Cloud Architect Career Guide: 10 In-Demand Jobs and Skills in 2024

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

A cloud architect designs and implements an organization’s transition to cloud computing. Discover how this senior IT role operates and different 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 an organization’s 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 are reliable

  • Staying abreast of new technologies and trends in cloud computing 

Are cloud architects in demand?

There’s increasing demand for this role. IDC Canada forecasts the cloud service market will grow at a 15 per cent compound annual growth rate by 2024. That’s with the market at about Can $8 billion as of 2020 [1].

How much do cloud architects make?

For cloud architects, the total pay ranges from CA$95,000-$218,000 per year. It depends on factors like years of experience, location, industry, and company size. The average annual base salary for cloud architects in Canada is CA$125,808 [3]. According to Glassdoor, cloud architects also report CA$13,853 in additional wages per year. Additional wages may include bonuses, commissions, or profit sharing.

10 essential skills for cloud architects in 2024

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 coursework

Becoming a cloud architect requires a combination of education, skill development, and certification. Generally, a bachelor's degree in computer science, information technology, information architecture, cloud computing, or a related field is required; certification is always necessary to qualify as a cloud architect. 

Typical coursework you'll complete when pursuing a cloud computing bachelor's degree may include:

  • Cloud computing platforms, such as Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google

  • IT foundations

  • Web and cloud security

  • Web development

  • Scripting and programming

  • IT management

  • Networks

  • Cloud security

  • Cloud application development

  • Scripting in the cloud

Cloud architect certifications

Certification can help you become a cloud architect. A bachelor's degree in cloud computing may include certification in cloud platforms, but different cloud service providers also offer their own certification programs. The certification process builds technical knowledge and shows employers your skills are current. 

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. Some examples of certifications include:

9 Cloud architect jobs

Just as there are many paths to becoming a cloud architect, there are also many types of cloud architect jobs you can explore. You may work with cloud architecture across many areas like app development, security, and data management. A few in-demand cloud architect jobs include: 

*All Canadian annual salary data is sourced from Glassdoor as of January 2024

1. Cloud network architect

In this role, you'll focus on assessing cloud network environments to maximize performance and efficiency while finding 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 annual salary (Canada): $90,771

2. 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 annual salary (Canada): $1,01,845

3. 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 annual salary (Canada): $1,04,239

4. 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 annual salary (Canada): $1,13,613

5. 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 annual salary (Canada): $1,58,598

6. Cyber solutions architect

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

Average annual salary (Canada): $1,27,041

7. 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 annual salary (Canada): $1,41,327

8. Senior cloud architect

At the senior level, you'll be expected to have extensive technical knowledge of and skills in working with 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 annual salary (Canada): $1,47,720

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 help other team members by providing technical guidance to ensure each project is completed reliably and effectively, in addition to liaising between the IT and other departments within the organization. 

Average annual salary (Canada): $1,31,280

Take the next step in your cloud architect career with Coursera

Take the next step toward a career in cloud computing by enrolling in the Starting Your Career with AWS Cloud Specialization on Coursera. This Specialization is taught by industry leaders and provides an overview of cloud fundamentals that are necessary to perform tasks in cloud computing roles. This program offers a hands-on project that uses industry best practices and can be completed at your own pace. Upon completion, gain a certificate to include in your resume, CV, or LinkedIn profile.

Article sources


IDC. “Top Public Cloud Trends in Canada,” Accessed February 1, 2024.

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