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Cloud Engineer Vs. Network Engineer

Both cloud and network engineers manage how information is shared within organizations. The main difference between these two professions hinges on technological designs and this article explores their similarities and technical differences.

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Comparing Cloud Engineers to Network Engineers

Cloud engineers and network engineers both work with computer hardware and software to allow multiple people to have access to shared resources. However, cloud computing is different from network computing because it does not require costly software installations on every computer. Below are some key similarities and differences between these two technological careers.

Job Title Minimum Education Required Average Salary (2017)* Job Growth (2016-2026)**
Cloud Engineer Bachelor's degree $95,000 13% (computer occupations)
Network Engineer Bachelor's degree $78,480 6% (computer network architects)

Sources: *Glassdoor, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Responsibilities of a Cloud Engineer vs. a Network Engineer

Digital information comes in a variety of formats and computer engineers manage access to that information. A network engineer works with an organization to configure the connection between computers for all employees so that internal files can be shared through an intranet or local area network (LAN). A network engineer also performs installations and software updates which are less important for cloud computing. Cloud engineers have a very similar job except that the way information is shared is through a remotely stored server that is accessible from anywhere not just at the workplace. For both professionals there are issues with security that must be addressed, but the job is a bit more difficult for a cloud engineer because application programming interfaces (APIs) can be developed by a third party, which may jeopardize data.

Cloud Engineer

Cloud engineers design ways to provide digital information to clients without requiring them to install separate software. Cloud computing may be deployed to the public (anyone can access), privately (exclusive to a single organization) or as a hybrid (a combination of public and private) so the cloud engineer must choose a service model that is compatible with the deployment model. In addition, the cloud network model is very dynamic and the cloud engineer is responsible for designing ways to make sure the network is responsive to user demand by building automatic adjustment procedures. The engineer may be required to obtain certification by vendors such as AWS or Azure and is usually proficient in one or more computer scripting languages such as JavaScript or Perl. The cloud engineer protects computing resources through designing encryption and security logs that work autonomously and allow the network to be agile and highly productive.

Job responsibilities of a cloud engineer include:

  • Collaborating with stakeholders to improve network performance
  • Writing programs to monitor key metrics of cloud usage
  • Participating in sales meetings
  • Troubleshooting network administration and integration

Network Engineer

Network engineers are in charge of making sure the computer network of an organization has the capacity to process all the data of that organization. They must configure the network to meet the needs of the organization including security requirements. The network engineer assesses the network platform and trains users to interface with the network using specific software. They also make projections of future network needs and create designs that will grow with the organization. Network engineers monitor bandwith usage and evaluate routers to coordinate the timing of upgrades to match the demands on the network.

Job responsibilities of a network engineer include:

  • Setting up user accounts for employees in the network
  • Troubleshooting computer network problems
  • Developing installation procedures to minimize work disruption
  • Preparing backup systems to protect against outages due to disasters
  • Tracking network reliability
  • Coordinating the use of printers

Related Careers

Other jobs that require technological and analytical skills include web security specialists and traffic technicians. Tracking the movement of information as a network engineer uses similar analytical skills as a traffic technician, while a web security specialist develops ways to combat potential threats to the network similar to a cloud engineer.

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