As with all entry-level positions, you can often find yourself struggling to meet entry requirements since you need experience to get the job, but a job to actually gain the experience. This can make getting started in a cloud computing job more challenging, but that does not mean it’s not possible. In fact, there are a number of things you can do to support your entry into a cloud computing career, even if you don’t have any prior experience.
Let’s explore why now’s a great time to get started in a cloud career and just how you can achieve this, without the need for previous professional or academic experience, or a technical background…
- Why work in cloud computing?
- What does a job in cloud computing entail?
- Which cloud skills are most in-demand?
- How to start a cloud career without experience
Why work in cloud computing?
The latest Open Source Jobs Report revealed that 61% of organisations increased their use of cloud technologies in recent years, and cloud skills are now in higher demand than any other area of technology. As such, an increasing number of companies are looking to hire cloud professionals to join their teams and support digital transformation. So, now’s the time to get started in cloud computing and make the most of what the industry has to offer.
Working as a cloud professional, you’ll enjoy an exciting, fast-paced work environment, where there is a lot to learn and each day is different. Cloud computing is constantly evolving, which presents many opportunities to continue upskilling yourself and growing your knowledge base.
Since cloud computing skills are in such high demand, there is huge potential to work on interesting projects, across sectors. This means you can specialise in what you are truly interested in! Likewise, cloud computing roles come with high earning potential and opportunities for career progression into more senior positions - with some experienced cloud engineers earning upwards of £80,000!
What does a job in cloud computing entail?
Working as a cloud computing professional, you will be responsible for all technical aspects involving the cloud, with the overall goal of revolutionising IT processes within a business. Let’s take a look at some of the most common cloud roles…
- Cloud Engineer - A Cloud Engineer is an umbrella term used to describe a professional who holds a variety of roles, such as a Cloud Software Engineer or Cloud Security Engineer. They are responsible for all cloud duties, spanning design, planning, development and maintenance.
- Cloud Developer - Cloud Developers hold a similar role to Software Engineers, however, they are responsible for building software applications that are served on the cloud.
- Cloud Architect - As a Cloud Architect, you are responsible for a company’s cloud strategy, encompassing how cloud will be adopted, designed and managed.
- Cloud Administrator - Working in Cloud Administration, you will provide technical support and cloud-based solutions, across both hardware and software. You will also typically be in charge of migrating businesses from a local infrastructure to the cloud.
- Cloud Security Analyst - A Cloud Security Analyst will conduct risk assessments to ensure that cloud environments are secure from breaches and compliant.
Which cloud skills are most in-demand?
Here are the top skills required to work in the cloud computing industry, and the qualities employers look for most in a candidate:
1. Cloud technologies & platforms
A solid understanding of cloud technologies and platforms is essential if you want to land yourself a job in cloud computing. We recommend familiarising yourself with the most commonly-used cloud service providers, such as AWS, Azure and OpenStack. You should aim to have a well-rounded understanding of each, however, the platform you use in your day-to-day role will depend on your company.
2. Data management & analysis
Data management and analysis are two of the most important skills to have when working in a cloud-based environment, and will be highly desirable among employers. Large datasets are typically hosted on cloud platforms and will require analysis in order to inform decision-making, identify problems in your infrastructure and propose solutions.
“Analytical skills are essential for cloud candidates as there are a wide range of different datasets that will require analysis when working in a cloud-based environment. These include large datasets that are hosted on cloud platforms e.g. business-critical data that is used to make important business decisions, or monitoring data that is used to identify issues with infrastructure performance etc. Candidates will need to be flexible with how they approach as it is so varied and will require different analytical techniques to fully understand, so that good decisions can be made from the outcomes of the analysis.
Interpersonal skills are essential for cloud candidates as cloud environments are complex, so there is a need to collaborate with a wide number of different teams across an organisation. This is for a variety of purposes as well, such as support with technical issues, learning new skills, completing strategic approaches etc. Therefore, candidates need to adapt to different communication styles and ways of working so that they can work effectively with each team.”Daniel Horan, Product Owner - Testing Services, FDM Group
3. Infrastructure as Code (IaC)
Infrastructure as Code, or IaC for short, involves managing computer data centres using configuration files, rather than physical hardware. Managing IT infrastructure comes with many challenges, such as cost, scalability, availability and performance monitoring.
Cloud computing provides a solution to these issues, enabling you to set up infrastructure efficiently and scale your solutions where required, without having to manually change configurations. Instead, you can alter the configuration using code files that you can easily edit and copy, which eliminates room for human error. As such, IaC will be a great skill to have when applying for cloud computing jobs this year. You should consider learning how to use Terraform and AWS Cloud Formation, which are useful IaC software tools and amongst the most commonly used.
DevOps brings development and operations teams together, enabling them to manage the entire software development life cycle and helping companies run much more efficiently. So, how does this feed into the cloud? DevOps Engineers actually use cloud solutions to enable them to do this, therefore, it is important for cloud professionals to be able to identify the best resources required for the specific software at hand.
