Cloud computing refers to delivering computing services — such as storage, networking, servers, software, intelligence, and analytics — over the internet. Compared to traditional or offline technology, cloud computing offers many more benefits, including increased security, portability, and accessibility. Cloud technology also helps companies lower operating costs since they only have to pay for the cloud services they use.
As such, an increasing number of companies have started flocking to the cloud. According to Statista, the cloud computing industry generated almost $400 billion in 2021 alone.
To stay ahead of your competitors, consider hiring a cloud engineer to help you implement cloud technology. An experienced cloud engineer will work with your engineering team to spot and implement optimal cloud-based solutions for your startup. They will also maintain high standards for code quality, application performance, and service uptime.
Read on to learn more about cloud engineering, what tech stacks cloud engineers use, the difference between cloud architects vs. cloud engineers, and where to find cloud engineers for your startup.
What is Cloud Engineering?
Cloud engineering is the application of engineering principles to cloud computing. It requires cloud engineers to use engineering tools and methods to create, develop, operate, and maintain cloud computing systems and solutions.
The aim of cloud engineering is to design systems that can leverage the economics and power of cloud resources to address business problems. As such, cloud engineers are expected to:
- Master various cloud platforms, technologies, and frameworks
- Leverage open-source products and packages
- Develop applications for scalable provisioning, deployment, and management
- Apply Lean and Agile development principles to design and construction
- Understand the logical, conceptual, and physical architecture of cloud systems
- Ensure cloud service quality
What is a Cloud Engineer?
A cloud engineer is an IT professional who applies cloud engineering principles to your cloud environment. "Cloud engineer" is actually an umbrella term that encompasses various roles, including:
- Cloud network engineer: These professionals manage how data is shared within your startup. They're also responsible for solving network connectivity issues, providing network configuration support, and more.
- Cloud security engineer: Cloud security engineers work with your cybersecurity team to bolster your cloud's security systems. They use Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Microsoft Azure, and Amazon Web Services (AWS) to support cloud implementations and cloud security assessments.
- Cloud software engineer: Cloud software engineers are software developers that specialize in cloud computing systems. They may also be responsible for upgrading existing cloud systems and designing new systems.
What Does a Cloud Engineer Do?
Since there are many types of cloud engineers, a cloud engineer's role can look extremely different depending on the startup they work for.
However, most cloud engineers are responsible for the following:
- Monitoring data storage and cloud management services like AWS
- Creating databases and applications on the cloud
- Helping companies move their computer systems to the cloud
- Configuring cloud infrastructure components such as security services and networking
What Tech Stack Do Cloud Engineers Use?
All cloud engineers, regardless of role, must know the following tech stacks:
Cloud engineers need to have a strong grasp of the open-source Linux operating system, which many startups use for cloud development. They should also understand the administration, architecture, and maintenance of Linux servers.
At a minimum, cloud engineers are expected to know the following about Linux:
- Package management
- Cron scheduling and system monitoring
- Logical Volume Manager (LVM) management
- Redundant Array of Independent Disks (RAID) management
- Service management
- Linux system security and firewalls
- MariaDB and MySQL administration
- Basic shell scripting
- Linux, Apache, MySQL/MariaDB, and PHP (LAMP) setups
- Linux, Nginx, MySQL/MariaDB, and PHP (LEMP) setup
Like all IT engineers, cloud engineers need to have strong programming skills. At a minimum, they should know the following languages:
- Java and XML: These languages play an important role in data description.
- Python: This language lets engineers create, organize, and analyze large chunks of data with ease.
- SQL: SQL is vital for data processing and manipulation.
- .NET: This is a must-have for Azure cloud engineers.
Cloud engineers should also have robust cloud database skills. At a minimum, they should know how to use:
- Hadoop: Short for Apache Hadoop, Hadoop is an open-source framework that your engineer can use to store and process large datasets. Rather than using one large computer to store and process data, Hadoop uses multiple computers to analyze massive amounts of data in parallel.
- MySQL: MySQL is an open-source database management system that is based on structured query language (SQL). It supports a wide variety of data structures, including:
- Standard but rich numeric, logical, date, alphanumeric, and time data types
- Advanced geospatial data
DevOps is a popular framework for cloud engineering that combines IT operations with software development. Its goal is to reduce the systems development lifecycle and offer continuous delivery with high software quality.
Your ideal cloud engineer should know how to implement DevOps into their workflow. They should also be able to apply DevOps principles when working with the security and quality assurance teams to bake security and quality into the cloud application lifecycle.
Cloud engineers should understand virtual and general network management functions. They also need to know how to make your network responsive to user demands by building automated adjustment solutions. Without a solid understanding of networking principles, your cloud engineer won't be able to provide end-users the user experience they deserve.
