in these areas before you tackle the Cloud Architect role.

  • Good knowledge of at least one operating system: Linux, Unix, Solaris, Ubuntu, Windows. My preference is any Linux operating system (e.g., Ubuntu or Red Hat), but prior experience as an administrator or architect in any of the well-known operating systems is also helpful.
  • Good understanding of networking: TCP/IP, IP addresses, HTTP, DNS. I suggest that you have some familiarity with these concepts before pursuing a role as a cloud architect.
  • Computer programming languages: You will need at least a minimal understanding of a programming or scripting language. This is probably not a must, but it will definitely help.
  • Security: Security in the cloud is important, and consequently, a high-level understanding of key security concepts is a must for a Cloud Architect. So an initial knowledge of some basic security concepts, such as firewalls, is necessary.

The above list is by no means exhaustive. The point is that you’ll need a strong technical background if you are contemplating becoming a Cloud Architect. Cloud Roster™ provides an updated list of trending technology skills, explains what a Cloud Architect does, provides key traits and day-to-day expectations, and lists the target skill set. This list is updated monthly, so make sure to check back right before you start a certification path.

Cloud Architect: Cloud Roster Features

What’s the next step?

Assuming that you meet some of the previously mentioned prerequisites, how do you now go about becoming a certified Cloud Architect? It depends on platform that you prefer:

AWS

AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate — This certification validates technical expertise in designing and deploying scalable, highly available, and fault-tolerant systems on the AWS platform. This article details how to prepare for the exam and goes into greater detail about the resources available at Cloud Academy to help you succeed.

Microsoft Azure

Microsoft Azure Solutions Architect — Microsoft Azure is an emerging market-leader, and the certification requires expertise in compute, network, storage, and security to design solutions that run on Azure. To obtain the Azure Solutions Architect certification, you need to pass two exams: AZ-300 and AZ-301. You do not need to pass any Associate-level exams before taking these ones. The AZ-300 exam focuses on Azure technologies, and the AZ-301 exam focuses on design. Cloud Academy offers two Learning Paths that cover specific technologies and designs to seamlessly deploy, configure, and manage Microsoft Azure architecture.

You can also watch our webinar, Microsoft Azure AZ-300 and AZ-301 Exams: What to Expect and How to Pass.

You’ll learn more about what the exams cover, including:

  • Developing, designing, deploying, migrating, integrating, and configuring an Azure infrastructure
  • Determining workloads requirements
  • Running workloads securely on Azure
  • Implementing Azure authentication and securing data
  • Designing a business continuity strategy
How to Become a Microsoft Azure Cloud Architect: AZ-300 and AZ-301 Exams: What to Expect and How to Pass

Google Cloud Platform

Professional Cloud Architect — A Professional Cloud Architect enables organizations to leverage Google Cloud technologies. With a thorough understanding of cloud architecture and Google Cloud Platform, this individual can design, develop, and manage robust, secure, scalable, highly available, and dynamic solutions to drive business objectives.

I’m a Certified Cloud Architect — now what?

Once you have passed the certification exam, this qualification opens up a lot of new job opportunities to you, some of which you have probably never even thought about. Some of the world’s most innovative companies in big data couldn’t accomplish anything without the help of AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud Platform Certified Solutions Architects.

With more than a million active customers, AWS delivers flexibility, scalability, and reliability. Some of the companies currently harnessing big data in AWS are General Electric, IBM, Splunk, and the Weather Company. You may even find yourself working for a medical company and building a solution to map patients’ genomes to predict diseases. If you love to travel, you might land yourself a job at Expedia, which uses AWS to host its “Expedia Service,” a travel suggestion service. Let’s not forget one of AWS’s biggest customers, Netflix. Netflix entrusts AWS with highly-available and fault-tolerant content delivery of its films and media. Due to the sheer volume and fluctuating usage patterns of its customer base, Netflix relies on Amazon’s infrastructure capabilities for rapid scaling, server, and storage deployment. I can only imagine that they have employed hundreds if not thousands of AWS Solutions Architects.

Microsoft Azure is the fastest growing cloud provider for building, testing, deploying, and managing applications and services through Microsoft-managed data centers. A few companies that are using Azure include Adobe, Apple iCloud, Ebay, Travelocity, Samsung, Xerox, the NFL, and NBC. Become a certified Microsoft Azure Solutions Architect, and then search through the thousands of available Azure Cloud Architect positions.

With customers including Target, PayPal, 20th Century Fox, and Twitter, Google Cloud Platform is a suite of cloud computing services that runs on the same infrastructure that Google uses internally for its end-user products. As a Professional Cloud Architect, you can check out the Google Cloud Solution Architect positions.

Cloud Architect is a key role that’s in high demand, and the possibilities are endless. And with continued exponential growth forecasted over the next few years, we think that becoming a Certified Cloud Architect is definitely a step in the right direction as both a career choice and as a chance to get on board with any new and exciting technologies that are bound to emerge in the cloud arena.

