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What Is A Cloud Architect And How To Become One?

Written by Marius Rimkus
on February 25, 2020

The wave of cloud computing has helped businesses across all industries and niches work smarter, reduce costs and process more data than ever before.

So no wonder that the global public cloud service market is predicted to reach $623 billion by 2023.

As organizations prepare to spend more than $1.3 trillion on IT while making the shift to the cloud, they feel an increasing need for employees who understand cloud technology and the resulting architecture.

Businesses are investing in training and hiring people for dedicated cloud teams to keep up with the proliferation of applications and data centers they need to deal with an ever-increasing workload.

The cloud architect is a relatively new position, but its rapidly growing in demand.


Who is a Cloud Architect?

The primary responsibility of a cloud architect is to oversee a company’s cloud infrastructure –  including its plans, design, management, and monitoring.

A cloud architect acts as a bridge between a company’s business problems and their solutions in the cloud.

They take the technical requirements of a project and convert it into a complex architecture – designed to guide the resulting product. They also often work with DevOps engineers and software developers to ensure the utilization of the right technologies and platforms to ensure a smooth, frictionless cloud ecosystem.


What Does A Cloud Architect Do?

As a de-facto expert of the cloud, a cloud architect is not only at the forefront of every development made in the cloud ecosystem, but they must have ample hands-on experience to put theory into practice.

Cloud architects are equipped with sound technical knowledge about the role of cloud computing and business migration. Additionally, since it is a relatively new niche, we often find former software developers excelling in the role of a cloud architect.

Briefly put, here are some of the major responsibilities of a cloud architect:

  • Plan cloud environments
  • Guide design teams through the development or deployment
  • Understand the concepts of continuous integration and delivery
  • Provide expertise on infrastructure to development teams

However, cloud architects do more than just plan and design environments – they are expected to take complete ownership of their cloud setup all through its life cycle. Architects carry out the initial requirement analysis and ensure that the findings are implemented across the cloud infrastructure.

Then, on the business side of things, these architects are required to figure out how to deliver competitive advantage from the systems and what kind of architecture, integrations, APIs and parts etc. are needed to ensure seamless adoption.

It’s an important job.

That’s why a cloud architect should be an expert at:

Operating Systems

A cloud architect is expected to have sound knowledge about all operating systems, especially Linux, as it is a commonplace occurrence when it comes to cloud computing. Additionally, working knowledge of Solaris, Ubuntu, and Windows would be considered an additional qualification.

Cloud Providers

You must be aware of the most prominent cloud providers in the world of cloud computing. The three giants are Amazon Web Services, the Google Cloud Platform, and Microsoft’s Azure. Just knowing what these cloud providers do is not adequate. As a cloud architect, you must understand not only their systems, workings and benefits. You must have knowledge to work with agnostic free vendors as well, like bare metal cloud on Cherry servers.


Good knowledge about TCP/IP addresses, HTTP, and DNS is essential. As a cloud architect, your job will encompass migration situations since many businesses are interested in infrastructure migration solutions.


How To Become A Cloud Architect?

It’s easier to become a cloud architect when you have a technical background because you’ll need to understand which cloud tools and vendors are best for your organization’s needs.

You’ll be required to negotiate vendor contracts and ensure that the migration team is fulfilling all their responsibilities.

Here are other essential aspects of the journey to your career as a cloud architect:

Make Sure You Have The Necessary Soft Skills

As mentioned earlier, cloud architects work with all kinds of professionals – from technicians to c-level execs, from vendors to end-users and more.

They must have the ability to communicate appropriately and lead all kinds of teams depending on the situation at hand.

If you are an aspiring cloud architect, make sure you develop the following skills:

  • Direct and credible communication skills
  • Policy and business expertise
  • Stellar planning abilities
  • Management experience

These soft skills will make sure that you can integrate into the role faster and more powerfully than others.

Do not concentrate on Certifications

Most wanna-be cloud architects do common mistake. They concentrate on the big vendors and their certifications. Keep in mind, these big cloud vendors lock-in clients and architects within their own tools and infrastructure. If you wish to become a professional cloud architect, concentrate more on agnostic free and open source tools like Redis, Docker, Kubernetes, OpenStack. Cloud architects must have strong technical skills in enterprise computing including infrastructure, programming, web tools, databases, networking, apps. Also consider going deeper into virtualization, storage, computing and backup systems. Basically, you cannot become a cloud architect before having strong general background in IT.


In Conclusion

With the world’s biggest enterprises adapting to the cloud infrastructure for data management and operations, the demand for niche-experts like cloud architects is rising exponentially.

With cloud computing services facilitating millions of businesses – there is a dire need for cloud architects to manage data for companies and enterprises.

However, the ideal candidate must possess acute technical expertise alongside credible certifications to showcase their worth.