Pie in the Sky: Create a Career in Cloud Computing

The cloud isn’t going anywhere. In fact, more and more companies are building their infrastructure around bigger, more expansive cloud services. Take Apple, for example. It’s not giving up on its iCloud service. It’s doubling down with iCloud Drive. Amazon, DropBox, Microsoft, Google – all of these companies are beefing up their offerings and making the cloud more ubiquitous.

If you’ve always wanted a career in IT, now is the time for it, and the demand for cloud computing could be your ticket in.

Cloud computing career
photo credit: Atos

Getting The Training

First comes education. If you’re not too knowledgeable about computing, you’ll want to start with a basic A+ training program as well as possibly some other basic computer classes. A good primer on the Windows operating system is probably in order since this is used in a lot of environments, especially .Net.

You’ll also want to become familiar with Linux and Unix because these platforms are what a lot of servers run on. Finally, you’ll need some cloud-specific training and education.

Network+ is a good start, as this will familiarize you with the basics of networking. If you plan on working in a security role for a company, Security+ is also something you’ll want to take. Organizations, like Simplilearn, offer this type of training, along with cloud computing with AWS – something every cloud-based IT professional should learn.

To get your certification, you’ll have to sign up with Pearson VUE, and schedule an exam (pay the fee, and schedule the exam). Once you pass, you’re ready to go on interviews. If you can manage to get yourself into a job with just the A+ cert, you can earn some money while studying for the other certs and possibly get your company to pay for future exams and training.

You might even earn a promotion for your efforts. It may take you a few months to get the first certification, depending on your familiarity with computers. But, in general, the A+ will be the easiest, followed by Network+.

Tips for Getting a Job

Just because you have a certification doesn’t mean that an employer will hire you. Employers still look for basic job skills, experience, but also look for long-term compatibility. Indeed, it’s difficult and expensive to train employees on company-specific architecture and infrastructure.

Are you an good investment?

A business wants to know that you’re a good investment. So, before you go hunting for a job, make sure that you have an awareness of the application programming and interface, you understand the various platforms and know how to build them for virtualization, and make sure you have your own USP that you can “sell” to your employer.

What’s a USP? It’s a “unique selling proposition.” This is what makes you different from all of the other candidates out there. It’s difficult to develop, because many people will be sharing the same technical skills that you have.

And, you can’t really differentiate yourself with “customer service” or “efficiency” metrics either, since these tend to be generic. In other words, everyone is going to claim they are a great employee and that they’re efficient at what they do.

Cloud working

How’s your problem-solving skill?

If you want a cloud computing job, what you need is a way to demonstrate that you have a unique approach to solving technical problems or that you have a unique approach to handling customer service or tech-specific problems for customers.

Of course, your approach will have to fit in with any company-specific protocol, and many companies tend to have an SOP (standard operations manual) that governs how you perform specific tasks.

But, once you’ve figured out what your USP should be, and why you’d be a value to the company, you need to have a special awareness of solution designing and architecture as well as a general knack for being an explorer.

Are you living in the cloud?

You’re going to have to do more than just “keep up” with cloud technology. You will have to immerse yourself in the culture, read everything you can get your hands on, experiment with infrastructure outside of work, and be comfortable spending your spare time investigating new applications of cloud-based technologies (without pay, and on your own time).

Be familiar with VMware, OpenStack, and other similar platforms, and have the ability to understand how to integrate them into cloud services. An awareness of API will be the most important. Companies rarely use “off the shelf” configurations. This is where customization comes into play. You will be expected to understand them, since nothing in the cloud functions without them.