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The 7 Most Important Cloud Engineering Skills in 2023

Written By April Bohnert | May 22, 2023

The cloud computing industry has experienced tremendous growth over the past decade, with businesses of all sizes embracing the cloud for its flexibility, scalability, and cost-effectiveness. The availability of cloud-based solutions has enabled companies to operate in a more agile and efficient manner, allowing them to focus on innovation and growth rather than managing their own infrastructure. As a result, the demand for skilled cloud engineers has skyrocketed, with companies eagerly seeking individuals who can design, implement, and manage cloud-based solutions that meet their unique needs.

The pace of innovation in the cloud shows no signs of slowing down either, with new tools and services being introduced on a regular basis. In fact, Gartner forecasts worldwide public cloud end-user spending to reach nearly $600 billion in 2023. As more companies shift to the cloud, the demand for cloud engineering skills continues to rise, making it crucial for tech professionals to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies in the field. In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the most important cloud computing skills that will be in high demand in 2023, providing insights for both hiring managers and tech professionals alike.

Cloud Security

With more and more data being stored in the cloud, security is becoming a top priority for organizations, making this one of the most critical skills for cloud engineers to possess in 2023. As companies continue to move their operations to the cloud, they must ensure that their data and systems are secure from threats such as hacking, data breaches, and cyber attacks. Cloud security encompasses a range of best practices, technologies, and principles that are designed to protect cloud-based assets from these types of threats.

Key cloud security principles include:

  • Identity and access management, which ensures that access is only granted to authorized users
  • Data encryption, which is the process of encoding sensitive data to protect it from unauthorized access
  • Network security, which involves securing the communication channels between cloud-based assets and users; 
  • Threat management, which allows cloud engineers to monitor and respond to potential threats to cloud-based assets, such as malware or denial-of-service attacks.

Cloud engineers have a variety of tools and technologies at their disposal to manage security. This includes firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and security information and event management (SIEM) systems. Combined, these technologies help engineers prevent unauthorized access to cloud-based assets, monitor network traffic to identify potential threats, and collect and analyze security-related data from multiple sources, providing a comprehensive view of potential security issues.

Cloud Architecture

Cloud architecture, which refers to the design and structure of cloud-based systems, components, and services, is another essential skill for cloud engineers to have in 2023. 

Some of the key principles of cloud architecture include scalability, availability, reliability, and performance. These principles ensure that the cloud system is able to remain operational in the event of failures or disruptions, handle workloads efficiently, perform consistently over time, and handle increasing amounts of traffic or data without compromising performance.

To achieve these key principles, cloud architects design systems that make use of the appropriate cloud-based services and resources. These might include compute resources like virtual machines, storage resources like object storage or block storage, or networking resources like virtual private clouds or load balancers. Cloud architects must also ensure that these resources are configured and optimized to meet the needs of the system they are designing.

Some of the key cloud architecture technologies and tools cloud engineers should be familiar with include:

  • Infrastructure as code (IaC) tools, like Terraform
  • Containerization platforms, particularly platforms like Docker or Kubernetes
  • Serverless computing services, which allow developers to focus on writing code without worrying about underlying infrastructure.

Automation and Orchestration

As more companies move to the cloud, the complexity of cloud-based systems is increasing. This means that there are more moving parts to manage and deploy, which can be time-consuming and error-prone if done manually. Automation and orchestration skills are critical for managing these complexities. 

Cloud automation is the process of automating the deployment, scaling, and management of cloud-based systems. With cloud automation, tasks that would normally require manual intervention, such as provisioning servers or deploying code, can be automated, saving time and reducing the risk of human error.

Cloud orchestration takes this one step further by automating the management and coordination of complex cloud-based systems. With cloud orchestration, engineers can manage and coordinate the interactions between different cloud-based services and applications, making it easier to deploy and manage complex systems.

To become proficient in cloud automation and orchestration, engineers should have experience with scripting languages like Python or PowerShell, as well as knowledge of configuration management tools like Ansible or Puppet. Familiarity with cloud-based orchestration tools like Kubernetes or Docker Swarm is also important.

Cloud Cost Optimization

As companies move to the cloud, they’re realizing the benefits of cost savings and scalability. However, as cloud usage increases, so do the costs. Cloud computing can be expensive, and if not managed properly, costs can quickly spiral out of control.

That’s where cloud cost optimization comes in. It’s the process of optimizing cloud costs to ensure that organizations get the most value out of their cloud investments. With cloud cost optimization, engineers can identify areas where costs can be reduced or eliminated, while still ensuring that cloud-based systems are meeting the needs of the organization.

