Author: Eric Pulsifer
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Learning a new skill regularly tops the list of popular resolutions and goals. And while it would be pretty cool if you got really good at axe throwing or became a professional Atari 2600 streamer, why not resolve to pick up some fresh technical skills that can lead you to a better career?
You can do it! And we have some resources that can help you get started. So put your plans to make millions off NFTs this year on hold, because investing in skills development is a near sure-fire way to improve your prospects and advance in your career. Here are some ways to expand your career possibilities with cloud computing skills.
Cloud skills are in high demand
Cloud computing skills are among the most in-demand skills in technology today and employers’ demand for cloud-skilled workers continues to outpace the supply. According to a 2021 jobs report by The Linux Foundation, cloud and containers technology skills top the list of those most in demand by hiring managers and developers around the world.
As you might suspect, being so popular with employers comes with plenty of perks.
- Cloud engineer is one of the 50 best jobs in America according to Glassdoor, which took into consideration average salaries, job satisfaction, and the number of posted job openings.
- As of January 2022, Indeed lists the average base salary of a cloud engineer at over $118,000 USD, with commonly reported perks including unlimited time off and a $10,000 USD annual bonus.
Best of all, anyone can learn cloud computing. Even if you have no technical experience, you can go from being a novice to a practicing cloud pro faster than you might think. It all starts with getting some hands-on practice under your belt.
How do I start a career in cloud computing?
Start learning! If you’re just beginning, a logical first step is the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner (CCP) certification. This is an entry-level certification with Amazon Web Services (AWS), the market leader in public cloud. This cloud certification is ideal for people with little to no tech experience. Studying for this certification with the right AWS training for beginners will help you quickly get up to speed on the fundamentals of cloud computing.
Check out this on-demand YouTube livestream to see a panel of cloud pros give a crash course on what you need to know to start working towards a better career in cloud.
Do I need to have technical skills to learn cloud computing?
Anyone can learn cloud! While technical or development skills can help you find your cloud footing more easily, they are by no means a necessity.
Regardless of where you’re starting from, one of the biggest advantages you can have when reskilling is the ability to jump in and learn with curiosity and open-mindedness. In technology, the landscape is always shifting and the tools are constantly evolving. The core skill and your best asset in a cloud career is your willingness to learn.
You should also know that many people make a mid-career jump to a cloud career without a technical background. The right beginner-level resources will help you get up to speed in no time. And while you may feel at a slight technical disadvantage initially, you’ll eventually be at an advantage as you won’t have to spend time unlearning old bad cloud habits!
Is there free training for learning cloud skills?
Speaking of “hands-on”, nothing will help you learn cloud faster than getting your hands dirty in real cloud environments. For free or low-cost projects that will help build your cloud skills, check out the Cloud Resume Challenge and the #CloudGuruChallenges.
Which cloud platform should I start with?
When it comes to cloud platforms, most learners start with Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, or Google Cloud (GCP). Ask yourself what you’re trying to achieve by learning cloud. For instance, if you’re working within an organization that runs on Azure, then go with Azure. Learning the platform you’re most likely to encounter in your current organization is a recipe for moving up and finding success.
But that’s not to say that you wouldn’t benefit from learning other clouds too. You can always deepen your cloud knowledge by exploring other platforms with a goal of building up multi-cloud fluency.
Curious about the differences between AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud? Check out the Cloud Provider Comparisons series to see how each cloud measures up.
How do I land my first job in cloud computing?
When it comes to the best way to find a cloud job, there’s a lot to consider. But here are three quick-and-dirty pro tips to help you get started.
- Position yourself in a new niche instead of an established one
Circumvent the no experience problem by choosing a cloud area that’s new enough that no one has much experience in it. You don’t have to become an expert in an entire ecosystem — just focus on a specific tool or service with a lot of buzz around it.
- Raise your own profile in the community
As you’re building your cloud credentials, write about what you’re learning in real time. Choose a developer blogging platform with a built-in network, like Hashnode or dev.to. You can write about new product features you’re excited about and give kudos to feature creators. (Don’t forget to tag them!) Engage with influencers in your particular niche on Twitter, Discord, and Slack to build your network and credibility.
- Network (even if you’re an introvert) and don’t be afraid to ask for referrals
You can easily use asynchronous channels to DM someone who works at a company you’re interested in and ask if they have any open positions or (better yet) if they’ll refer you. (Don’t fee like you’re putting them out: they’re likely incentivized to make referrals.) Even if the initial response is “no” the act of connecting can be the beginning of a fruitful relationship. Just be sure to provide links to your writing or open-source projects. You never know when an opportunity that fits your skill set will come up. But if no one knows who you are, they can’t offer it to you!
Do I need cloud certifications?
Many people wonder how many certifications they need to get a cloud job. The answer for your particular circumstance could be zero. But there’s certainly value in cloud certifications.
For example, certifications can help better position you during the hiring process. In a recent 2021 Open Source Jobs Report, 88% of the hiring managers surveyed said that certifications are important when evaluating resumes or CVs. When hiring managers have hundreds of applicants to review, a certification can be a main screening criteria for separating out the best candidates.