How to Get into Cloud Computing: 7 Steps to Success

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

The cloud computing industry contains some of the most competitive and well-paid jobs in tech. Here’s how to get into cloud computing and find your career fit.

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Cloud computing is a competitive field within tech because it is often well paid and interesting, rewarding work. If you’ve heard of this discipline and have an interest in moving into it, the path is not linear—in fact, many paths can lead you there.

Let’s take a look at what it takes to get into cloud computing. 

What is cloud computing?

Cloud computing is the ability to access applications, networks, analytics, data, and intelligence over the internet instead of through physical servers. This technology allows companies to scale and innovate more efficiently and flexibly. 

Big names such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform (GCP), and Microsoft Azure deliver cloud services to millions of customers.

Read more: What's the Difference Between AWS vs. Azure vs. Google Cloud?

Careers in cloud computing

Careers in cloud computing to consider include the following:

Cloud engineer: A cloud engineer is an IT professional responsible for building and maintaining cloud infrastructure.

  • Average salary: $114,562, [1]

  • Education requirements: A bachelor’s degree in an IT-related field

Cloud architect: A cloud architect designs and implements the framework for cloud-computing solutions.

  • Average salary: $171,422 [2]

  • Education requirements: A bachelor’s degree in an IT-related field

Read more: 6 Cloud Computing Roles (+ Tips to Get Started)

How to get into cloud computing

Here are some steps you can take to embark on the cloud computing career path.

1. Earn a degree in computer science or IT.

A prerequisite for getting a job in cloud computing is having a bachelor’s degree in IT or computer science. Since cloud computing at its heart is about navigating network systems and applications, just on the cloud, these majors prepare you well.

However, don’t fret if you don’t currently have a tech-related degree. Certifications and work experience are just as valuable and important, especially if you don’t want to devote four years toward earning a degree or if you already have a bachelor’s. 

Breakdown of degrees

According to Indeed, 58 percent of cloud engineers have a bachelor's degree, while 25 percent hold a master's. Only 11 percent have an associate degree, while 6 percent have just a high school diploma or GED. [3]


2. Learn cloud computing skills.

To get a job as a cloud engineer, you’ll want to ensure you have a firm grasp on the following cloud computing skills:

  • Programming languages, like Python, R, or JavaScript

  • Cloud service platform knowledge, like AWS, GCP, and Microsoft Azure

  • Database management skills

  • Linux

  • Information security

  • Application Programming Interfaces (APIs)

  • DevOps

These skills can be learned and developed with online courses, many of which are available on Coursera.

Read more: 7 Cloud Computing Skills to Know

3. Get a certification.

Another step in the process of landing a cloud job is to get certified. The Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) certification is a common one for becoming an IT professional and often a good stepping stone for aspiring cloud professionals. 

Read more: What Is the CCNA? An Entry-Level Networking Certification

Once you’ve got several years of IT and network experience under your belt, you might choose to specialize in one cloud service provider. There are additional certifications for AWS, GCP, and Microsoft Azure which demonstrate to potential employers that you can navigate core concepts, solutions, and tools, as well as governance, privacy, and compliance. 

These courses from GCP and Microsoft Azure prepare you for the certification exams:

4. Build your own projects and create a cloud portfolio.

Once you have a feel for what type of projects you’re interested in taking on in the cloud space, you can start building a portfolio. These projects can be those you worked on in an internship, ones you created on your own, or those that you worked on with a client on a freelance basis. 

If you’re already working in the IT field, take the initiative to get involved in cloud-based projects on your team or at your company to develop your skills in a real-life setting. Gather those work examples and put them in a portfolio. Include testimonials if you have them. 

5. Gain some work experience. 

While it’d be nice if everybody who completed a certification and built a portfolio was able to land an internship or entry-level job in cloud computing, these roles are competitive and there are not many of them. Many cloud professionals start out in an IT support or help desk role, then advance into network administration and network engineering for years before they’re ready to switch into a cloud engineer role.

6. Network.

These days, it can be difficult to land a job by applying to them on LinkedIn, Indeed, or a company’s careers page. You might have a higher chance of standing out by connecting with hiring managers. You can do this after you’ve applied, or reach out to cloud professionals you admire on LinkedIn for informational interviews.

Read more: What Is Networking? How to Grow Your Network

Tips for networking 

Search for cloud or tech-related events in your area on Meetup, LinkedIn, and other websites. Chatting with people in person can help you understand the hiring context better by learning from other people’s experiences and career paths. Be open to learning and new opportunities so that you can position yourself as a confident and competent candidate.


7. Apply for jobs.

Finally, you’re ready to apply for jobs. You can do this alongside networking, since the two go hand in hand. Consider applying for or advancing into a cloud role within your organization. Get a referral from someone who works at a company you’d like to work for. 

Make sure your resume includes your relevant job experiences with clear, specific bullet points detailing your impact (with numbers, like percentage of success rate or number of systems supported). Write a cover letter that explains your passion and unique expertise. Work with recruiters who can make a compelling case for you to future employers.

Things can move quickly if your application is chosen. Brush up on your interview skills so you’re ready when the time comes. 

Read more: Job Search Guide: Resources for Your Next Career Move

Learn cloud computing skills today

Start your career in cloud computing with this Introduction to Cloud Computing course from IBM. You’ll gain the fundamentals, understanding the cloud service models and platforms, and be ready to take the next step in your cloud path.

Article sources


Glassdoor. “How much does a Cloud Engineer make?,,14.htm.” Accessed September 28, 2023.

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