One important cost optimization principle is the use of reserved instances or committed use contracts. These allow organizations to commit to a certain amount of cloud usage over a period of time, which can result in significant cost savings.

Another important principle is the use of autoscaling. Autoscaling allows organizations to automatically increase or decrease resources based on demand, ensuring that they’re only paying for what they need. This can result in significant cost savings, especially during periods of low demand.

Engineers should also be familiar with cloud cost management tools, such as AWS Cost Explorer or Google Cloud Billing. These tools can help engineers identify areas where costs can be reduced or eliminated, and provide insights into cloud usage patterns and trends.

To become proficient in cloud cost optimization, engineers should have a deep understanding of cloud usage patterns and trends, as well as a strong understanding of cloud pricing models and cost management tools. Familiarity with scripting languages like Python or PowerShell can also be helpful with optimizing costs.

Cloud Migration

Cloud migration is the process of moving data, applications, and other business elements from an organization’s on-premises infrastructure to the cloud. It involves several phases, including assessment, planning, execution, and optimization, and it requires an in-depth understanding of both the current infrastructure and the target cloud environment.

One of the most critical cloud migration skills is the ability to assess the current infrastructure and determine which applications and workloads are best suited for migration. The assessment phase involves analyzing various factors, such as data security requirements, regulatory compliance, and performance metrics. A cloud engineer with migration skills can also identify any potential issues that may arise during migration, such as compatibility issues, data loss, and service disruptions.

Once the assessment phase is complete, the cloud engineer can begin the planning phase. This phase involves developing a detailed migration plan that includes timelines, resource requirements, and a risk management strategy. Cloud engineers should be able to help organizations choose the right cloud provider, select the appropriate migration tools, and develop a strategy for testing and validating the migration plan.

The execution phase is where the actual migration takes place. Cloud engineers oversee the migration process, monitor progress, and troubleshoot any issues that arise. They should also provide regular updates to stakeholders, manage any change requests, and ensure that the migration is completed on time and within budget.

Cloud Analytics

Cloud analytics is an important skill for cloud engineers because it allows them to extract valuable insights and knowledge from the data collected by cloud-based applications and systems. With the ability to harness the power of data, organizations can optimize their operations, make data-driven decisions, and gain a competitive advantage.

To put it simply, cloud analytics refers to the process of collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data generated by cloud-based systems. This data can include user behavior, performance metrics, and usage patterns, among other things. With cloud analytics, organizations can use this data to monitor their systems, detect issues and anomalies, and identify opportunities for improvement.

Some of the key cloud analytics tools and technologies that cloud engineers should be familiar with include cloud-based data warehouses such as Amazon Redshift and Google BigQuery, data visualization tools such as Tableau and PowerBI, cloud-based machine learning tools such as Amazon SageMaker and Google Cloud AI Platform, big data technologies such as Hadoop and Spark, as well as machine learning and AI.

In addition to these tools and technologies, cloud engineers should also be familiar with data governance and privacy regulations. Ensuring that data is secure, compliant, and properly managed is critical in the cloud environment and an important piece of the analytics puzzle.

Collaboration and Communication

Collaboration and communication are crucial skills for cloud engineers. The ability to work with other team members, communicate ideas effectively, and provide feedback can make or break a project. Cloud engineers need to be able to explain complex technical issues to technical and non-technical stakeholders, work with cross-functional teams, and coordinate with various departments to ensure that projects are delivered on time and within budget. This requires effective communication skills, the ability to listen actively, and the capacity to work in a team environment.

In addition, cloud engineers need to be skilled at providing feedback to other team members. This feedback may include suggesting improvements, identifying issues, or proposing new ideas. The ability to provide constructive feedback in a way that is both clear and non-confrontational is an essential component of collaboration.

Effective communication skills are also critical when working with non-technical stakeholders, such as business leaders, customers, and vendors. Cloud engineers must be able to explain complex technical concepts in a way that is understandable to these stakeholders. This requires the ability to communicate in plain language, present information clearly, and listen actively.

Key Takeaways

As you can see, cloud computing skills are becoming increasingly important for tech professionals as the demand for cloud services continues to grow. To succeed in this field, cloud engineers need to have a diverse set of skills that go beyond just technical expertise. 

If you’re a hiring manager, make sure to look for candidates who possess these skills, as they will be the ones who can help your organization fully harness the power of the cloud. And if you’re a tech professional interested in advancing your career in cloud computing, now is the time to start building your skills in these areas.

To learn more about the specific skills that are in demand in the cloud computing industry, check out HackerRank’s roles directory.

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