10 min read

How to Become a Cloud Solution Architect: Your Career Pathway

The author of this article is tech expert Pieter Murphy.

In recent years, demand for cloud architects has risen dramatically. The primary reason is that an increasing number of businesses across nearly every sector are embracing these solutions to streamline operations, reduce costs, and access cutting-edge solutions. That’s what makes the cloud career path so enticing to professionals looking for lucrative opportunities.

Whether you’re preparing to enter the workforce for the first time or want to switch careers to cloud computing, you can become a cloud solution architect and have a successful career. Here’s how to make it happen.

The Role of a Cloud Architect

Before launching a career in cloud computing and becoming a cloud architect, it’s helpful to understand the role of these professionals in the workplace. Cloud architecture is relatively comprehensive, comprised of the front-end platform, back-end platform, cloud-based delivery system, and involved network. Each of those components is a critical part of the equation, so professionals operating in the field need a solid understanding of them all to excel.

In the broadest sense, the role of cloud architects is to design the necessary architecture for projects, solutions, and company operations. Often, they outline the technical requirements and map out the needed systems. They also align their approach with organizational strategies and needs, ensuring the resulting cloud environment is suitable.

Key Responsibilities and Typical Day-to-Day Tasks of a Cloud Architect

The key responsibilities and daily tasks of cloud architects can vary depending on an employer’s needs. However, specific duties and activities are common among professionals in the field. Some widely shared responsibilities include:

  • Outlining cloud usage best practices
  • Discussing business goals and roadblocks to identify cloud technology solutions
  • Oversee cloud governance
  • Factor in cybersecurity and compliance needs
  • Plan for risk mitigation
  • Estimate cloud infrastructure costs and align solutions with organizational budgets
  • Design cloud infrastructure in accordance with company needs
  • Implement cloud solutions to meet organizational goals

responsibilities of a cloud solution architect

Required Skills to Become a Cloud Architect

Many professionals wonder, “How long does it take to become a cloud architect?” The answer to that question can vary based on several factors. For example, the current level of relevant knowledge and experience a person possesses is part of the equation, as the path to become a cloud architect from scratch is longer than what a professional in an adjacent field may encounter.

By understanding what skills are necessary to become a cloud solutions architect, it’s often easier to estimate the road ahead. With that in mind, here’s a look at the essential technical skills and soft skills professionals in the field typically must possess.

Essential Technical Skills

An array of technical skills is necessary if you want to start a career as a cloud solution architect. Among the most fundamental are cloud platforms and cloud environment options. An understanding of managing and implementing cloud services using the most popular platforms – including Microsoft Azure Cloud, AWS Cloud, and the Google Cloud platform – is critical for career success, though having a solid grasp of just one is potentially enough to get your career moving. Familiarity with networking concepts like HTTP, TCP/IP, and DNS is also essential.

Experience designing and deploying network infrastructures is a common requirement for jobs in this field. Many of the core principles are the same, so this type of relevant experience is considered valuable by most employers. The same is true of storage infrastructures and technologies, as they play a critical role in the broader equation.

As with many technical jobs, an understanding of specific programming languages is beneficial. For cloud architecture roles, Java typically provides the most value, though Python and C# are also worth exploring. Familiarity with SQL is similarly helpful, particularly since database management systems are common targets for a cloud transition.

Knowledge of the operating systems – such as Windows, Linux, and Unix – present within the environment is similarly essential. Additionally, an in-depth understanding of cloud security is vital. With those skills, professionals can create cohesive, efficient solutions that protect privacy and safeguard data, leading to better results.

Among the other crucial skill areas is familiarity with cloud-based applications. That knowledge helps make sure that any designed systems are optimal for the applications running on them, leading to greater organizational efficiency.

Knowledge of server virtualization, large-scale data center deployments, and disaster recovery strategy can serve as a differentiator, particularly during the earlier stages of your career. Finally, don’t overlook the benefits of knowing how to create effective documentation, as that’s a skill that employers typically appreciate.

