Cloud Architect Career Guide: 10 In-Demand Jobs and Skills in 2023

Written by Coursera • Updated on

A cloud architect designs and implements an organization’s transition to cloud computing. Discover how this senior IT role operates and find cloud architect job opportunities.

[Featured image] A cloud architect sits at a desk and works on two computer monitors.

There are several steps you can take early in your career to prepare for a cloud architect role. You’ll need to understand cloud computing fundamentals, the pros and cons of working in the cloud, and how to communicate well with all members of an organization. Use the following guide to learn more about career path options, in-demand skills, and salary insights for cloud architects.

What is a cloud architect?

Cloud computing is the delivery of computing resources like data storage and software via the internet. A cloud architect is responsible for an organization’s cloud computing system. They work with cloud technology to develop cloud adoption plans, determine cloud application design, and create systems for managing, monitoring, and maintaining the cloud system.

What does a cloud architect do?

Cloud architects create, optimize, and maintain cloud computing solutions for clients. These clients can include tech research companies, cloud computing businesses, information technology (IT) providers, or IT departments. A few components of cloud-based solutions that cloud architects work with include:

  • Front-end platforms. Front-end cloud infrastructure includes everything the client will interact with. It's the software that allows users to access the cloud.

  • Back-end platforms. Back-end cloud infrastructure refers to hardware and software components of a cloud system like data storage, servers, virtual machines, hypervisors, and network devices.

  • Cloud-based data delivery models. Cloud computing service vendors typically provide organizations with IT capabilities via one of three major models: Software as a Service (SaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), or Platform as a Service (PaaS)

A day in the life of a cloud architect

Cloud architects usually work with a team of IT professionals such as DevOps engineers and software developers. Together, they help deliver final projects that solve organizations’ private cloud, public cloud, or hybrid cloud computing needs. Specific tasks and responsibilities can include:

  • Designing the cloud environment for a company based on its requirements

  • Monitoring, troubleshooting, and optimizing the cloud environment

  • Collaborating with other technology team members to complete projects

  • Creating cloud-based applications that are efficient and secure

  • Converting the technical requirements of projects into suitable architecture

  • Ensuring cloud solutions and operations like access management are reliable

  • Staying abreast of new technologies and trends in cloud computing 

Are cloud architects in demand?

Gartner predicts a 21.3 percent year-over-year increase in global cloud services in 2023 [1]. This growth is attributed to the growing use of cloud computing worldwide for increased automation and digital agility. Cloud architects belong to the computer and information technology industry. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment in this industry is projected to grow 25 percent from 2021-2031 [2]. This statistic translates into about 682,800 new jobs.

How much do cloud architects make?

For cloud architects, the total pay ranges from $120,000-$335,000 per year. It depends on factors like years of experience, location, industry, and company size. The average annual base salary for cloud architects in the US is $123,588 [3]. According to Glassdoor, cloud architects also report $74,201 in additional wages per year. Additional wages may include bonuses, commissions, or profit sharing.

10 essential skills for cloud architects in 2023

A few technical skills for aspiring cloud architects to master include:

1. Proficiency in popular programming languages like Java, Node.js, PHP, Python, and Ruby on Rails

2. Understanding of how databases, networks, and other critical IT functions work

3. Knowledge of cloud security principles to protect cloud data from unauthorized users and malicious hackers

4. Ability to integrate and automate an organization’s IT system processes

5. Experience working with legacy information systems

6. Strong knowledge of enterprise computing and operating systems (OS) and cloud computing platforms, such as Linux, Windows, Microsoft Azure, and Amazon Web Services (AWS)

7. Basic business skills to aid organizations in developing cloud-based solutions for business requirements

Non-technical or workplace skills for cloud architects include:

8. Effective verbal and written communication skills to share insights with stakeholders of all levels, including entry-level programmers, business managers, project team members, and senior executives.

9. Project management skills to orchestrate cloud migrations and new system integrations seamlessly

10. High-level collaboration skills to assist with several different areas of cloud architecture management

Cloud architect degrees and certifications

If you don't yet have the skills above, don't feel discouraged. You can fill the gaps in your cloud architect skill set with Professional Certificates, online courses, degrees, or graduate certificates. Sixty-six percent of cloud solutions architects have a bachelor's degree, 24 percent have a master's degree, and 6 percent have an associate degree [4]. Most commonly, cloud architects study computer science or business.

