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At the end of last year, there were over 3.9 million jobs in the cloud computing field in America alone—and over 18 million around the world. And professionals with cloud computing experience took home a median salary of over $90,000.

It’s a great field to get into — but what skills do you need for a job in cloud computing? Any expertise in these 9 areas will help set you apart from the rest of the application pile.

Database Skills

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Because cloud computing so often deals with large databases of information, being able to understand and work with database languages is crucial. SQL and MySQL are the de facto standard languages for databases, but being familiar with open-source systems like Hadoop, Cassandra, and MongoDB is also helpful.

If you’re looking for a more fun way to learn Bored With Programming Books? Try 3 Fun Ways To Level Up Your Coding Skills Bored With Programming Books? Try 3 Fun Ways To Level Up Your Coding Skills If you've ever tried to learn to code from a book, you know how boring it can be. Why not try some engaging options to make learning more quirky and fun. Read More some database skills, you can check out Schemaverse, a space-based strategy game in which players use SQL commands to control their fleets. GalaXQL is another great resource for learning to work with databases — the interactive app lets you practice your SQL queries and guides you along the way.

Learn to Program

Ruby, Ruby on Rails, Python, Perl, JavaScript, and Java are the most common languages used for building cloud-based applications and services. While Java is a relatively traditional programming language, the others are high-level, efficient languages that are often recommended for beginners, making this a good first step in improving your cloud computing skills.

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While some jobs only require one of these languages, you’ll increase your employability by being familiar with more than one. Yes, familiarize yourself with the many interactive coding lessons 3 Interactive, Fun, Free Ways To Start Learning The Ruby Programming Language 3 Interactive, Fun, Free Ways To Start Learning The Ruby Programming Language Ruby is an expressive, very high-level, scripting language. It is used on the Web mainly as part of the Ruby on Rails web development framework, but also standalone. If you’re curious about what Ruby (not... Read More  available online. Pick one of the languages How To Pick A Programming Language To Learn Today & Get A Great Job In 2 Years How To Pick A Programming Language To Learn Today & Get A Great Job In 2 Years It can take years of dedicated work to become a truly good programmer; so is there a way to choose the right language to start from today, in order to get hired tomorrow? Read More  and start learning!

Linux

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The Linux operating system dominates a large portion of the cloud computing world, so being familiar with it will give you a big headstart on many of your potential competitors. A good first step is to set up your computer to dual-boot with your preferred operating system (we have tutorials for dual-booting Windows How To Dual-Boot The Windows & Linux OS's On Your Computer How To Dual-Boot The Windows & Linux OS's On Your Computer It's like having two computers in one - start your system up and choose between Windows and Linux. It's called dual-booting, and it gives you access to two of the best operating systems on the... Read More as well as OS X How To Install Linux On A MacBook Pro Retina How To Install Linux On A MacBook Pro Retina MacBook Pros come with some very nice hardware, but some people want more. Some people want Linux. Read More ).

After that, start learning! Check out the five golden rules of Linux 5 Golden Rules to Live By as a New Linux User 5 Golden Rules to Live By as a New Linux User How do you ensure that your transition to the new OS is smooth? Stick to the following five rules and you should do just fine. Read More , learn some interesting commands 9 Quirky Linux Commands You Need to Know (And Will Love) 9 Quirky Linux Commands You Need to Know (And Will Love) Make ASCII art, talk to your computer and play text adventures. Your Linux command line isn't just for work: it can be weirdly entertaining, if you know the right commands. Read More , and start working with Linux alternatives to your go-to software Can You Run It On Linux? 10 Vital Apps You'll Want When You Switch Can You Run It On Linux? 10 Vital Apps You'll Want When You Switch To help answer your questions, we'll take a look at 10 popular Windows applications and whether you have options for them in Linux. Read More . The more familiar you are with the operating system, the better.

DevOps

Development operations is a particular method of software development that takes the entire software lifecycle into account, from planning and prototyping to use and maintenance. DevOps is very popular in cloud computing, so understanding what it is and how you fit into it can be a big help.

You can start learning about DevOps by going to DevOps.com and reading their articles to get an idea of the sorts of issues at stake. Microsoft Virtual Academy provides an overview of DevOps, and Linux academy has a short DevOps course that will be helpful, as well.

Systems Automation

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As companies are storing and using more and more information all the time, working with it manually and on a project-to-project basis is becoming unsustainable. Developers who can automate tasks and processes The Awesome Automation Guide for Mac Users The Awesome Automation Guide for Mac Users Whether it's sorting your email, searching your documents or building a playlist, you'd be amazed how many tasks can be done automatically instead of manually - if only you knew how to get started. Read More are highly valuable, as they can significantly improve the efficiency of a company’s interactions with data.

While “automation” is a relatively vague term, you can gain skills in this area by learning about Puppet and Chef, two open-source automation solutions.

Puppet Labs offers a range of learning options, from live courses and certifications to self-paced online learning. It is also cross-platform.

Chef is another systems and cloud infrastructure automation tool with a number of interactive learning modules.

Quality Assurance

According to a 2014 survey by Forbes, software quality assurance was the sixth-most common request in cloud computing job postings. In short, software QA is the process by which developers and other producers make sure that the software they produce meets the needs that it sets out to and that it’s of acceptable quality upon release.