Soft Skills

While becoming a cloud solution architect requires a number of technical skills, it’s critical not to overlook soft skills when preparing for these positions. Working in a professional cloud architect role is easier if you have characteristics and traits that help you navigate workplaces and engage with others effectively. Additionally, specific soft skills boost your performance, making it easier to advance your career.

Collaboration and communication skills are two of the most widely sought soft skills by employers. Those allow you to work effectively with cross-departmental teams and stakeholders. The ability to make complex technical information easy for non-tech-savvy people to understand similarly provides ample value, so make sure to develop that capability.

Creativity, problem-solving, and critical thinking are also musts if you want a successful career. Those characteristics help you overcome obstacles and find workable solutions to unexpected issues, making you more effective in your position.

Organization and planning skills are also worth honing. Those support better time management, increasing the odds that you can finish your tasks in a timely manner and deliver the necessary results.

Leadership, delegation, and decision-making are three more critical soft skills, particularly for those further into their careers. They make you more effective if you’re managing a project, ensuring you can properly guide a team and allocate tasks to enhance efficiency.

Finally, don’t overlook the power of business acumen. Being able to keep the company’s needs and goals in mind when designing solutions makes providing the most substantial return on investment (ROI) possible easier to achieve, which is why professionals with this skill are highly sought.

Educational Background

One of the critical steps to become a cloud architect with no experience is to have the right educational background. Formal training in cloud computing, programming, and network architecture ensures you have the necessary foundation, making it easier to secure your first position in the field.

If you’re wondering, “Do I need a degree to become a cloud architect?” the answer is, “It depends.” While having a college degree is a surefire way to gain a solid understanding of the field and many of the required skills, cloud engineers can take other paths, too.

Here’s a look at a few of the educational backgrounds that can set you up for career success.

Recommended Education

Generally, the most straightforward educational option for aspiring cloud architects is to earn a Bachelor’s degree in a closely allied major. Computer science is usually the strongest choice, as it’s widely available and covers many of the core skills and concepts. However, if you find an accredited school offering a degree that specializes in cloud architecture or computing, it could be a solid alternative.

If you’re curious about the roadmap to become a cloud architect without a degree, one of the alternatives is to explore boot camps that cover cloud technologies and cloud-based solutions. Boot camps are highly-targeted, often-accelerated educational options that can work in lieu of a traditional degree.

Some professionals also use self-directed learning to gain the necessary foundation. With this, you can use online resources, books, or similar tools to acquire the needed skills. Just make sure that you also have a suitable portfolio developed as you move forward with your studies, as that can help showcase your skills to employers, making it easier to land a position.


If you want to become a high-earning cloud architect, certifications are one of the best ways to increase your earning potential. To become a certified cloud architect, you need to explore the various cloud architect certification options available.

Many of the certifications focus on specific cloud platforms or solutions. For example, the AWS Certified Solutions Architect is a solid choice for professionals focused on AWS. The Microsoft Certified Azure Solutions Architect option is ideal for Microsoft environments, while the Google Professional Cloud Architect works for Google-oriented workplaces.

As part of the process to become certified, you’ll need to complete the associated certification exam. What’s required to qualify for the test depends on the exact certification you’re after. Some require a minimum number of years of experience using the solutions and designing systems, while others may not.

Once you’re eligible, it’s wise to study for the exam specifically. With preparation, it’s far easier to pass on the first try, allowing you to quickly add a career-boosting credential to your resume.

The Importance of Continuous Learning and Staying Updated with the Industry Trends

While you can become a cloud architect with a base education and relevant experience, if you want a successful career as a cloud professional, continuous learning needs to be part of your mindset. Industry trends change over time. Additionally, new technologies emerge on a regular basis. By focusing on ongoing training, you ensure your relevancy over time, and that boosts your position as a professional.

For continuing education, there are several viable approaches. Taking courses that cover new technologies is always a wise move, as well as pursuing more advanced certifications. However, a more casual approach can work well.

Following industry trendsetters and thought leaders can expose you to new ideas, leading to a broader perspective. Attending conferences can have a similar positive impact. You can also engage in online forums or communities to learn from others as well as take on personal projects to build skills as you’re able.

