How to Hire the Right Cloud Engineer

Hiring the right cloud engineer is essential for companies seeking to bolster their cloud platforms and technologies. As one of the world’s most in-demand tech jobs, organizations of all shapes and sizes need cloud engineers to help modernize and run today’s most critical web-based technology solutions. 

Here are some of the most important questions to consider before bringing on a cloud engineer. 

What are some of the cloud engineer’s essential skills and certifications? 

A cloud engineer is a software engineer who specializes in cloud services and cutting-edge technologies. With expertise ranging from building cloud-based applications to managing cloud services and tools, cloud engineers play a critical role in helping organizations oversee software-as-a-service (SaaS), infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) technologies. 

Cloud engineers should have experience with at least one of the three leading cloud platforms: Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform, or Microsoft Azure. Industry-recognized credentials for each of these platforms — including AWS Certifications, Google Cloud Certifications, and Microsoft Azure Certifications — can make it easy to recognize which engineers have validated expertise for each platform. 

Because tasks related to software development and database management can play a major role in their daily tasks, it’s important for cloud engineers to be well-versed in backend programming languages like Java, C++, Python, and a wide variety of other programming languages, as well as database platforms and tools like SQL and containerization tools like Kubernetes (K8S) and Docker.  

What are some of the cloud engineer’s key qualifications? 

Although all companies have different needs, LinkedIn has identified several common qualifications that most hiring managers seek when hiring cloud engineers, including: 

  • At least three years of experience architecting, designing, developing, and implementing cloud solutions for major cloud platforms. 
  • A deep understanding and working knowledge of a well-architected framework, including the five pillars unique to each platform. 
  • Knowledge and experience of web services, APIs, database architecture, machine learning, and big data.  
  • Collaboration skills across a wide range of disciplines, including business analysts, data scientists, and subject matter experts.     

Whether they’re meant to work within an existing cloud platform or asked to build out infrastructure from scratch, it’s important to find Cloud Engineers who are familiar with industry-leading solutions across the most popular cloud services. 

What are some of the best ways of assessing cloud engineering skills? 

Amazon’s AWS Startups Blog explores some of the most important principles for prospective Cloud Engineers to be familiar with. Many organizations have five particular areas of interest when it comes to assessing cloud engineers, including: 

  • Availability, including how to design for failure and how to build self-healing architecture. 
  • Scalability and elasticity, including how to scale architectures to meet sudden traffic increases and how to test systems for peak traffic scenarios. 
  • Performance, including how to monitor system performance and which metrics are most important.  
  • Problem-solving, including an understanding of how to distinguish between the right managed services. 
  • DevOps, including an understanding of the differences between continuous integration and continuous deployment.  

Taken together, each of these considerations helps paint a picture of how a Cloud Engineer designs and optimizes infrastructure, addresses problems, and works within a DevOps structure. Amazon also notes that those who lack hands-on cloud experience but have a deep understanding of software development and DevOps may still make great cloud engineering candidates. 

What does an ideal Cloud Engineer look like? 

At a minimum, organizations looking to hire Cloud Engineer should find candidates that: 

  • Have experience with at least one of the leading cloud platforms. 
  • Possess a working knowledge of web services, databases like Cassandra, No-SQL, and programming languages like Golang, Python, and Java. 
  • Understand the five pillars of the well-architected framework. 
  • Are familiar with the DevOps infrastructure. 

No two candidates or organizations are alike, but these basic qualifications can help identify the best candidates to consider before making a final hiring decision.

Janardhan Gonte

Sr. Technical Recruiter
Akraya, Inc.