Career / Career Progression

Intro to IT: Cloud Technologies

by Team Nuggets
Cloud Technologies
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Published on October 20, 2023

Managing cloud technologies and unlocking their huge potential for employers is a career field all its own – there are many opportunities and plenty of room to grow. This introduction to cloud technologies will explain the basics while helping you prepare for a career working with them.

What are Cloud Technologies?

To understand cloud technology, you first have to understand servers. A server is a computer that provides resources, data, services, or programs to other computers.

Traditionally, every network needed its own physical servers – one or more high-powered computers that processed requests and managed traffic, making it possible for users to access the network. The bigger the network, the bigger the servers needed to be, and the more staff needed to maintain them.

The core concept of cloud technologies is simple: rather than operate, manage, and maintain your own server, you instead rent part of someone else's server. Thanks to technological advances, companies can own a very large, powerful server and virtually subdivide it into smaller servers that behave like standalone entities.

That's what the cloud is: any technology that uses remote servers, accessed via the internet, to store, manage, and process data and applications. 

Many different types of cloud technology offer flexibility, enable remote work, improve collaboration, and provide access to data and tools anywhere a user has internet access. Since companies no longer have to maintain their own on-premises servers, infrastructure and maintenance costs go way down. 

In addition, cloud technologies scale very easily, so companies only pay for the resources they need. Because server resources are consolidated, tons of features and options that would normally be a luxury are readily available.

Introduction to Cloud Technologies Playlist

Are you a brand-new IT professional looking for information about a future job? Or a non-technical professional trying to understand the cloud? Bart Castle's free playlist below about cloud technologies and careers is a perfect introduction. The videos can be watched in order, but feel free to skip to the topics that interest you most: 

Bart's videos cover the basic skills necessary to work in the cloud, as well as specific aspects of cloud technologies like virtualization and automation. These free videos introduce and explain cloud technologies, but you'll also see how CBT Nuggets courses are structured and what you might expect from a membership.

Cloud Technology Basics

Cloud technologies are simple enough to understand, but they get very complicated when it comes to the many different ways they can be integrated into a business and its operations. A diverse array of cloud service models and deployment options await organizations, offering various choices for optimizing operations. 

Cloud Technology for Beginners

If you've ever paid attention to tech ads or researched cloud technologies, you've probably noticed a lot of different options that end in the letters "-aaS." The "as a service" model is fundamental to the cloud. Cloud services are based on the idea that organizations can get certain kinds of technology on a "pay as you use it" model, and the number of different "aaS" options has grown rapidly.

Here are just a few of the most common:

  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): With IaaS, companies can access virtualized computing resources, including virtual machines, storage, and networking. Users can create and manage virtualized network environments on a pay-as-you-go model. IaaS is typically a technical solution that requires experienced professionals to optimize properly.

  • Platform as a Service (PaaS): Companies with PaaS get a platform and environment where developers can build, deploy, and manage applications without worrying about any underlying infrastructure details. Tools, libraries, and services that streamline application development accelerate and improve app development. PaaS is a technical solution for an organization that is used mainly by a company's IT personnel.

  • Software as a Service (SaaS): Many of the world's most popular software are now delivered and maintained entirely through the internet. Organizations can subscribe to an app and never worry about maintaining or installing it locally. SaaS solutions are very user-friendly and often used by non-technical professionals. An example of this would be Google Docs or Salesforce.

  • Container as a Service (CaaS): Containers are essentially lightweight and portable units of software. CaaS abstracts the complexities of orchestrating and managing containers. Experienced IT professionals often use CaaS solutions.

Deployment Types: Cloud Technology Basics

In addition to these different cloud services and models, one of the fundamental characteristics of a cloud service is its deployment type. Understanding the difference between the three main deployment types is important for technical and non-technical professionals to understand:

  • Public Cloud: A public cloud refers to resources and services provided by a third-party cloud service provider over the internet to multiple users. The underlying hardware is split up among multiple clients. Different users and networks are prevented from viewing one another's data, but they're still operating in the same space. Public clouds offer scalability, cost-effectiveness, and easy accessibility. Some examples include Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP).

  • Private Cloud: Private clouds are dedicated to single organizations. A private cloud is either hosted on-premises or by a third-party provider. Private clouds offer greater control over resources, security, and customization, making them suitable for organizations with strict security and compliance requirements or organizations whose network needs are large and geographically distributed.

