Cloud engineer careers
What is a cloud engineer?
Have you ever wondered what a cloud engineer is, how you can get your first job as a cloud engineer or how much a cloud engineer makes? Here is a quick overview of the cloud engineer career path and its exciting job outlook!
Cloud engineers, also called cloud security engineers, work in an organization's engineering or security team. A cloud engineer's primary duty is to deploy infrastructure into the cloud as securely as possible. Cloud engineers are in demand. Research and Markets expect the global cloud computing markets to reach $1.55 trillion by 2030.
What does a cloud engineer do?
A cloud engineer is responsible for securely deploying infrastructure into the company's cloud provider. They will also set up guardrails to ensure others do not deploy insecure infrastructure. Cloud engineer jobs and related roles will depend on an organization's size, industry, compliance and regulatory needs. There is no single cloud engineer description that fits everyone.
Cloud engineer job roles
At smaller organizations, people tend to wear multiple hats and have a more general title, such as information security engineer. Large companies will have entire teams devoted solely to cloud security. That is when you will find the cloud security engineer title.
Related jobs and NICE roles:
- Information security engineer
- Cloud security engineer
- Cybersecurity engineer
NICE work roles:
- Systems testing and evaluation specialist
- Technical support specialist
- Network operations specialist
- System administrator
- Cyber infrastructure support specialist
- Information systems security developer
- Security architect
Cloud engineer job description
Cloud security engineers design, develop, manage and maintain a secure infrastructure leveraging cloud platform security technologies. They use technical guidance and engineering best practices to securely build and scale cloud-native applications and configure network security defenses within the cloud environment.
Cloud engineers must follow what is happening in the industry. They must have a background in other security domains, such as IAM, endpoint security and threat analysis. A cloud engineer must be able and willing to learn while being flexible to adapt to ongoing changes and threats in the industry.
Watch the Cyber Work Podcast clip to understand some of the top challenges facing cloud security professionals.
Cloud engineer FAQs
Cloud security engineers design, develop, manage and maintain a secure infrastructure leveraging cloud platform security technologies. Here are the top questions about this exciting cybersecurity career.
What roles and responsibilities does a cloud engineer typically have?
Cloud security engineer duties are wide in scope. Cloud engineers are responsible for assessing whichever cloud their company is in and recommending how to better secure it. They should also be technical enough to make those changes themselves if needed.
Industries that need cloud security engineers include finance, health care and almost every other industry where companies are moving to the cloud.
Read Cloud security engineer: Is it the career for you? to learn more about what cloud engineers do.
Curious about related cloud jobs? Check out What is a cloud administrator? Essential roles and skills to explore roles including:
- Cloud architects: responsible for designing the solution architecture of a cloud deployment
- Cloud administrators: responsible for managing cloud workloads in the day-to-day
On average, how much do cloud engineers make at each level of their career?
Your cloud engineer salary reflects the cloud engineer responsibilities you take on as your career progresses:
- According to Zip Recruiter, a beginner cloud security professional can expect an average cloud engineer salary of $127,000 yearly.
- A senior cloud security engineer is a mid-level role. You can expect to make an average of $165,000 yearly in this role.
- A principal cloud security engineer is the most senior-level role in cloud security. If you achieve this position, you can earn an average cloud engineer salary of $215,000 yearly.
What should I learn to become a cloud engineer?
It is extremely important to learn a coding language such as Python to be successful in many cloud engineering jobs. You should also learn about the cloud your company is already in so that you can increase your knowledge base.
You’ll also need to continuously update your cloud engineer education and cloud certifications to keep up with changes in the fast-moving cloud world.
Along with cloud engineer training, keeping up with current industry trends is vital. The Cyber Work Podcast keeps you current with insights from industry leaders.
Do you need a degree to be a cloud engineer?
Cloud engineer qualifications vary depending on the organization’s size and industry. You do not need a degree to be a cloud engineer, but it doesn't hurt to already have one. A combination of a degree and certifications are helpful for the cloud engineer role.
Cloud engineers are typically the next step in security overall. You shouldn't view the cloud engineer path as one you can start straight out of college. You’ll likely need a few years of work in the field first.
Do cloud engineers need certifications?
Employers will look for certifications on your cloud engineer resume to know you’ve got the skills to be a qualified candidate.
- Read Top 4 cloud security certifications for more
- Learn the Top 5 things you must know to pass the AWS Security Specialist exam
- Master the Top 5 things you must know to pass the CCSP
- To compare the CCSP to other certs, check out SSCP versus CCSP: Cloud security or systems security? and CCSP vs. Cloud+
Do cloud engineers need to know how to code?
The cloud engineer role doesn’t necessarily require knowing how to code, but it helps tremendously to know how to code, which is why many companies require it.
