Cloud computing is the on-demand provisioning of computer resources including data storage and computational power, all available through the internet. This means that the users can access their platforms, databases, and software on-demand and remotely, thereby reducing the physical computing power and memory of the individual computers. Prior to the concept of cloud computing, businesses had to provision their own infrastructures like data centers and allocate resources which lead to increased costs. Cloud computing is growing at a tremendous rate and has seen a spurt in employment opportunities around the globe. It has a current market size of 371.5 billion dollars and is expected to grow significantly more.
Tech giants like Amazon, Google, IBM, and Microsoft are hugely investing in their cloud infrastructure and are hiring cloud engineers and experts from all over the world. The quick advancement of cloud technology has given rise to flexibility, profits, and scalability. This has resulted in attracting more and more researchers, scholars, engineers, computer scientists, and practitioners. Let us look at the skills required to become a cloud engineer and how you could be one!
Why Learn Cloud Computing?
Before advancing your journey in the cloud, have a motive why do you want to learn it? Why are businesses and companies moving towards the cloud? A lot of people jump into the cloud and learn services and stuff without getting the fundamentals clear, this can lead to poor basic understanding and therefore is not recommended. Since cloud requires extreme persistence and grit as it an advanced topic, you need to have a clear goal and a strong motivation behind it. One reason could be that it has been rapidly adopted by leading tech companies and hence will have an ever-growing market for the next decade at least. Another reason could be that cloud engineers are paid a good amount depending upon their expertise and years of experience.
There are dozens of resources to learn cloud ranging from professional certifications from learning online learning platforms or official documentation from leading cloud providers like Google, hundreds of blog posts, and YouTube videos. The internet is flooded with an overwhelming amount of resources and it is easy to get lost while choosing which course suits you and helps you be a good cloud engineer.
Amazon Web Services has partnered with Coursera to skills students and professionals in the cloud with eight AWS courses on Coursera and then you can head to AWS professional certification which is highly valuable when applying for a job. Google Cloud Platform has also partnered with Coursera to provide dozens of courses and are helpful in cracking the GCP certification. Microsoft as well provides its cloud courses through Udacity nanodegree programs, which occasionally has a scholarship for students. These courses are taught directly by experts working in these companies and therefore give better insights into how does the cloud work inside the organization itself. Hence, it is beneficial to learn directly from these experts.
Important Topics to Master Cloud Computing
1. Understanding the Linux OS:
The first and foremost thing is to get good hands-on on a Linux operating system. Practicing Linux would help you as a cloud engineer, or as a cloud architect, you should have this fundamental understanding of your operating system. This can be as simple as installing a virtual machine using VirtualBox or to create a VM in a cloud environment. Some more complex commands can include installing various software, carrying out load analysis, installing packages, or even modifying them.
2. Programming Skills:
Having good programming skills is an essence while learning cloud. There are a few languages you need to be proficient with:
- ASP.NET: Provide dynamic web pages and cutting-edge solutions across various browsers
- SQL: Used to store, manipulate and process large data
- Python: Used for developing serverless applications, especially in AWS.
- Golang: Used for concurrency and parallelism management, especially when working with GCP
- PHP: Used to automate websites or websites with multiple functions
Having a good command of these languages will definitely help to master cloud computing in the desired way.
3. Networking and Internet Protocols:
Working knowledge about how the internet works and networking is extremely crucial to cloud roles since it is based on provisioning centralized computing resources over the cloud. Engineers are required to work on network management like improving responsive networks as demanded by the user by automating procedure adjustments. Therefore, it is important to learn virtual networks and network fundamentals for cloud-centric roles.
4. DevOps and Containerization:
DevOps is a combination of development and operations and is one of the most popular frameworks in the cloud. Recently, AWS DevOps has been highly in demand for people especially interested in AWS. Containerization means abstracting applications from one another in the cloud and it makes the applications very easy to deploy on the cloud. Therefore learning Docker or Kubernetes will give a good push towards being a good cloud engineer.
5. Understanding Virtualization:
This means not depending upon personal individual hardware that faces problems when scaling but rather running application software on virtual machines. This reduces the hardware dependency and also aids in fault tolerance, making it one of the most desirable skills of a cloud engineer. Examples include AWS EC2 (Elastic Compute) and AWS Lambda.
6. Cloud Service Providers:
There are many cloud service vendors that offer storage, database, compute machine learning, and migration services but AWS is the leader being closely followed by Microsoft’s Azure. Knowing how different cloud providers work and ship resources to their clients will help you understand cloud computing in detail and familiarize you with the best practices to follow. Other cloud providers include Google’s GCP, IBM, and OpenStack.
7. Security and Recovery:
Cloud security is one of the most difficult subdomains in the cloud since it involves critical measures to be taken when there is a data breach or disaster recovery. It demands advanced skills in cybersecurity and cloud combined since any time the cloud resources are down, it can result in huge losses and unavailability of services to the client thereby affecting their business in turn.
8. Web Services and API:
Cloud infrastructure is heavily based upon APIs and web services for the integration of applications on the internet. Some examples are XML, SOAP, WSDL, and other open standards are used to transfer and describe data and list services available. Gaining an understanding of these fundamentals can help you in your journey in the cloud.
After learning these skills and getting a good hands-on experience with these technologies, you can give various cloud certification exams which will help you in validating your acquired skillset and in turn help you get a well-paid job.