In this introduction to the Cloud Architect role Andy Larkin walks through what the role does, what tasks are required in the role, and what skills and character traits help make you successful in this role.
The objective of this introduction is to help you determine whether this role is the right one for you - and if you feel it is, this introduction is first base on get started with learning the skills you need to become a Cloud Architect.
Andy has been a Cloud Architect for 5+ years in leading roles and worked as AWS - the leading Cloud provider. As Andy says, "No one is born a Cloud Architect. All the skills required to be a Cloud Architect are learned and you can learn them starting now." Andy is here to help you get started on your journey to becoming a Cloud Architect.
If you have any questions or want some advice please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
A cloud architect is responsible for converting business requirements into a technical architecture and design that can be used as a guide for building a final solution. Cloud architects are responsible for working through complex business problems and bridging gaps between disparate teams. One day you might work with members of a technology team, including DevOps engineers and developers, and the very next day you might need to understand high-level requirements from business teams or even from the chief executive officer. As a cloud architect it's your responsibility to come up with a solution design that uses the best suited services in a way that creates the best business outcome.
Working with cloud services gives you many options. And so knowing the working detail, the advantages and the disadvantages of each of those services helps you select and combine services that get the best outcome for your stakeholders. And as a cloud architect you may also be working on hybrid designs, which depend on connections to on-premise applications or data centers. So a cloud architect needs to have good grounding in a wide range of IT services.
First, you need to be open-minded and strategic. Cloud architects need to be able to identify fit for purpose technologies. And as an architect you need to be able to select the service that will create the best solution, and so the best outcome. You need to be able to weigh up the benefits and consideration of a wide range of services, and then make decisions based on the criteria that you've been given over what may be popular or preferred right now. You're going to need to be an effective communicator. This is perhaps one of the most important success traits for this role in my view.
Effective communicator rather than just a good communicator, because in this role you need to be effective at describing the merits and therefore winning support for your solution with multiple stakeholders. And at times we may be dealing with groups or individuals with very strong opinions on technology. So you need to be confident and well-researched with your solution design. You're at the center of the development process, so a cloud architect must be able to lead and influence stakeholders within the organization.
Your solution may go against common patterns. It may suggest doing things in a way that's very different from how things have been done in the past, because you know that will get the best result. So you need to be able to discuss, empathize, and adjust so you can help stakeholders see why this combination of services you're proposing creates the best solution and presents the best possible outcome. With so many moving parts in the development process a cloud architect must be able to fully understand the nuances of any business requirement.
You have to understand the functionality that's needed, and you need to be thinking about the maintenance requirements for ongoing services. So you need to be able to keep a view of the overall objective and the timeline, very important, and also be able to evaluate and discuss the details of any particular service and why a specific service provides the best match to those requirements. It does help to be a good planner. As the solution manager you need to be able to guide the development of the solution from beginning to end, and you need to be able to account and work through any roadblocks or complexities.
So having been a cloud architect for many years, I think the first thing I want to point out is that your day can be very varied. You'll work with a wide range of stakeholders, so you need to be very adaptive and be able to think on your feet. That is something that gets easier over time and over the number of projects you do. And your first experiences in this role can be made easier by having a good grounding in the cloud services that you'll be working with.
You'll be developing cloud adoption plans, migration plans, application design, deployment mechanisms. You'll work with business stakeholders to translate requirements into application architecture. You may automate infrastructure and build pipelines for continuous integration and continuous deployment. First off, we need to have a deep knowledge of the cloud platforms and services. That's non-negotiable. You need to be an expert in these services. Having a good understanding of software design patterns will help. Having knowledge of DevOps tools and methodologies will be a big help.
You need to keep up to date with everything that's coming out and understand the latest and greatest services and why that may be the best or not the best solution for this particular design. We need the ability to communicate. We need to be able to talk to diverse stakeholders about benefits, risk, and to really describe quite complex concepts to people that may have no technical knowledge. We need to be able to contextualize, empathize with stakeholders, and people who have an opinion, and ultimately to be able to persuade and make people see why the solution you're proposing is the best way to do this for the business. If it sounds like this type of role suits your interests and your character traits, well, then it's just now a matter of learning the skills you need for this role. Remember, no one is born a cloud architect. Okay? It is all learnt.
Now, if you're ready to go, let's get started on your learning journey.
Andrew is fanatical about helping business teams gain the maximum ROI possible from adopting, using, and optimizing Public Cloud Services. Having built 70+ Cloud Academy courses, Andrew has helped over 50,000 students master cloud computing by sharing the skills and experiences he gained during 20+ years leading digital teams in code and consulting. Before joining Cloud Academy, Andrew worked for AWS and for AWS technology partners Ooyala and Adobe.