  • Hybrid Cloud: A hybrid cloud combines elements of public and private clouds. With a hybrid cloud, organizations have access to both types of environments. They can move workloads and data between the different environments, which offers the opportunity to take advantage of the benefits of both public and private clouds while managing sensitive data and applications in a private setting.

How Necessary is Cloud Technology Training?

Cloud solutions are sort of like pizza: a great concept that can be incredible when done right. But that doesn't mean there's no such thing as a bad one. Done well, cloud technology saves money and resources. If done badly, it can be a costly mistake. The best way to ensure your organization's cloud solutions are scalable, cost-effective, and flexible is with cloud technology training.

Are Cloud Technology Courses Worth It?

A poorly implemented or conceived cloud solution could cost an organization much more money than it would ever save. Only with experience and training can cloud administrators learn to orchestrate a cloud environment, optimize resource allocation, and ensure their organization only pays for what gets used (while also getting everyone what they need).

Cloud technology courses transform IT professionals familiar with the cloud into experts who streamline operations, foresee potential bottlenecks, and scale infrastructure. The options for cloud technology training vary, but the best solution is online cloud technology courses that prepare learners for certifications.

An online cloud technology course can be easily updated in the face of evolving technologies, plus it resides in the natural place to practice what's being taught. Good cloud technology courses implement virtual labs and digital sandboxes to practice the configurations and implementations being taught. These tools allow cloud administrators to practice and master the setups and processes they learn about. Hands-on experience ensures that cloud administrators don't just understand cloud solutions in theory but also know how to implement and configure them in real-world scenarios effectively.

What Does Cloud Technology Training Cover?

Cloud technology training unlocks the potential of cloud solutions and improves an organization's cloud presence. For example, every network needs data security, but different cloud service providers manage security and privacy differently. Cloud technology courses reveal the methods for implementing encryption, access controls, and compliance measures in how each cloud network works.

In cloud networks, downtime is every organization's worst enemy. Cloud training teaches cloud administrators to design fault-tolerant architectures that avoid crashes or errors. But on top of that, it prepares them for designing and implementing disaster recovery strategies. That way, if something goes wrong, the network is back and dashing.

Many companies and organizations are worried about vendor lock-in or being committed to using one vendor for all their cloud solution needs after using that vendor for just one of their cloud solution offerings. Cloud technology training gives cloud administrators the breadth of familiarity they need to develop and manage interoperable and portable cloud networks.

How to Get Careers in Cloud Technologies

Managing, administering, and securing cloud networks has gone from a niche job to a full-time career. There are specialties and focuses within the cloud administration career field that now require years of experience and deliberate training and education to reach.

Cloud Careers, Certifications and Salaries

The number of different available cloud solutions has exploded in the last two decades, and with it, the number of companies is looking for customized and unique solutions. There are easily a dozen unique career fields in providing cloud solutions, but these are the three most common job titles in the field:

  • Cloud Developer: A cloud developer builds and deploys applications that are specifically designed for cloud platforms. Companies hire cloud developers to improve their cloud networks for their own employees or to improve cloud solutions offered to clients. For anyone considering pursuing a career as a cloud developer, first choose what platform you'll work on: for example, Microsoft Azure. Then, find certifications (like the Microsoft Certified: Azure Developer Associate) that validate your ability to develop apps on the Azure platform.

  • Cloud Engineer: A cloud engineer is an advanced IT professional who plans, configures, deploys, and implements cloud solutions. A CBT Nuggets survey revealed that the national average salary for a cloud engineer is $107,200. Learning to become a cloud engineer requires developing expertise on one of the cloud solutions platforms and spending several years pursuing advanced certifications for that platform.

  • Cloud Architect: Cloud architects manage entire network infrastructures for organizations at a high, abstracted level. Requiring deep familiarity with on-premise network solutions and advanced knowledge of configuring cloud solutions, cloud architects are well-compensated for their expertise. A CBT Nuggets survey showed the national average salary for a cloud architect can be as high as $121,600. A career as a cloud architect takes many years, earned through deep familiarity with a cloud platform, often with several expert-level certifications from the same cloud provider.

As is probably obvious by now, managing and implementing cloud technologies is a huge topic—much more than just one thing. Organizations of all shapes and sizes need cloud professionals who understand how to get and keep them online and optimize and secure their experience there. The technologies cloud professionals use are constantly evolving.

Cloud technology courses can help you see what a cloud administration career might look like. Cloud careers are often challenging, usually interesting, and almost always pay quite well. But if cloud administration doesn't sound right for you, maybe one of the other IT fields is. Check out our Intro to IT training and find out what suits your skills and interests best.


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