Cloud DevOps solutions enable businesses to deploy software much faster with minimal errors, since there is less back and forth between teams and everything is accessible in a centralised repository. So, by adding this to your skill set as a cloud professional, you will be able to help businesses implement solutions that are more cost-effective than on-premise solutions - that’s a desirable trait to have!
6. Programming languages
Without a doubt, programmers play one of the most important roles in cloud computing, since they are responsible for building, deploying and managing applications. Taking the time to brush up on your programming skills and learning how to apply these coding languages can give you a competitive edge over other job candidates. Some of the best languages to learn include SQL, Python, XML and .net - each for different purposes and platforms, so do your research and find the language that suits you.
Containerisation refers to the process of software deployment in single packages that include an application’s code, as well as the files and libraries needed to run the app on any infrastructure.
There are many benefits to containerisation and it is predicted to revolutionise legacy systems by providing scalable cloud-native applications. Essentially, containerisation will make it easier to maintain and upgrade applications. It’s not surprising that it is becoming an incredibly popular practice amongst businesses. In fact, with more than half (61%) of businesses already using containerisation within their practices, it is only set to grow and recruiters will be on the lookout for containerisation specialists to support their teams.
As part of this, a good understanding of Docker and Kubernetes is recommended - two of the most prominent tools when it comes to container technology. Docker is a containerisation platform or ‘container engine’ that packages all the libraries and dependencies, so you can move the container seamlessly from one machine to another. Kubernetes, also known as K8s, is a platform for running and managing containers from many container runtimes, such as Docker.
How to start a cloud career without experience
Here are our top seven tips for getting started in a cloud computing career if you do not have any prior experience or a related university degree.
1. Upskill yourself
One of the best ways to get started in any role if you have no experience, is to upskill yourself. We recommend doing your research to identify the necessary skills and begin looking to fill any gaps in your skill set. Everyone has different ways of learning, so you’ll need to find something that works for you - be that signing up for an online course or teaching yourself using online videos or books.
2. Sign up for online courses
The internet is a fantastic place to learn just about anything - cloud included. There are a number of online courses for cloud computing available online, but some of the top beginner courses include:
- AWS Cloud Practitioner Essentials
- AWS Cloud Solutions Architect
- IBM Introduction to Cloud Computing
- IBM IT and Cloud Fundamentals
- Intel Telco Cloud Academy
- Introduction to Virtual Machines in Microsoft Azure
3. Apply for internships
An internship is a type of work placement that enables you to gain entry into a new field of work and take the position of a trainee. It gives you the opportunity to shadow an expert and gain first-hand experience, even if you have zero experience. Internships are a fantastic way to overcome the challenge of needing experience to get a job, but needing a job to gain experience.
However, one thing to note with internships is they can be both paid and unpaid, so you may need to prepare to work for free temporarily.
4. Start an apprenticeship
Apprenticeships are professional learning experiences that involve both practical and theoretical learning in a specific subject area. If you’re looking to get started in cloud computing without experience, a Cloud internship could involve four days a week working for a tech company, and one day per week studying at university. Apprenticeships are fantastic for on-the-job training and can provide you with invaluable experience that is highly desirable among employers.
Read more about the benefits of apprenticeships.
5. Look for a graduate programme
Graduate programmes, also known as graduate schemes, are entry-level positions that many companies offer to recent graduates. In many cases, you will require a degree in a related field if you want the best chance of securing your place in a graduate programme, as they are highly competitive. Yet, this is not always the case. Employers are typically looking for well-rounded candidates with plenty of transferable skills and the right attitude and eagerness to learn. So, a graduate programme could be the perfect path for someone looking to enter the cloud scene, whether you have a tech degree or not.
6. Reach out to your network
Never be afraid to ask for help. Reaching out to your network in person or online, such as on LinkedIn, can be a great way to learn more about the industry you're interested in. Perhaps, you have a family member in the tech industry or a friend who works as a cloud professional. They may be able to help point you in the right direction, refer you for a job, or give you some advice to help you land your dream job. You’ll never know unless you ask!
7. Join the FDM Programme
At FDM, we offer graduates fast-tracked entry to a successful cloud career, complete with expert training programmes and secured work placements with our industry-leading clients. From gathering requirements for cloud-based environments to cloud implementation, our training will cover everything you need to know to get started in a cloud career. We will equip you with the professional skills you need to excel in your career!
We accept candidates with university degrees in any subject, and do not expect any prior experience in cloud or technology. Instead, we look at your potential for the role and the transferable skills you can bring to the table.
If you’re looking to get started in a cloud computing career, but don’t know where to start, then look no further. Check out the FDM Cloud Computing Programme to find out how we can help you upskill yourself and land a role with our renowned clients.