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Are you a multicloud engineer yet? The case for building skills on more than one cloud

In the last few months, we have decided to move from the AWS ecosystem to Google Cloud. Both are great clouds. And I think it made me a stronger and more versatile technician. But I’m just a data point for big trends. As I and others have said for some time, a multicolored engineer is inevitable at this point in medium to large organizations. As your IT footprint becomes more complex, expect broader cloud provider requirements to pop up wherever you work or interview. Multicloud engineer is underway, whether ready or not.

Are you a multicloud engineer yet The case for building skills on more than one cloud

In fact, in a recent Hashicorp cloud strategy survey, 76% of employers are already using multiple clouds in some way, and more than 50% lack employee skills as the biggest challenge to surviving in the cloud. Is listed. This is an opportunity for you as an engineer. But where do you bet to stay competitive in this increasingly cloudy world with limited time and bandwidth?

You can pick a cloud and get better and stick to it. It’s a perfectly valid career bet. (And if you put your career in the cloud, you should definitely choose Google Cloud! I have a reason!) But in this post, you give your level of professional sophistication. Three major cloud providers in the United States (Google Cloud, AWS, and Microsoft Azure) open their own future-optimized career options, claiming that they should be expanded to at least two.

What do I mean by ‘multicolored fluency’? 

For this discussion, I define “multi-cloud fluency” as, for example, a cloud-savvy level that can pass the major professional-level certifications offered by that cloud provider (eg Google Cloud). increase. Professional Cloud Architect Certified or AWS Certified Solutions Architect Professional. In particular, I’m not saying that multi-cloud capabilities require experience managing production workloads in multiple clouds, but I’ll explain why immediately.

How does multicolored fluency make you a better cloud engineer?

We asked the Twitter cloud community to give us some examples of how learning about multiple clouds helped their careers. Dozens of engineers responded with great discussions. Even if you’ve never integrated services from multiple clouds into the same project, many don’t. – It’s still worth understanding how other clouds work.

Learning the lingua franca of cloud

I like this framing of various cloud providers as “Romance languages”. Like the human language of the same family tree, the cloud shares many of the same conceptual components. Adults mainly learn by analogy with what we have already encountered. Just as learning a programming language makes it easier to learn more, learning the cloud shortens the learning curve of others. Understanding the strengths and trade-offs of different cloud providers not only helps you absorb new information more quickly but also helps you choose the best service and architecture for your new project. I really remember struggling with this when I was working for a consulting firm that focused solely on AWS. A customer asked, “What if I did this in Azure?”, But I didn’t have a solid context. However, if you have a solid and basic understanding of the landscape of a major provider, you can feel confident and confident. — In a technical decision.

Becoming a unicorn

To be clear, this perception is not common among engineering talents. For this reason, people using multi-cloud chops are often considered “unicorns” in the recruitment market. Want to stand out in 2022? Show that you know multiple clouds. At the very least, it expands the market for your skills and includes companies focused on each cloud you know.

To get an extreme understanding of this idea, consultants are the most supportive of the value of multi-cloud resumes. This makes sense because consultants often work in different clouds, depending on the client project of the week. Lynn Langit, an independent consultant and one of my favorite cloud technicians, estimates that he spends about 40% of his consulting time on Google Cloud, 40% on AWS, and 20% on Azure. Her expertise among her vendors allows her to select the engagements that are most interesting to her and recommend the most valuable technology.

But don’t get me wrong. If you work with an in-house engineering team, multi-cloud skills can also help you develop your career. As your organization’s cloud journey becomes more complex, you need tech leaders and decision-makers who understand the overall cloud footprint. Want to be a senior engineer or technical manager for a medium to a large company or a growing start-up? These roles require an enterprise-wide understanding of the technology landscape, which can include services from multiple clouds.

How to multicloud-ify your career

We have found that some familiarity with multiple clouds opens up career opportunities. But learning the cloud may seem daunting enough, especially if it’s not part of your current job. How do you design a multi-cloud career path that is so thin and never ends that it has no effect?

Get good at the core concepts

Yes, all clouds are different. However, they share many of the same basic approaches to IAM, virtual networks, high availability, and more. These are portable platforms that allow you to move between clouds as needed. If you are new to the cloud, Associate Level Solutions Architect Certification will help you cover the basics. Be sure to practice practically to put the concept into practice. We learn more from practice than from reading.

Go deep into your primary cloud

Aside from the basics, it’s very important to speak to your cloud provider natively. You may have the opportunity to acquire multi-cloud skills at work, but to take on the role of a cloud engineer, you almost certainly need to show significant expertise in a particular cloud.

Note: If you’re new to the cloud and don’t know which provider to start with, try Google Cloud as a biased (but well-founded) recommendation. There is a free tier that doesn’t cost you until you give permission, and the nifty project structure makes it easy to move up and down different test environments.

It is worth noting that the engineering team also specializes. Everyone has a deadlock, but often they try to standardize with one cloud provider as much as possible. When working with such teams, take advantage of the opportunity to gain as much hands-on experience as possible in the cloud of your choice.

Go broad on your secondary cloud

You may have heard of the concept of T-shaped abilities. Versatile developers are broadly familiar with the set of related technologies (horizontal part of the “T”) and are deeply specific niche experts. Skills at the primary cloud provider can be thought of as a deep part of the “T”. (To be honest, a niche can be a subset of the services of the primary cloud, because even one cloud has too many services for one person to track at the expert level, such as security and data. .)

In other words, build on the primary cloud and get certified on the secondary cloud. This gives you rentable expertise in the “native” cloud and another market situational awareness. When you have the opportunity to build on top of that secondary cloud, you’re ready to go. I should add that some people have pointed out to me that when they catch up with multiple secondary clouds, they feel diminishing returns. Ultimately, the cognitive switch becomes overwhelming and additional learning no longer adds much value. Maybe the sweet spot looks like this: 1 <2> 3.

Bet on cloud-native services and multi-cloud tooling

The overall point of building on the cloud is to take advantage of what the cloud is best at. This usually means leveraging powerful native managed services such as Spanner and VertexAI.
Meanwhile, the cloud ecosystem has matured and great open-source multi-cloud management tools for exchanging services specific to these providers are readily available. (Are you running containers in the cloud? You’re probably using Kubernetes! Looking for a DevOps role? The team is probably looking for Terraform expertise, regardless of the cloud they specialize in.) By spending time learning some of these cross-cloud tools, more doors to build interesting stuff with the team of your choice.

Multicloud and you

After years of entering the world of Google Cloud as an AWS hero, I decided to follow new Google Cloud voice groups such as Stephanie Wong and Richard Seroter. But I didn’t even ghost my friends using AWS! If you keep up with both ecosystems, I will be a better engineer (and a better community member).

“But I can’t keep up with the many features and updates from CloudA. How can I add CloudB?” Accept that you can’t know everything. No one does. Use your extensive knowledge of cloud basics as an index, regularly read the documentation for your frequently used services, and keep your secondary cloud awareness up to date:
Follow some reliable voices that will help you filter the signal from noise.

  • Participate in a virtual event about once every quarter.
  • Accessing live learning has never been easier
  • Building a weekend side project to practice your skills

Ultimately, you (not your team or their technical choice!) Are responsible for the course of your career. If you have any career questions that will help me answer in this post, feel free to contact me on Twitter. Let’s continue the conversation.

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