Degrees and graduate certificates

The list below outlines a few degree and graduate certificate recommendations for future cloud architects:

Read more: How to Become a Cloud Architect: Degrees, Skills, Jobs, Courses

Cloud architect certifications

The certification process not only builds technical knowledge but shows employers your skills are up to date. Having certifications from a few different cloud vendors may aid you in choosing which is best for the organization that hires you. Choose certifications based on the platforms you are interested in or those required by your current or prospective employer. A few recommended cloud architect certifications include:

Read more: 7 Popular Cloud Security Certifications for 2023

10 Cloud architect jobs

Just like there are many paths to becoming a cloud architect, there’s also more than one type of cloud architect job you can explore. You can create and work with cloud architecture across various areas like app development, cybersecurity, and data management. A few in-demand cloud architect jobs include*: 

1. AWS solutions architect

In this role, you'll design, build, manage, and maintain different solutions and applications in the AWS cloud. You may also move non-cloud systems into the cloud, secure the cloud, and assess the risk of working with third-party cloud providers and platforms.

Average total yearly pay (US): $190,720

2. Azure cloud architect

As an Azure architect, you'll use Microsoft Azure to create and implement cloud solutions, projects, and systems. You may also provide systems support and participate in workshops to ensure everything meets the client’s needs. 

Average total yearly pay (US): $179,851

3. OpenStack architect 

In this role, you'll use OpenStack, a modular open-source cloud infrastructure and platform, to create, design, manage, and maintain cloud solutions. You may work with private or public clouds and use OpenStack to perform network functions like virtualization, among other tasks and duties. 

Average total yearly pay (US): $162,073

4. Cloud network architect

In this role, you'll focus on assessing cloud network environments so you can maximize performance and efficiency while finding any potential gaps. You'll also create and develop strategies for the cloud network, analyze emerging network technologies, and help with any necessary network troubleshooting.

Average total yearly pay (US): $170,077

5. Cloud platform architect

In this role, you may design and deploy cloud platforms and be involved in the implementation process and creating cloud platforms to meet company needs. You also may mentor new members of the team and lead various projects. 

Average total yearly pay (US): $216,643

6. Cloud infrastructure architect 

In this role, you'll oversee the entire cloud ecosystem, including designing and adopting cloud solutions, monitoring the cloud, and negotiating contracts with cloud support and service providers.

Average total yearly pay (US): $209,975

7. Cyber solutions architect

In this role, you'll be responsible for defending the security of cloud-based platforms and applications and taking offensive measures as needed. For example, you may perform penetration testing, oversee changes made to the network, and implement firewalls. 

Average total yearly pay (US): $167,375

8. Junior cloud solutions architect

In this entry-level role, you may create front-end or back-end cloud platforms, cloud network architecture, or cloud delivery systems. You may interact with clients or executives, particularly if you work on front-end platforms. 

Average total yearly pay (US): $187,353

9. Principal cloud architect

As a principal cloud architect, you'll lead in creating the framework, architecture, and design of cloud platforms and solutions. You'll also be able to help other team members by providing technical guidance to ensure each project is completed quickly and effectively, in addition to liaising between the IT and other departments within the organization. 

Average total yearly pay (US): $240,240

10. Senior cloud architect

At the senior level, you'll be expected to have extensive technical knowledge of and skills in various cloud platforms. You'll be tasked with mapping out solutions to improve an organization's growth and customer experience. You may work with cloud engineers and other IT team members to design and deploy cloud computing technologies and manage the cloud.

Average total yearly pay (US): $219,227

*All salary data includes base salary and median additional yearly pay sourced from Glassdoor in January 2023.

Take the next step in your cloud architect career with Coursera

If you're new to the field, consider a beginner-friendly course in cloud computing like Introduction to Cloud Computing offered by IBM.



Introduction to Cloud Computing

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Article sources


US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Occupational Outlook Handbook: Computer and Information Technology Occupations,” Accessed January 13, 2023.

Written by Coursera • Updated on

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.

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