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Career Definition of a Cloud Consultant
Cloud consultants specialize in working with computer cloud systems. A 'cloud' is internet-based, rather than tied to a specific location, such as a company's network or an employee's desktop computer. Cloud computing can eliminate the need for companies to retain copies of programs or materials on their own computers, and allow remote access as well, so that employees can work from different locations. Types of cloud systems include infrastructure (networks, data storage, etc.), platforms (hardware and operating systems) and software.
Cloud consultants start out by examining the typical duties performed by their clients, asking questions and performing other types of research. They then analyze that data to determine which cloud solutions would best meet the client's needs; they make recommendations based on their analysis. Cloud consultants implement the selected cloud systems and may be responsible for customization as well; accordingly, consultants need to be well-versed in both existing cloud products and creating and modifying programming code.
|Educational Requirements||Bachelor's degree|
|Job Skills||Customer service, computer programming, communication, attention to detail, problem-solving, analysis, research|
|Median Salary|| $87,220* (all computer systems analysts, 2016)
$75,060** (all IT consultants, 2018)
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)*||9% (all computer systems analysts)|
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale
To prepare for a career as a cloud consultant it is almost always necessary to earn a bachelor's degree. Disciplines that those planning on this career may choose to study include computer science, computer engineering, information science, and information technology. Taking courses in business administration may be an asset because they can help prepare individuals to operate in a consulting role.
Cloud consultants need to have strong customer service skills because their primary responsibility is to ensure their clients' needs are met. They also need analytical skills because they have to review a lot of information that they use to make their recommendations. Problem-solving skills are important because their client may have unique needs and require customized software or systems to meet those needs. Cloud consultants must also have strong communication skills so that they can effectively present their conclusions and reasoning for using different types of programs or systems.
Certification is not necessarily required to become a cloud consultant. However, employers may prefer applicants to be certified in their preferred cloud platforms, such as Oracle Cloud, or in multiple cloud systems. Additionally, employers might also have specific computer programming requirements and expect applicants to be certified in different programming languages, such as Java. Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) certification may also be required or preferred.
Career Outlook and Salary
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) listing for computer systems analysts is the most comparable listing to the role of a cloud consultant because computer systems analysts and cloud consultants play a direct role in assessing the needs of their customers and helping them determine how to operate effectively. According to the BLS, computer systems analysts earned a median income of $87,220 per year as of 2016. PayScale.com, meanwhile, showed a median salary of $75,060 for all IT consultants as of February 2018. Over a period of ten years starting in 2016, the BLS expects computer systems analysts to experience a 9% rate of job growth.
There are many careers in the cloud computing field and those interested in becoming cloud consultants may also be interested in these occupations or may enter the field in one of these related roles to gain the skills and experience needed to become a cloud consultant. Use the links here to learn more about other cloud computing careers.