A cloud architect position is a hybrid role that brings together the skills of a business executive and a technology professional. Because of the unique mix of skills that the position demands, cloud architect jobs pay well. In fact, the average cloud architect salary is approximately $130,000 per year, which makes it a position that many people would love to have.
If you are among those in the hunt for a cloud architect job, experts will advise you to be prepared to show a prospective employer that you bring much more than IT skills, although IT skills are important.
“A cloud architect is much more than an IT professional,” explains Michael Gibbs, CEO of Go Cloud Careers. “He or she is a system designer who solves a customer’s business problems through the use of technology. In fact, the cloud architect’s job can be summarized in three words: design, present, and sell.”
Go Cloud Careers is a career development company that focuses on training students in the technical competencies and soft skills necessary for securing cloud computing jobs. Go Cloud’s cloud architect and cloud engineering programs, which leverage Micheal’s 25 years of industry experience and 20 years as a technology career coach, have an incredible success rate at getting six-figure jobs for graduates that complete all program requirements
The design skills needed by a cloud architect
A cloud architect will be expected to guide its clients in migrating from the network and data center to the cloud. Architecting an effective design requires a thorough understanding of all of the technology that makes up the data center.
“What are the technologies that cloud architects must know? It’s a long list,” says Michael. “It includes Border Gateway Protocols, Interior Gateway Protocols, IP addressing, subnetting and supernetting, Network Address Translation, servers and server virtualization, containers and container orchestration, block storage, object storage, file storage, switching technologies such as VLANs, VLAN tagging, and VLAN trunking, and WAN technology such as IPsec tunnels, private lines, and software defined networking.”
Michael also highlights the importance of understanding database technology, including when to use a NoSQL database and how to tune database performance, and security technology such as firewalls, IDS/IPS systems, and VPN concentrators. Understanding how all of these technologies perform and interact is a critical part of the job that the cloud architect performs.
The business skills needed by a cloud architect
While technology skills will inform a cloud architect on how to design the cloud, business skills will be required to know what to build. This is where business acumen comes into play.
“The cloud architect needs business acumen because he or she will be meeting with executives to gather information about their business needs,” explains Michael. “Only after effectively communicating with their clients can they translate their clients’ business requirements into a technology solution.”
In developing and obtaining approval for designs, the cloud architect will constantly be presenting. This includes presenting proof of concept designs to teams of engineers and design proposals to C-level executives. Selling skills are closely related to this. When a cloud architect needs to show a client that the value of the solution is greater than the solution’s costs, providing ROI modeling will help to sell the solution.
Michael also highlights the role that writing skills play in the cloud architects career.
“Cloud architects write lots of documents, from project proposals to thought leadership papers,” Michael says. “This demands much more than basic writing skills. Cloud architects need executive writing skills that allow them to take large amounts of content and reduce it down to a form that is easy to read and easy to understand.”
While technology certifications may get you an interview for a cloud architect job, they won’t guarantee you a six figure position. Earning those positions demands that you have the business skills to determine what your clients need and the tech skills to engineer the solution to those needs. Cloud architects must be willing to add soft skills to their technical competencies if they hope to obtain the career of their dreams.