Avatar

Written by

Michael Sheehy

I have been UNIX/Linux System Administrator for the past 15 years and am slowly moving those skills into the AWS Cloud arena. I am passionate about AWS and Cloud Technologies and the exciting future that it promises to bring.


Related Posts

Avatar
Guy Hummel
— December 12, 2019

Google Cloud Platform Certification: Preparation and Prerequisites

Google Cloud Platform (GCP) has evolved from being a niche player to a serious competitor to Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. In 2019, research firm Gartner placed Google in the Leaders quadrant in its Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service for the second consecuti...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Google Cloud Platform
Alisha Reyes
Alisha Reyes
— December 10, 2019

New Lab Challenges: Push Your Skills to the Next Level

Build hands-on experience using real accounts on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and more Meaningful cloud skills require more than book knowledge. Hands-on experience is required to translate knowledge into real-world results. We see this time and time again in studies about how pe...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Google Cloud
  • hands-on
  • labs
Alisha Reyes
Alisha Reyes
— December 5, 2019

New on Cloud Academy: AWS Solution Architect Lab Challenge, Azure Hands-on Labs, Foundation Certificate in Cyber Security, and Much More

Now that Thanksgiving is over and the craziness of Black Friday has died down, it's now time for the busiest season of the year. Whether you're a last-minute shopper or you already have your shopping done, the holidays bring so much more excitement than any other time of year. Since our...

Read more
  • AWS
  • AWS solution architect
  • AZ-203
  • Azure
  • cyber security
  • FCCS
  • Foundation Certificate in Cyber Security
  • Google Cloud Platform
  • Kubernetes
Avatar
Cloud Academy Team
— December 4, 2019

Understanding Enterprise Cloud Migration

What is enterprise cloud migration? Cloud migration is about moving your data, applications, and even infrastructure from your on-premises computers or infrastructure to a virtual pool of on-demand, shared resources that offer compute, storage, and network services at scale. Why d...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Data Migration
Wendy Dessler
Wendy Dessler
— November 27, 2019

6 Reasons Why You Should Get an AWS Certification This Year

In the past decade, the rise of cloud computing has been undeniable. Businesses of all sizes are moving their infrastructure and applications to the cloud. This is partly because the cloud allows businesses and their employees to access important information from just about anywhere. ...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Certifications
  • certified
Avatar
Andrea Colangelo
— November 26, 2019

AWS Regions and Availability Zones: The Simplest Explanation You Will Ever Find Around

The basics of AWS Regions and Availability Zones We’re going to treat this article as a sort of AWS 101 — it’ll be a quick primer on AWS Regions and Availability Zones that will be useful for understanding the basics of how AWS infrastructure is organized. We’ll define each section,...

Read more
  • AWS
Avatar
Dzenan Dzevlan
— November 20, 2019

Application Load Balancer vs. Classic Load Balancer

What is an Elastic Load Balancer? This post covers basics of what an Elastic Load Balancer is, and two of its examples: Application Load Balancers and Classic Load Balancers. For additional information — including a comparison that explains Network Load Balancers — check out our post o...

Read more
  • ALB
  • Application Load Balancer
  • AWS
  • Elastic Load Balancer
  • ELB
Albert Qian
Albert Qian
— November 13, 2019

Advantages and Disadvantages of Microservices Architecture

What are microservices? Let's start our discussion by setting a foundation of what microservices are. Microservices are a way of breaking large software projects into loosely coupled modules, which communicate with each other through simple Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). ...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Docker
  • Kubernetes
  • Microservices
Nisar Ahmad
Nisar Ahmad
— November 12, 2019

Kubernetes Services: AWS vs. Azure vs. Google Cloud

Kubernetes is a popular open-source container orchestration platform that allows us to deploy and manage multi-container applications at scale. Businesses are rapidly adopting this revolutionary technology to modernize their applications. Cloud service providers — such as Amazon Web Ser...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Google Cloud
  • Kubernetes
Avatar
Stuart Scott
— October 31, 2019

AWS Internet of Things (IoT): The 3 Services You Need to Know

The Internet of Things (IoT) embeds technology into any physical thing to enable never-before-seen levels of connectivity. IoT is revolutionizing industries and creating many new market opportunities. Cloud services play an important role in enabling deployment of IoT solutions that min...

Read more
  • AWS
  • AWS IoT Events
  • AWS IoT SiteWise
  • AWS IoT Things Graph
  • IoT
Avatar
Cloud Academy Team
— October 23, 2019

Which Certifications Should I Get?

As we mentioned in an earlier post, the old AWS slogan, “Cloud is the new normal” is indeed a reality today. Really, cloud has been the new normal for a while now and getting credentials has become an increasingly effective way to quickly showcase your abilities to recruiters and compan...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Certifications
  • Cloud Computing
  • Google Cloud Platform
Valery Calderón Briz
Valery Calderón Briz
— October 22, 2019

How to Go Serverless Like a Pro

So, no servers? Yeah, I checked and there are definitely no servers. Well...the cloud service providers do need servers to host and run the code, but we don’t have to worry about it. Which operating system to use, how and when to run the instances, the scalability, and all the arch...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Lambda
  • Serverless