Cloud engineers can use containers to abstract applications from the environment in which they run. This decoupling empowers container-based applications to be deployed consistently and easily across multiple target environments — examples include public clouds, private data centers, and a developer's personal device.
Your hire should also have experience using virtualization software. Specifically, they should be able to run multiple virtual machines to help you reduce your hardware assets or use them more efficiently.
Besides knowing how to use and deploy virtual machines, ideal cloud engineers will also know:
- AWS EC2: EC2 is an Amazon web service that lets your cloud engineer quickly scale down or scale up the number of services you're using.
- Lambda architecture: This data-processing architecture handles massive amounts of data by taking advantage of both stream and batch-processing methods.
Security and Recovery
Cloud security is a pressing issue for all companies, including small ones. Research has shown that an average employee of a small business with less than 100 employees experiences 350% more cybersecurity attacks than an employee of a larger company.
As such, you need to hire a cloud engineer who can protect your cloud systems from threat actors. At a minimum, your hire should know how to use the following:
- Encryption: A way of scrambling data so that only authorized parties can understand it. Encryption makes it harder for threat actors to leak, sell, or misuse the data.
- Cloud firewalls: Hosted within the cloud itself, cloud firewalls protect cloud data by blocking unwanted traffic on the internet.
- Identity and access management (IAM) solutions: IAM products authorize or deny access to unauthorized users as needed.
API and Web Services
Cloud infrastructure relies on web services and APIs. As such, your hire needs to know the following at a minimum:
- How APIs are created
- SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol)
- XML (Extensible Markup Language)
- WSDL (Web Services Description Language)
- UDDI (Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration)
Cloud Service Providers
Since features and engineering practices can vary between different cloud service providers, your hire needs to know what each major cloud provider platform provides.
At a minimum, they should be familiar with the following cloud service providers:
- Microsoft Azure: A leading cloud service provider, Microsoft Azure empowers engineers to accelerate your move to the cloud. Your engineers can also use this platform to secure, develop, and operate apps, infrastructure, and Azure services anywhere.
- AWS: AWS is a cloud computing platform that provides services as varied as content delivery, database storage, compute power, and other business functions. Flexible, reliable, and scalable, AWS is the go-to platform for many companies.
- Google Cloud Platform: Another leading cloud computing platform, Google Cloud Platform offers over 150 cutting-edge products, including:
- Data analytics
- AI and machine learning
- Developer tools
- IBM Cloud Services: Open and resilient, IBM Cloud offers better business predictions and foundational security. It also provides a hybrid cloud approach to unify private and public cloud services and a fast path to improve Return on Investment (ROI).
- ServiceSpace: Predictable, fast, reliable, and scalable, ServiceSpace lets engineers store and run any media, databases, containers, and sites. They can also use it to conduct analytics, deploy app runtime, and implement DevOps. If your hire has the skills for it, they can also use ServiceSpace to implement blockchain and Artificial Intelligence (AI).
- VMware: VMware cloud empowers cloud engineers to transform your cloud and apps faster. They can use it to operationalize consistent security, accelerate app delivery, deploy cloud applications anywhere, migrate apps with ease, and support traditional as well as modern apps.
Difference Between Cloud Architect vs. Cloud Engineer
As mentioned above, every cloud engineer needs to have all of the skills mentioned above.
However, there's a difference between a cloud engineer and a cloud architect. Some companies consider cloud architects a subtype of cloud engineer, but most distinguish between the two.
Cloud architects are responsible for converting your project's technical requirements into your cloud design and architecture. As cloud system designers, they are responsible for bridging the gaps between cloud solutions and complex business problems. They typically work with DevOps developers and engineers to ensure the right technologies are being built.
Cloud architects are also responsible for the following:
- Creating operating procedures for cloud architecture
- Identifying and correcting problems as they arise
- Creating migration and production schedules
- Overseeing the transfer of data from offline to cloud-based services
In contrast, cloud engineers focus on ensuring that architects have designed the architecture properly. They work with management to improve the system that the architects have built. Compared to cloud architects, they have a wider role in your company because they work with computer hardware as well as software.
Cloud engineers' skills also include the following:
- Assessing your business' software needs
- Testing cloud systems
- Meeting with clients
- Building cloud-based servers
How to Hire Cloud Engineers
After you've gathered a list of must-have skills for your ideal cloud engineer, you need to write a job description to attract leading-edge talent. You also need to write cloud engineer questions to find and hire the best engineer for your company.
Cloud Engineer Job Post Example
Here's what your cloud engineer job post could look like:
Senior Cloud Engineer — Revelo
Revelo is hiring a fully remote Senior Cloud Engineer to join our development team.
