What It Is and How to Become One





Cloud technology has gone global because companies frequently scale up their resources to match this fast-paced world. As a result, the demand for cloud computing expertise has skyrocketed, and so also the need for cloud engineers. Large companies, however, extend these roles to freelance cloud engineers to manage and fast-track their operations.


If this sounds like what you want to do, keep reading. This article will explain what it means to be a freelance cloud engineer, the skills you need to become one, and what you stand to gain as a cloud engineer working from home.

What Is a Freelance Cloud Engineer?

A freelance cloud engineer is an IT professional who manages a company’s cloud infrastructure. They are responsible for the migration, design, monitoring, and supervision of cloud systems. Cloud engineers help companies to migrate stored data from a traditional data center to a virtual environment such that users can get access to it from anywhere in the world.

Cloud-hosted services like SaaS (software-as-a-service) and PaaS (platform-as-a-service) need cloud engineers to provide cloud support and ensure a seamless operation. Therefore, they employ the help of these cloud engineers to do the job. Freelance cloud engineers are digital nomads who can work for different companies simultaneously. However, as a freelance cloud engineer, you can only specialize as a trained cloud engineer under a cloud service provider.


According to ZipRecruiter, the average annual starting salary of a freelance cloud engineer is $118,776 ($57/hr). This salary range explains the competitiveness of this profession. But while you can earn comfortably in the comfort of your home, you still need the right skill to match the demands of cloud computing in recent times.

Skills You Need as a Freelance Cloud Engineer

To work as a top-rated freelance cloud engineer, you have to be amongst the best, which means acquiring important cloud computing skills that place you at the very top. Consider the following skills you need as a freelance cloud engineer.

1. Understanding the Cloud and Cloud Providers

Understanding how the cloud works and what cloud service provider you would be working with is essential, to begin with. These cloud service providers vary in their properties and type of services.

You should be able to compare their features to determine which best suits a need or project. You may need to compare them to choose which cloud provider you feel comfortable with.

2. Security and Recovery

No cloud system is complete without the assurance of security and data recovery. You need to acquire skills to secure stored data from hackers, avoid security breaches, and, more importantly, recover lost data.

As part of security checks, you should be able to keep track of data security, measure how safe the cloud systems are, and respond swiftly to unexpected happenings.

3. Linux

Major companies run their servers and software using Linux. So, you must have a high level of proficiency in handling a Linux operating system. Most companies look out for individuals with hands-on experience with Linux and its operating system, with a strong shell scripting system.

So, to gain enough experience and mastery with Linux, you’ll have to take Linux courses for developers and cloud engineers. Overall, you should have deep knowledge of architecture, design, maintenance, and monitoring of Linux operating systems.

4. Programming

Major parts of cloud computing require you to code and develop new software for the smooth running of a company’s cloud. Strong proficiency with programming languages like Java, SQL, and Python gives you an edge in the competitive market. You can employ your programming skills for cloud architecture and development to create integrated clouds that meet specific client needs.

5. Virtualization

Virtualization is as fundamental as programming is in cloud computing. Your ability to easily migrate and run the software in virtual environments would be a competitive advantage for you. Also, this is important because as a company or business grows, it would need scalability to adjust IT resources to fit business demands for that period.

6. Communication

Communication is a vital skill for any freelancer. You should be able to communicate and cooperate with your clients to achieve the best results for them. Even though you don’t work on-site, you want to show them you’re a team player and committed to work. Grab a course or two that teaches client retention and business communication. You’ll be glad you did.

Steps to Becoming a Freelance Cloud Engineer

Once you have acquired the essential skills of freelance cloud engineers, you can follow the steps below to become one.

1. Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree

A Bachelor’s Degree in Information Technology or Computer Science is important to understand the basics of cloud engineering. At this level, you’ll learn concepts like cloud infrastructures, cloud solutions, and cloud architecture. Furthermore, obtaining a bachelor’s degree from a reputable school would prepare you for a career in cloud engineering.


2. Learn Programming Languages and How to Code

The next step to becoming a cloud engineer is learning programming languages and taking courses that would teach you how to code. Join boot camps for coding to develop your skill while you practice constantly. Joining a boot camp also helps you get some forms of experience to move forward in your career.

3. Get Certified

Get certified and familiarize yourself with the different cloud providers available. Most cloud service providers offer professional courses for aspiring and practicing cloud engineers. Some of the best certification courses are Amazon’s AWS Solutions Architect, Google Cloud Certification, and Microsoft Azure Certifications.

4. Apply for Internships

Applying for internships helps you get hands-on experience by working with cloud engineering experts long enough until you become an independent freelance cloud engineer.

While working with experts on a team, you get to hone technical and soft skills that’ll be instrumental to the success of your career as a freelance cloud engineer. Amazingly, tech companies like Google, Amazon, SpaceX, and Microsoft accept interns.

5. Join a Freelance Platform

Finally, join freelance platforms like Upwork, Fiverr, or Guru, where you can meet clients and offer your services to them. Before you join any freelance platform, ensure you do adequate research on how to get started as a freelancer to know where your services would be relevant and what you’re required to do.

Freelance vs. On-Site Cloud Engineers: Choosing the Right Path

The world is embracing digitalization, and it’s changing the structure of workplaces. In recent years, employers have sought newer work models that don’t require employees to show up at a physical venue while still maintaining proper communication and ensuring to meet deliverables with clients.

As a result, freelance cloud engineers get to work from anywhere without having to commute to work daily. It saves time, reduces stress, and could increase productivity. However, you’ll have to deal with work-life balance and be a master at organization and time management.

On-site cloud engineers, on the other hand, benefit from the productivity and teamwork in a workplace, unlike freelancers. They also earn a little more than the freelancer, with an annual salary of $126,667 ($61/hr), as per a report. However, freelancers can take on as many projects as they can handle and still earn more.

Finally, if you’re inclined to work with a team physically to experience teamwork and motivation from colleagues, becoming an on-site engineer would be great. However, if you enjoy the flexibility and idea of working according to your schedule, you should become a freelance cloud engineer.

Explore the Cloud as a Freelance Cloud Engineer

Cloud engineering is a progressive, evergreen niche. So aside from having a very competitive pay, it also has interesting sub-roles that are high in demand. However, to successfully launch your career as a freelance cloud engineer, boosting your cloud computing knowledge and getting hands-on experience are of utmost priority.




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