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Cloud journeys: Cloud career guides for newcomers

Some cloud leaders use their technical expertise to act as cloud career journey mentors. Here are their tips for cloud training and building community.

Apr 5, 2024 • 6 Minute Read

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  • Cloud
  • IT Ops
  • Professional Development
  • Learning & Development

Pluralsight is proud to support the growing community of cloud gurus by sponsoring the Cloud Career Journeys book by Prasad Rao and Ashish Prajapati.

If there’s one constant in cloud, it’s the importance of the cloud community. As part of our Cloud Career Journeys blog series, we now turn to the Liberators—cloud professionals who use their expertise to teach others and grow the cloud community.

Keep reading for tips for a successful cloud career, regardless of whether you consider yourself a Liberator. You’ll also get insights from real-life Liberator Neal Davis, founder of Digital Cloud Training.

Get the Cloud Career Journeys book.

Table of contents

The Liberators: Opening a cloud tech path for others

Liberators use their cloud experience and technical expertise to teach, encourage, and inspire newcomers to enter the cloud community space. By combining education, mentorship, and community, they act as career guides and mentors for aspiring cloud technology professionals. 

You might think of Liberators as cloud leaders and influencers. And while that’s often true, you can be a cloud Liberator even without years of experience in the field. As long as you’re sharing your journey and knowledge with others, you’re helping others succeed, even if you don’t always know it.

Advice for Liberators: Create your own cloud training experience

Whether you’re a Liberator or just exploring the cloud industry, check out these tips to advance your cloud career.

Look at the job market for in-demand cloud skills and roles

Research the job market to uncover the cloud services, tools, and skills organizations are looking for. Use this knowledge to guide your learning journey, select cloud computing courses, and ensure you build relevant skills for in-demand cloud jobs. 

“I’ve been in the industry as the technology has been progressing and the business practices have been progressing,” says Neal. “And then when I see it evolving, I just go straight in and start learning the technology that I’m seeing on the horizon, the stuff that’s becoming popular, and earn some certifications. And then that puts me in the position to get into the right jobs.”

Get all of Neal’s insights.

Build wide and deep cloud computing knowledge

Learn one cloud in depth and then broaden your skill set. “In terms of the clouds themselves, focus yourself,” advises Neal. “Whether you choose Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure, or AWS, it doesn’t really matter. Choose the one where you see the opportunities in and that interests you the most. Sometimes it depends on your background as well.”

It’s also important to build cloud-adjacent IT skills. “Make sure that you learn some other skills as well, because when you go out into the job market in the cloud, you’re going to need some programming skills,” says Neal. “You’re going to need to understand Linux. You’ll probably need to know Terraform. You might need to know Kuberneters and other similar technologies.”

Not sure where to start? Look at job descriptions for cloud roles and the skills they require. You can also check out lists of essential tech skills to learn.

Build a presence in the cloud community

While skills are important, they aren’t the only thing prospective employers consider in new hires. They want to see if you’re active in the cloud community, how you interact with others there, and whether you attend relevant events and meetups. 

Start creating an online presence and contributing to the community to network and demonstrate your commitment to cloud.

Action: Steps to guide your cloud career

The path into the cloud computing industry can be a long one. You can take these steps today to accelerate your learning journey.

Study for cloud certifications

Certifications can be a great stepping stone to structure your learning, especially for entry level cloud jobs. “If you’re coming new to technology, then start with the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner,” recommends Neal. 

“If you’re coming from a background maybe in traditional IT and you’re transitioning, then you can go straight to the associate level like the AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate. That would be my recommendation.”

Develop soft skills for cloud roles

You need soft skills like communication and problem solving to translate your technical expertise into business value. If you’re talking with a business leader or non-technical person, you need to explain what you’re working on and how it impacts the business in a way they can understand.

“We can all build great technical skills by just learning, learning, learning,” says Neal. “But we need to be able to communicate.”

Problem solving is also a crucial soft skill for cloud professionals. If something isn’t working, get hands-on to find out why. What can you do, with the limited resources you have, to find a solution as a cloud technician? 

“You need to be able to solve problems for companies,” says Neal. “That’s what they’re hiring you for, and the only way you really learn how to do that is to actually get your hands dirty.”

Find a buddy or career mentor

You don’t have to learn alone. Go to forums and online groups to look for a study buddy or career mentor who can share advice and hold you accountable. Seeing how others approach or solve problems can also augment your learning. 

“Get some assistance from someone who’s been there and done it,” says Neal. “And you can start modeling them a little bit. Start looking at, you know, how do they think what they do? What are the actions that they take? Because if you model what other people do who’ve been successful, you’re probably going to be successful yourself if you stick with it long enough.”

Alerts: Watch out for these cloud training missteps

Everyone makes mistakes, even tech and IT leaders. But if you can learn from them, you’ll avoid common missteps and have a smoother transition into cloud technology.

Using unreputable learning resources

Some cloud training resources or practice certification exams contain outdated material or incorrect answers. Only use reputable, respected learning resources created by an experienced tech lead or cloud professional.

Not following tech trends like AI

Explore the latest technologies like AI to keep your skills relevant. “The most important thing is that you are proficient with utilizing AI. Because it’s not the AI that’s going to take your job immediately—it’s going to be the people that know how to use it the best.”

Neglecting networking and cloud community

Networking will help you get recommendations, references, and even cloud computing job opportunities.

“[There are people] out there just saying look, ‘I just learned this’ or ‘I just earned this certification’ or ‘I just tried to learn these subjects and I had some challenges,’ and they get flooded with responses because people want to be involved in that. They want to help you. They want to listen to you. Maybe they’re inspired by you. And so that helps you to build up that network,” says Neal.

Get the cloud career guide

To hear Neal’s full story, along with insights from other cloud professionals, get the Cloud Career Journeys book for 25% off on Gumroad. For even more exclusive content, you can get the cloud starter kit for 50% off on Gumroad.

Each purchase of the book comes with one free one-month Pluralsight Skills Premium subscription worth $45 to help you build your cloud skills and share your knowledge with the cloud community.

Missed the other blog posts in our Cloud Career Journeys series? Explore these other cloud career paths:

Pluralsight Content Team

Pluralsight C.

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