The cloud has become an essential technology, especially as hybrid work and digital transformation become crucial for business success and continuity. Given the immense agility, resilience, and cost savings that the cloud enables, it is hardly surprising to see the market expanding.
The cloud market is expected to reach $1,614.10 billion by 2030 at a healthy CAGR of 17.43%.
Favorably, with the rise of the cloud, the role of the cloud architect has become one of the hottest jobs in tech. This role emerged roughly a decade ago when the cloud was picking up steam and beginning to see enterprise adoption.
In essence, cloud architects have a clear and deep understanding of cloud tools and technologies and help create the best plan for cloud migration and designing, developing, and operating applications in the cloud. Let’s profoundly explore this role.
The Role of a Cloud Architect
Much like an architect for a home, a cloud architect designs and builds environments in the cloud. For instance, the home architect first understands who will live in a house and how they will use it. How many rooms will the home need? Does it need a minimalist form and function? Will industrial design withstand a place with many kids?
Likewise, the cloud architect does the same thing, only with technology. The cloud architect takes the technical requirements of a project into the architecture and design of the cloud. They address complex business problems, advocate for their solutions in the cloud, and employ architectural principles to create the foundation of cloud buildouts.
Skills of a Cloud Architect
Building robust cloud architectures that can capably support enterprise needs today needs a balance of creativity and deep technical expertise in the cloud. As such, a strong background in cloud computing or a similar technical area is a must-have for any cloud architect.
Knowledge of the nuances of cloud technology is critical for this role. A deep understanding of cloud computing and its fundamental advantages and challenges help cloud architects create the right design and avoid potential “gotcha moments.”
Along with cloud knowledge, here are some of the key skills needed for this role.
Knowledge of Cloud Architecture and Design
Cloud architects establish the best practices for cloud usage within an organization. They design and implement the cloud infrastructure. For this, they need to be experts on end-to-end system design and capably identify how technology solves the customer’s problem.
Cloud architects must know how to develop designs that solve a business’s problem. As such, deep knowledge of current and legacy systems in the network and the data center, expertise in migrating these to the cloud, and capably matching these to suitable cloud-based systems is an important skill set.
Data Center and Networking Skills
One of the significant roles of cloud architects is migrating systems on the network and hosted data centers to the cloud. As such, expertise in networking and data center skills becomes crucial.
From routers to load balancers, IP addressing and WAN connections to servers, server virtualization, containers, and storage, the cloud architect needs to understand data center and networking clearly.
Expertise in file-sharing protocols such as Server Message Block for Windows and NFS for Linux are additionally essential skills for cloud architects. They also need to be conversant with security protocols. Understanding firewall IDS/IPS systems and how VPN concentrators work is critical.
Complete knowledge of databases and a deep understanding of how web applications, ERP applications, and supply chain applications work are crucial for succeeding in the field.
Security and Risk Mitigation
The cloud architect must be well-versed with IT security tasks to monitor privacy and develop incident response procedures. They also have to design plans to mitigate risks that security and governance teams could have identified.
Overseeing governance and establishing the rules and standards the cloud environment must stand by also falls within the purview of the cloud architect. As such, they should have the skills to understand the existing cloud security posture, plan the controls and cloud security solutions and create an architecture that protects from potential threats.
Business Acumen and Domain Knowledge
Cloud architects are the architects of digitalization initiatives. They design end-to-end solutions that deliver business transformation. A profound comprehension of how the business works, comprehending what the key stakeholders want from their technology investments, and the multiple ways the technology can help the company are essential skills for cloud architects.
With domain knowledge and business acumen, cloud architects can align their recommendations to business imperatives and the bottom line. This helps them understand the need of the stakeholders and communicate with clarity to non-technical stakeholders.
It’s noteworthy that cloud architects cannot complete their tasks holistically without domain knowledge or business acumen since their role encompasses more than just adding and removing technology.
Strong communication skills are the hallmark of competent cloud architects. Cloud architects have to communicate their concepts and explain their design such that they can secure stakeholder buy-in.
They also work closely with other teams like security, DevOps, etc. Cloud architects, as such, have to capably and clearly communicate their designs to audiences with little and even no technical knowledge. They must provide clear and concrete perspectives about their solution being secure, resilient, cost-efficient, and managed with operational excellence.
The Bottom Line
Along with the aforementioned skills, cloud architects also need industry-relevant technical credentials. Basic programming and software development knowledge, CI/ CD, database, proficiency in at least one operating system (Linux, Unix, Solaris, Ubuntu, Windows), etc., are other key skills.
Not to forget that they should have worked on legacy and business-critical systems and clearly understood the dependencies of legacy and new technologies when they interacted.
Indeed, the role of the cloud architect constantly evolves since they have to serve the utterly dynamic application architectures of today. Their tasks are large in responsibility and have a far-reaching impact since they employ their experience and intuition to build sturdy, reliable, and durable cloud infrastructures.
The above article is authored by Anurag Sinha, Co-Founder & Managing Director, Wissen Technology (Wissen.com)