How to Learn Cloud Computing: 5 Steps to Get Started

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Thinking about a career in cloud computing? Here’s what you need to know to start learning cloud computing today.

[Featured Image] A man works on a laptop computer in an office.

Cloud computing is what makes remote work possible. As more and more businesses move onto the cloud to perform their day-to-day tasks, the need for cloud computing professionals grows. 

Wondering how to start learning cloud computing? In this article, you’ll explore how to learn cloud computing and the exact topics you’ll need to understand to join the field. At the end, you’ll find cost-effective online courses that can help you do it. Let’s get started. 

What is cloud computing? 

Cloud computing uses the internet to remotely access computer servers that house data and run computer programs from afar. Rather than forcing users to be connected to local servers that are physically near them, cloud computing leverages the internet to enable users to access databases and computer programs from anywhere in the world with an internet connection. 

Today, many organizations rely on cloud computing for their business needs due to its cost-efficiency, scalability, and the collaborative opportunities it provides workers worldwide. Unsurprisingly, then, cloud computing is a growing field. According to research published by Statista, the market size for cloud applications is projected to reach $168.6 billion by 2025, or several times larger than its 2015 size of just $47.3 billion [1]. 

The growing reliance on cloud computing means that many organizations require information technology (IT) professionals, such as cloud engineers and cloud architects, who are familiar with the technology to build, implement, and maintain it. 

Read more: What is Cloud Computing? 15 FAQs for Beginners

Types of cloud computing 

There are three primary types of cloud computing that organizations typically rely on to achieve their business goals. These are: 

• Private clouds: The cloud resources are used exclusively by the organization itself, which either stores them on-premises at its own location or has them hosted by a third-party service provider. As a result, the organization has access to a private network that is supported by infrastructure dedicated solely to them.

• Public clouds: The cloud resources are owned and managed by a third-party service provider, such as Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud,  who deliver their services over the internet to their clients. All infrastructure, hardware, and services are owned by the cloud provider and shared by all their clients, who access their data using an online portal. 

• Hybrid clouds: An organization uses both a public and private cloud, depending on its needs. In particular, organizations that work with sensitive data may use a private cloud to ensure its safety while still using a public cloud for less sensitive work.


How to learn cloud computing 

To become a cloud computing professional, you’ll need knowledge of the systems and software that make it possible. Whether you already have some existing knowledge or want to learn cloud computing from scratch, here’s what you can do to get started in the field: 

1. Assess your knowledge base. 

When starting a new undertaking, assessing the skills and knowledge base you already have is important to plot a course that helps you achieve your goals.  As a result, take stock of your current skills and those you’ll have to develop further. Don’t be discouraged if you have to learn everything from scratch. There are many resources available on Coursera and elsewhere that can help you gain the knowledge you need to know as a cloud computing professional. 

As a professional in the field, you’ll need to possess knowledge of: 

2. Learn the fundamentals. 

Once you’ve assessed how much you already know, it’s time to start learning the fundamentals of cloud computing. The precise topics you delve into will be directed by the skills you possess and those you need to develop. Don’t be discouraged if you have much to learn. By focusing on the fundamentals of cloud computing first, you’ll build a broad understanding of the field that will set you up for success when you dive into more complex topics later. 

At this stage, you’ll explore foundational cloud computing concepts such as: 

  • The three main service models for cloud computing: Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). 

  • The four main deployment models used for the cloud: public, private, hybrid, and community clouds. 

  • Cloud computing architecture, such as virtual machines and bare metal servers. 

  • The four main types of cloud storage: object, direct attached, file, and block storage. 

  • The basics of cloud computing platforms. 

Read more: What Programming Language Should I Learn?

3. Secure your grasp of cloud security.

Ensuring the safety and security of data stored within the cloud is an integral part of being a cloud computing professional. While ensuring the protection of all the data owned by an organization is important, some information – like health care records – is especially important to protect. This information must remain confidential according to the law, so any data breaches may result in a legal violation against the organization itself rather than just those bad actors who accessed it.

Some of the cloud security protocols you should consider exploring include: 

  • Encryption

  • Identity and access management (IAM)

  • Multi-factor authentication (MFA)

Read more: Cloud Data Security in 2023: Dangers, Safeguards, and More

4. Explore emergent trends.

Cloud computing is an evolving field. As new technologies are developed, new ways of deploying, implementing, and maintaining cloud computing inevitably open up. As a result, it’s important that you keep up with emerging technologies and trends that will impact the field. This ensures that you provide organizations with the most up-to-date cloud computing technologies to ensure their efficiency and security in an ever-evolving landscape.   

Some of the cloud computing trends you should consider exploring include: 

  • Hybrid multi-clouds

  • Serverless computing 

  • Microservices 

  • Cloud-native apps 

5. Explore careers.

Once you’ve gained a strong grasp of the fundamentals of cloud computing, cloud security, and the emerging trends in the field, it’s time to explore the cloud computing careers you might consider pursuing. Each career will require you to deepen your understanding of a different aspect of cloud computing, so it’s important to focus on a career path that appeals to your interests. 

Some of the careers you might consider pursuing include:

  • Cloud support associate

  • Cloud engineer

  • Cloud architect 

  • Cloud network engineer

  • Cloud administrator

  • Cloud security analyst 

Read more:  Cloud Computing Salary: Your 2023 Guide

Learn cloud computing on Coursera 

Cloud computing is an exciting and rewarding career. If you’re considering pursuing a career as a professional in the field, you might consider taking an online cloud computing course or specialization through Coursera.

You can start preparing for an entry-level cloud computing job today by enrolling in the Microsoft Cloud Support Associate Professional Certificate program. In just two months, you can gain cloud support diagnostic skills and practice using industry-standard tools like Microsoft Azure while earning an employer-recognized certificate from Microsoft.

In IBM’s Introduction to Cloud Computing course, you’ll learn about essential characteristics of cloud computing and emerging technologies supported by the cloud. You’ll explore cloud service models, including Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), and public, private, and hybrid deployment models.

You’ll also discover the offerings of prominent cloud service providers AWS, Google, IBM, Microsoft, and others, and learn about cloud adoption, blockchain, analytics, and AI.

Article sources

  1. Statista. “Cloud applications market size worldwide from 2013 to 2025,” Accessed September 26, 2023.

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