It’s also wise to explore learning opportunities through your employers. Many offer training through e-learning programs or learning management systems (LMSs). Finding a mentor can open new doors, as well as taking stretch projects that lead to ongoing skill development.

cloud architect skills

How to Get Practical Experience to Become a Cloud Architect

You can become a cloud infrastructure architect without direct experience, but it’s much easier if you can develop a strong background that involves practical application. While on-the-job experience is typically the most straightforward option, some alternatives can work, too.

Here are some ways to get the practical experience you need to become a good cloud architect.

Working on Personal Projects

To demonstrate an understanding of cloud applications and systems, personal projects are a flexible option that works well if you’re not currently in the field. You can explore various skill areas on your own time. Plus, anything you create is a suitable addition to a professional portfolio, giving you examples you can share with prospective employers.

If you’re not sure where to begin, you can search online for personal project ideas. There are many resources that specifically outline options that are suitable for beginners, making them a wise starting point. Some of the most widely recommended options include developing a cloud-based web application using a popular platform, building a personal cloud storage solution, or creating a disaster recovery solution.


If you want to become an enterprise cloud architect, an internship is an excellent way to build relevant experience. You’ll engage with other professionals in a real workplace, allowing you to use your skills in ways that are relevant to employers.

As a bonus, internships are broadly viewed as training experiences. You’ll get ample guidance and support throughout your journey, which can make this approach easier than some self-directed alternatives.

Plus, internships can open doors. You’ll build your professional network while in the role and get your foot in the door at a company that could become your long-term employer if a suitable opening is available.

Open-Source Projects

Working on open-source projects is another option for honing your capabilities. The benefit here is that you may be able to engage with other professionals during the journey. Along with providing guidance – giving you a chance to learn from their expertise – you can review code and other features of the open-source solution, creating another pathway to boost your skillset.

Dive Into a Professional Network

Your professional network is a valuable tool, one that can help you find job opportunities, locate a mentor, and receive guidance from seasoned professionals. While developing your network may seem tricky, there are several approaches that can accelerate the process.

First, consider places where you have connections. For example, college alumni often join each other’s networks, as they have a school in common. Connecting with individuals you engage with regularly on forums is another excellent option, as you already have a relationship.

If you complete an internship, add colleagues and managers from that experience to your network, too. You can also join professional organizations to find new connections that could provide value.

How to Get Your First Job as a Cloud Architect

Getting the job you need to become a cloud architect is reasonably straightforward. Often, you’ll need to focus on entry-level opportunities that align with your skills, education, and experience level. Several strategies work well, including exploring large or niche job boards, connecting with recruiters on social media, and tapping your network for assistance.

Once you find a suitable match, you want to create a targeted resume or CV. Review the job requirements and identify keywords to include in your application. Then, update your professional summary, skills list, work history, and other sections to feature those terms to position yourself as the strongest possible match.

As you apply for open positions, prepare for upcoming interviews. Rehearse answers to common job interview questions to increase your comfort level with the material. That way, you can deliver your replies seamlessly and confidently when you meet with hiring managers.

Potential Career Prospects and Growth

The available career options for cloud architects are more varied than some professionals may expect. Some potential jobs to consider include:

  • AWS Cloud Solutions Architect
  • Azure Cloud Architect
  • Cloud Engineer
  • Cloud Security Architect
  • Cloud Support Associate
  • Google Cloud Architect
  • Service Cloud Architect

As mentioned previously, professionals in this field are in high demand. As a result, there’s ample room for ongoing career growth, including opportunities for advancement.

Resources and Reading for Cloud Architects

There are plenty of online resources and books available that can hone new skills, increase your knowledge of a particular cloud platform, and more. If you want to enhance your capabilities, here are some options to consider:

Online Resources



Whether you’re preparing for your first cloud architect job or are working to advance your cloud architect career, there are options available. By having the right education, you can get your foot in the door. Then, by gaining experience and earning certifications, you can elevate your position as a professional, leading to a successful career long-term.

Make sure to use the information above to your advantage. That way, you can keep yourself moving in the right direction.

The views expressed in the articles on this site are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of Anywhere Club or its members.