Our Senior Cloud Engineer will be joining an Agile remote team that works just like an in-office team.
This role is open to Senior Cloud Engineers in the following time zones:
- Pacific Standard Time (PST)
- Eastern Standard Time (EST)
- Central Standard Time (CST)
- Mountain Standard Time (MST)
- Perform analysis and research on customer requirements and translate these into business solutions
- Provide Remote Technical Support (RTS) for Revelo
- Develop and maintain robust relationships with internal and external stakeholders remotely to troubleshoot and answer questions. This involves reviewing log files, accessing remote sites, and gathering logs for critical support.
- Ensure internal and customer tickets are tracked and continuously updated and maintained according to our processes
- Assist with debugging cloud architecture and complicated product problems
- Evaluating system capacity and performance in a distributed cloud infrastructure environment
- Work with Revelo's cybersecurity team to refine existing backup and recovery plans
- Bachelor's degree in Computer Science or equivalent experience
- Excellent written and oral communication skills
- At least three years of experience with Cloud Management Systems (CMS) such as CloudStack, VMware vCloud, and OpenStack
- Proficient with Linux operating systems such as RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux)
- Proven ability and knowledge to write Unix and Linux scripts
- At least three years of experience working with virtual private network solutions and virtual machines
More about Revelo:
Latin America's largest human resources tech company, Revelo matches developers with companies throughout the world. We're currently hiring cloud engineers to test cloud architecture and assess our company's software needs.
Learn more about us at our website, revelo.com.
- 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM CST
- Monday to Friday
- Bonus pay
- Four weeks of paid vacation
- Paid parental leave
Cloud Engineer Interview Questions
Once you've finished writing a job description, you need to create interview questions for remote cloud engineers.
Avoid asking overly broad or academic questions like "Define cloud computing" and "What is virtualization?" Instead, you should ask personalized questions that reveal your potential hire's work ethic, personality, and experience. Examples include:
- What do you enjoy the most about cloud computing?
- What is your favorite cloud service provider and why?
- What is your approach to cloud security and safety?
- Do you enjoy working with Docker and Kubernetes? Why or why not?
- What is your favorite programming language to use for cloud applications and why?
- What is the hardest part of implementing DevOps?
Where to Find Cloud Engineers
After you've created a job description and interview questions for cloud engineers, it's time to start finding remote cloud engineers.
There are many platforms for hiring cloud engineers, including LinkedIn and freelance sites.
Home to over 35,000 cloud engineers, LinkedIn is one of the best sites for finding and hiring cloud engineers.
By joining popular groups and interacting with potential hires through direct messages and comments, you can quickly find and onboard experienced cloud engineers for your team.
If you need to fill your position as soon as possible, consider using LinkedIn Business tools to target and hire candidates faster. Tools like Career Pages can help you drive interest in your company, raise awareness about your brand, and create a pipeline of candidates for open roles.
You can also use freelance sites like Fiverr and Upwork to locate your dream cloud engineer.
Most if not all freelance cloud engineers on these sites charge extremely low rates. Unlike full-time or in-house cloud engineers, they don't demand benefits or monthly salaries. Instead, they charge by project or by the hour. This means you can save a lot of money.
As with LinkedIn, these sites require you to manually sift through applicants' resumes and portfolios to locate your dream hire. This can be time-consuming, particularly if you're already up to your nose in paperwork.
What is the Salary of a Cloud Engineer?
A cloud engineer's salary varies depending on location.
According to Glassdoor, the average cloud engineer in San Francisco receives an annual salary of $133,194. Most U.S. cities have similar rates for cloud engineers. Case in point: the average cloud engineer in Chicago, IL, enjoys an average base pay of $110,792 per year.
Fortunately, you can avoid these costs by hiring cloud engineers from Latin American countries such as Argentina and Uruguay. Latin American cloud engineers usually charge much less because they enjoy a much more affordable cost of living.
For instance, the average Argentinian cloud engineer only charges 194,401 ARS (1,702 USD) per month, which only amounts to 20,424 USD per year. That's around a sixth of what the average U.S.-based cloud engineer earns.
How to Hire Cloud Engineers With Revelo
One of the best talent marketplaces for hiring cloud engineers is Revelo.
Unlike LinkedIn and freelance sites, Revelo boasts FAANG-calibre cloud engineers who have been pre-vetted for their English proficiency, knowledge, and experience. We also have cloud engineers specializing in every tech stack and language, including:
Interested in partnering with us? Just talk to us about your project and we'll send you a curated list of cloud engineers in three days. If you don't think they're a good fit for your startup during our free 14-day trial, it's on us.
Contact us today to start hiring cloud engineers.