5 Things To Do, Not, To Become A Cloud Engineer

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If you got here through a search engine, you must have seen a lot of articles with points that seems valid but hey! Welcome back to reality will you? Reality check: You mustn’t be a Cloud or DevOps Engineer. Why would anybody want to be that?

Yo! Cloud/DevOps Engineers are always behind the scenes. Why would you not want to be at the forefront of the company doing things that seems to matter most? You literally want to wake up everyday trying to make things that are already working better, building pipelines and monitoring dashboards, fixing problems before they exist and get into conflict with opinionated team members on what’s cloud native and not cloud native? Would you want to be saddled with the responsibility of having to stay up to date with over 500 services offered by at least two cloud service providers; AWS or GCP or Azure or OCI, etc — Pick. Your. Poison!

Ahan… I didn’t think so.

Well, I am here to help you out. Thank me later…

1. Ignore the evolution of Cloud technology and the future of jobs:

Yes! Start by ignoring that in 2020, World Economic Forum (WEF) released Future of Jobs 2020 reports to capture the drastic changes that will happen in the world of jobs for the next five years as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Yes, ignore the fact that according to that report(Page 31), Cloud Technology related jobs are the highest growing jobs and they are the highest in demand. I have to confess, it is fun knowing that currently, the demand outweighs the supply but leave that for us to worry about. Just ignore and find something else to do.

Most companies are moving to the cloud. On premise engineers are skilling up to be able to take up cloud based roles. Companies are in need for Cloud/DevOps/SRE Engineers to build highly available, scalable infrastructure bleh bleh bleh… Ignore it all! Don’t worry, we won’t hold it against you.

2. Continuous learning is for the naive ones:

I have spent most of my free time reading release notes of services that seems to change every single month. I am always on related social media platforms like Slack’s DevOps Chat and DevOps Engineers, chatting with legends and learning from them. I have had to learn tools in a matter of weeks to get jobs done. Let’s not even start with my constant visits to Stackoverflow and Reddit. Yes, thank you, I am always on my toes — or naive if I may say. I mean, I am never bored as I face new challenges everyday but hey, is this the life you want to get into?

You really want to jump from running Cassandra and Kafka on EC2 instances to running them on GKE within a 2 months’ window? Yo! That’s moving from AWS to GCP and also, from traditional instances to Kubernetes. It’s too challenging and requires you to learn during your unpaid hours. Why would you get a job that makes you take courses and read up documentations at unpaid hours? Why would you want to fix something if it is not broken? Why deal with annoying developers that do not want to move to containers or serverless computing because they just don’t want to learn it?

3. Shun DevOps or Agile Culture?

DevOps is all about the infinity symbol and automation tools right? If you must learn it, focus on the tools. Learn tools like Git, Jenkins, Terraform, Ansible, Azure DevOps, AWS DevOps, Atlassian, Kanban, Scrum, Chai, Chef, ChefInspec, ELK stakc, Cloudwatch and whatever tools you have read on DevOps Roadmap. Don’t worry yourself about the culture that birthed the practice itself. Don’t read Google’s SRE Book or The Phoenix Project. You will not need any of the culture as far as you know the tools, culture is for managers. All these git workflow, lead time, SLOs, SLIs, continuous delivery principles and the likes, leave them for the managers to worry about.

4. Have a bit of knowledge of all big cloud providers, master none:

Learn a bit of AWS. Get bored or frustrated with their many services. Then get fascinated about GCP’s UI and their wonderful Kubernetes offering. But don’t get too carried away, Azure has great cloud networking offering that may just beat OCI’s. But you just have to see OCI’s networking and what they are doing with OpenShift. Then when your free trial expres, move to DigitalOcean or Alibaba Cloud. Know a tad bit of offering these cloud service providers offers, then call yourself a multi-cloud specialist. That way we know you are a badass. See, I started with one cloud and it’s been years, yet I only know 2. Don’t be like me, learn all at once.

5. Go after the certificates, don’t do projects:

Few years back, Google and few other FAANG companies announced that they are no longer using academic certificates as criteria to employ talents, that recruitment had shifted to a question of what you can do, based on what you have done. Little wonder why this same Google have over 6 Cloud Based certifications for cloud specialists. They are disguising right? Some will say the certifications are there to challenge you to be up to date with cloud offerings but hey, have you been to LinkedIn? Certification posts gets the highest impressions. Don’t do projects mate, you don’t need the hands on experience for anything. Focus on taking in all the theoretical knowledge needed to ace your certification exams and get the impressions you need on LinkedIn.

Yes, projects will give you a real life experience of what a life we live a Cloud/DevOps Engineers but why would you want to spend days building things that you might end up being charged for? Tell you what, one time I forgot to delete 6 NAT Gateways on my AWS Free Tier account — for one month. I got charged in dollars, dollars! I learnt a big lesson that day but you don’t need these lessons. Lessons that comes at the expense of your hard earned money is not worth it.

There you have it. If you finished reading my 5 solid points and you think you don’t want to follow them, well, I am not responsible for the awesome world you are getting yourself into. Like I said, thank me later.

Cloud Architect | DevOps Evangelist | CKA, CKAD | I mostly write things in here so I can read them again when I get lost — eventually.