IT Careers: Cloud Computing

Cloud-related jobs are among the fastest-growing jobs within the tech industry, as LinkedIn reported (opens in a new window) the field has a growth rate of 30 percent year over year. In 2023, the global cloud business accounted for an estimated $591.8 billion dollars. That number is only expected to grow significantly, with an estimate of $832.1 billion in global cloud business by 2025.

The value of a degree and certifications

So, what are employers looking for? Well, firstly, they are looking for degrees in either computer science, cybersecurity, or cloud computing. Numerous Washington colleges offer associate degree or certificates in cloud computing. For example, Edmonds College (opens in a new window) , Renton Technical College (opens in a new window) , and Bates Technical College (opens in a new window) all offer associate degrees specifically in Cloud Computing. Additionally, many other colleges offer certificates that equip students with cloud computing skills, such as the Cloud Architecture and Services certificate at Bellevue College (opens in a new window) .

Outside of an actual degree, employers also look for tech-related certifications, widely offered by bigger tech companies like Amazon (via AWS), Microsoft, Google and Oracle. AWS offers 13 total certifications with the foundational course among the most popular, the Cloud Practitioner certification. Most students complete the Cloud Practitioner cert (opens in a new window) in the recommended six-month time frame, although individual results may vary.

Cloud skills and job roles

In terms of skills sought for cloud computing positions, employers are looking for multiple competencies, most importantly foundational technology abilities in programming languages (Java, JavaScript & Python) and database management (SQL & Linux). In addition to basic technology skills, tech employers value familiarity with AI and the ability to make data-informed insights, as well as experience with cloud technology. These same employers also value general skills like flexibility, curiosity and analytical thinking.

According to Amazon, some of the more popular tech-specific cloud roles include Architect, Engineer, Security, Developer and Development and Operations. There are many non-tech roles with the cloud industry: Risk and Compliance, Human Resources, Finance, Sales and Training & Curriculum. Basic competencies expected for all of these roles include foundational cloud learning, industry knowledge, communication and the ability to learn (or being self-driven).

The cloud and higher education

A Forbes article (opens in a new window) provided insight into how cloud computing can assist IT departments, specifically those in higher education. With organizations facing budgetary constraints, cloud computing can help as it shifts large capital expenditures to pay-as-you-go cloud resources, which saves costs and spreads costs over time. Many institutions face aging infrastructure, which cloud computing would help with as hardware and software responsibilities shift to the cloud rather than physical infrastructure. Finally, the attack surface becomes centralized with the cloud as it provides tightly integrated solutions with one provider rather than a number of separate providers.

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