You can start learning about quality assurance with the Foundations of Programming: Software Quality Assurance course on Lynda.com. Udemy also has a number of courses available, including Learn Software Testing: Kickstart a Successful Career in QA and Learn Software Testing from Scratch. There are also plenty of online certifications that you can get to improve your résumé for cloud computing.

Information Security

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The Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certification is one of the most requested certifications in the cloud computing world. This certification is bestowed by International Information System Security Certification Consortium, Inc, and the exam covers knowledge on things like asset security, identity and access management, and software development security.

There are plenty of great resources to help you learn about information security, from free introductions to information security to a Udemy course on security concepts and an extensive Open University course on the topic.

Project Management

The Project Management Professional certification is highly recognized and respected within the industry. If you have a few years of experience in project management, you may be eligible for this certification; if not, you may be eligible for the Certified Associate in Project Management certification.

To find out more about the PMP certification, you can visit the Project Management Institute website and read about their various certifications. There are also a number of other certifications that may be of interest, such as one in program management, and another in business analysis.

Amazon and Google Cloud Skills

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Being familiar with specific vendors of cloud solutions can be a big help if a potential employer already works with those companies. Because Amazon and Google cloud platforms are so popular (even the NSA uses Amazon Web Services The NSA Is Storing Its Data In The Cloud. But Is It Secure? The NSA Is Storing Its Data In The Cloud. But Is It Secure? In the wake of the Edward Snowden leaks, the National Security Agency (NSA) is turning to cloud storage for their data. After they have collected information about you, how secure will it be? Read More ), having some familiarity with these technologies can give you a boost in the hiring process.

Amazon Web Services – Web Hosting & Cloud Computing With AWS is a Udemy course that will help you become more familiar with Amazon’s technologies. Google provides its own Google Cloud platform training that you can go through for free. It has also co-opted many training partners worldwide.

Take on a project 5 Project Ideas To Help You Learn Programming Faster 5 Project Ideas To Help You Learn Programming Faster There are a few ways to ease the learning curve for programming. Get your hands dirty and learn faster with side projects you can start anytime. Play around with these five. Read More that requires you to use either of these is a great way to fast track your learning. Try GitHub for some inspiration.

Rackspace is quickly becoming a major competitor in the cloud scene as well, so any experience you have with their platform could also be beneficial. The cloud company also runs the Open Cloud Academy to help with cloud skills training and meet the skills gap.

Online Courses for Cloud Computing

In addition to the resources above, you can take advantage of a wide range of online courses that will help you build your cloud computing skills. Here are a few to get you started:

The Future Is in the Cloud

Many businesses are quickly transitioning a lot of their computing and data storage to the cloud, and there’s a big need for developers and other technical employees to help them with the process. Whether you’re a cloud expert or a total beginner, this is a great field to get into. Start polishing your skills!

Do you work in cloud computing? What other skills do you find useful in your day-to-day experience? Share your thoughts below!

Image Credits: cv resume Via Shutterstock, Businesswoman drawing database structure (edited), Businessman with gears (edited), Padlock and keyhole (edited) via Shutterstock.

  1. ajay
    July 11, 2016 at 7:13 am

    I am a IT professional working on Hypervisors like VMware ESXi and Hyper V. Could you please guide me to best possible skill add-on?

  2. candy
    June 15, 2016 at 10:38 pm

    Amazon AWS is the no.1 cloud provider, no doubt, but Microsoft Azure holds the 2nd place in the market share as of now, Google the 3rd place, but you didn't even mention azure.
    Do you have suggestions for those who want to start with microsoft cloud and what skill set they need to know ?

    • Dann Albright
      June 16, 2016 at 2:38 pm

      Personally, I don't know much about Azure, but I'm sure there are a lot of online courses you could take to get up to speed with it. Udemy and Coursera are great places to start!

  3. Sean Franklin
    May 5, 2016 at 2:26 pm

    Don't forgot about Bluemix as a Web service as well!

    • Dann Albright
      May 6, 2016 at 6:57 pm

      I wasn't aware of that . . . might have to look it up. Thanks for the tip!

  4. Ely
    November 24, 2015 at 6:24 am

    I have experience in Business analysis and testing. Now I am preparing for AWS Solution Architect certification. Do you guys think it will help a business analyst with SQL skills to jump in to cloud computing career?

    • Dann Albright
      November 27, 2015 at 8:51 pm

      While I don't really know much about business analysis, I would think that the combination of that and SQL would be pretty good for job prospects. SQL is really useful, and business analysts are always needed, so . . . by my estimation, it seems like a good combination!

  5. Yodi Collins
    July 19, 2015 at 3:57 am

    I have a CloudU certification from Rackspace that has opened doors for me professionally. I recommend it.

    • Dann Albright
      July 25, 2015 at 2:56 pm

      Glad to hear it! Rackspace is a big name in the cloud game, and their certifications are very helpful. Thanks for commenting!

  6. Kendall Jones
    July 19, 2015 at 3:42 am

    Thank you for this excellent article.

  7. Scott Eppler
    July 16, 2015 at 6:36 pm

    I have experience in HP's automation (HP Operations Orchestration) and cloud (HP Cloud Service Automation) offerings and have been getting a lot of job offers for those skills as well. Of course, all of the stuff mentioned above also comes in to play regularly.

    • Dann Albright
      July 25, 2015 at 2:54 pm

      Thanks for the tip! Sounds like a really useful way to go.

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