How to change your career to cloud computing

New cloud gigs mean more money and even more fun. Be savvy about how you acquire the right skills.

How to change your career to cloud computing
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The pandemic has brought us a dispersed workforce model. This means career opportunities can be dispersed also, and those looking to get into cloud computing from where they live have new opportunities to enhance or start a career in cloud computing.

The way we learn has changed as well. On-demand training is not just for augmenting classroom training anymore. It is the new norm at colleges and private training companies. Colleges that had online learning now have more, and private training companies that focused on in-person classes now deliver training content primarily over the Internet.

How can you take advantage of these changes? Here are some cloud computing training hacks you may find helpful.

Get your company to pay for it. Most companies offer educational reimbursement but limit it to accredited colleges and universities. Just a few years ago this was the much weaker option for cloud training, but most colleges and universities have seen the writing on the wall and now have sound cloud computing programs, both in class and online.

Many companies who sponsor training also use private training companies, such as LinkedIn Learning and Cloud Guru. They may even have relationships already established where the training can be had for free or at deep discounts.

Although you would think that most employees would know about these benefits, I’m finding that most don’t. Companies typically mention them during orientation but don’t actively promote resources for the self-learners, instead focusing on mandatory training such as compliance.

Create your own training path ahead of time. The sequence of courses you should take is really an exercise in obtaining the right mix of skills. Some opt for certifications, such as public cloud-specific skills such as engineer or architect. Most also want generalized knowledge such as security, governance, operations, and migration. These are not specific to a particular cloud service provider.

The key is to find the intersection of what you’re interested in and what pays the best. My advice is to obtain general skills along with public cloud-specific skills; for example, study advanced topics in general cloud security, plus how cloud security is carried out on AWS, Google, or Microsoft.

Create a map of courses to support your objective. You may have a mix of classes from colleges, private training companies, and even the public cloud providers themselves. The goal: Obtain the “skills to pay the bills,” not just a piece of paper.

Look for on-the-job opportunities. This is really the best way to hammer new skills into your brain. Learning the buzzwords will only get you so far. Working on projects that relate directly to your cloud training means that the skills will find solid purchase in your cranium. 

If your company is paying for your training, look for opportunities at work to leverage the skills you’re learning. This may require a bit of internal selling, but you’ll find that most will be impressed by your desire to learn new skills and use them for the benefit of the company.

Companies are so desperate for cloud skills these days; you can leverage this desperation to mix learning on and off the job. This will be the perfect combination of a career accelerator into the cloud, possibly doubling your take-home.

There are a few ways to get into cloud computing, either coming from IT or making a career change. Either will require training, but you can be savvy about obtaining the skills for free or cheap and leveraging those skills in a new cloud career.

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