On average, how long does it take to become a cloud engineer?
People typically have two to four years in a security position before they can jump into cloud security.
Work experience is essential. So how do you get started? Many start their cybersecurity careers as SOC analysts.
The administrator role can be a common starting position if you're entering the IT field. Check out our system administrator vs. cloud administrator article to learn more.
Are cloud engineers in high demand?
The cloud engineer job outlook is very bright. More companies are moving into the cloud daily and finding out the importance of having a cloud security engineer.
70% of firms have already shifted to cloud-based computing for part of their services. As the cloud becomes bigger, the necessity of the cloud security role will grow tremendously.
How to become a cloud engineer?
You’ll need training and experience in cybersecurity before you can land even a junior-level cloud security engineer job. Cloud security requires a “total shift in your thinking,” says Infosec Instructor Joe South.
Why do you need experience to become a cloud engineer? “Cloud security spans across just about every domain in security. Cloud engineers are deploying tools in those domains, working with internal and external clients,” explains Joe South. “They need experience before they go into the cloud where they can’t touch a cable or server or do a total reset like you’d normally do." For more advice:
- Watch What does a cloud security engineer do to hear Joe South's tips for getting experience and landing cloud engineer jobs — including his #1 tip: pay attention to the news and learn what’s happening in the industry!
- Read about Joe South's cybersecurity career path to senior cloud engineer.
- Check out what Menachem Shafran of XM Cyber looks for when hiring for his cloud security company. Hint: "We need people who can understand that it is people we are working with, not just technology.”
Cloud engineer requirements
Cloud certifications are the stepping stones to getting into cloud security. They give you the base-level knowledge required to understand the complex problems you will encounter and solidify your skills in the cloud. You can get some cloud engineer certifications, such as AWS, without prior experience. Others, like the CSSP, require five years of experience.
Cloud engineer certifications
- AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner (AWS CCP): If your company is in AWS, the AWS CCP is the perfect place to start since it gives you the vocabulary of AWS to succeed in any other AWS certification.
- AWS Solutions Architect Associate: This is the next step after the AWS CCP. This certification covers how to architect for success in AWS.
- AWS Security Specialist: Among the most difficult AWS certifications, it takes your knowledge of AWS to the next level by proving you can design secure AWS solutions.
- Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP): The CCSP is vendor agnostic and shows you can apply security principles across all clouds. This certification is regarded as the gold standard of cloud security. The job outlook for CCSP holders is excellent. Learn how to become CCSP certified and try CCSP sample questions. For more, visit our CCSP hub!
- Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge (CCSK): This is an excellent certification to obtain in preparation for the CCSP. The CCSK is also vendor agnostic, giving you a knowledge base that can span any cloud provider.
Cloud security certifications and the knowledge that comes with them are critical. Watch Infosec Principal Security Researcher Keatron Evans show how incorrectly configuring cloud services led to the major Capital One data breach.
Cloud engineer interview questions and answers
Common cloud engineer interview questions include:
- What is the best way to identify and secure the pipelines going into the cloud?
- What is the best way to secure your data in the cloud since it lives on another computer?
- How do you ensure security vulnerabilities do not reoccur in the cloud? What tools in AWS enable this?
- What would be some reasons not to migrate an application to the cloud?
- Explain crypto-shredding in your own words.
Read our Clould security engineer interview questions article for the answers. For even more guidance, download our ebook: Cybersecurity interview tips: How to stand out, get hired and advance your career.
Cloud engineer training courses
Cloud engineer training is vital for succeeding as a cloud security engineer. Live boot camps and on-demand cloud engineer courses provide expert, guided instruction to build your knowledge and skills. A few popular options are listed below:
More cybersecurity career advice
“Getting into cloud security can seem daunting," says Infosec Instructor Joe South. "I’ve realized over time that every person you look up to in a specific field at one point knew nothing and was a beginner. You, too, can change your life starting from nothing.” Here’s help for advancing your cloud engineer education and future career!
Free & self-study resources
- Start an Infosec Skills free account
- Explore the Infosec Resource Center with role guides and plans
- Visit the CCSP hub for all things CCSP—from cert domains to salary
- Watch the Cyber Work Podcast
- Test your knowledge with free CCSP sample questions
Want more career advice? Read these popular articles:
- 7 steps to building a successful career in information security
- 10 reasons why you should pursue a career in information security
- Most valuable cybersecurity skills to learn
- Which cybersecurity certifications are best for your career?
- How to specialize in cybersecurity: Find your path and your passion
- 133 cyber security training courses you can take now — for free
- Cloud security engineer: Is it the career for you?
- Working across multiple cloud service providers