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

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

A cloud architect designs and implements an organisation’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.

To become a cloud architect there are several steps to prepare you for this 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, learn more about career path options, in-demand skills, and salary insights for cloud architects.

What is a cloud architect?

A cloud architect is responsible for an organisation’s cloud computing system. They work with cloud technology to develop cloud adoption plans, determine the cloud application design, and create systems for managing, monitoring, and maintaining the cloud system. 

What does a cloud architect do?

Cloud architects create, optimise, and maintain cloud computing solutions for clients, such as tech research companies, cloud computing businesses, information technology (IT) providers, or IT departments. The components—or architecture—of cloud-based solutions they will 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. 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 organisations’ cloud computing needs. Specific tasks and responsibilities can include:

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

  • Monitoring, troubleshooting, and optimising 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 

Cloud architect salary 

According to Glassdoor,  cloud architects in the UK earn an average base salary of £89,091 per year [1]. This figure includes additional pay of £10,740, which represent profit-sharing, cash bonuses, or comissions. Individual salary will depend on factors like years of experience, location, and company size.

Are cloud architects in demand?

The cloud computing market is part of the computer and information technology industry. According to the most recent UK Digital Strategy, cloud computing and technology are expected to rapidly expand over the upcoming years thanks to the digitisation of the UK economy and related industries. 

Cloud architect qualifications and certifications 

Becoming a cloud architect requires a combination of education, skill development, and certification. Generally, qualifications in computer science, information technology, cloud computing, or a related field are required to enter this position, and certification is necessary to qualify as a cloud architect. 

Cloud architect coursework

Typical degree coursework you'll complete when learning cloud computing may include:

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

  • 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

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 organisation 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:

  • Google Professional Cloud Architect

  • AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate

  • Microsoft Certified: Azure Fundamentals

  • Google Associate Cloud Engineer

  • IBM Certified Technical Advocate - Cloud v3

  • Linux Professional Institute Linux Essentials

  • CompTIA Cloud+

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 unauthorised users and malicious hackers

4. Ability to integrate and automate an organisation’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

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: 

*All annual UK salary data is sourced from Glassdoor as of July  2023

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 annual salary (UK): £57,098 [2]

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 annual salary (UK): £83,331 [3]

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 virtualisation, amongst other tasks and duties. 

Average annual salary (UK): £77,437 [4]

4. Cloud network architect

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

Average annual salary (UK): £63,284 [5]

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 annual salary (UK): £61,186 [6]

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 annual salary (UK): £101,895 [7]

7. 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 (UK): £82,845 [8]

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 annual salary (UK): £100,953 [9]

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 organisation. 

Average annual salary (UK): £108,862 [10]

10. Senior cloud architect

At the senior level, you'll be expected to have extensive technical knowledge and skills in working with various cloud platforms. You'll be tasked with mapping out solutions to improve an organisation'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 (UK): £131,382 [11]

Next steps

A strong foundation in IT is essential to succeed as a cloud architect. Consider completing the Google IT Support Professional Certificate on Coursera to become job-ready for an entry-level IT position in less than six months. From there, you can begin your career or continue expanding your skill set to enter an exciting role in cloud architecture and related fields. Upon completion, gain exclusive access to resources like resume review, interview prep, and career support. 

Article sources


Glassdoor. "Cloud Architect Salaries in the United Kingdom,,2_IN2_KO3,18.htm?clickSource=searchBtn." Accessed July 25, 2023.

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