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What is a good way to get into cloud computing?


Bradley Smith Virginia Beach, VA

I am still serving, but I will be transitioning out next year. I am trying to make the most of my time and trying to get some good qualifications. I have read how big cloud computing is getting and I am interested in getting those certifications. Looking for some advice on websites to use or places to study?

9 December 2021 17 replies Career Exploration



Tony Parrilla Austin, TX

Hi Bradley. I'm a Cloud Solution Specialists, and can tell you that a degree is a baseline. But, very important to also look into those certs. You can start with basic practitioner certs from AWS, AZURE, Google, and then let your role guide you into what other certs are needed. Don't go out and spend all this money as lot of people do getting certs, unless you need them. Entry level certs, will open up the door to an entry level job in the cloud computing business. Business is booming.

17 December 2021 Helpful answer


Ronnie Wyche Columbia, SC

You have picked a great area of technology! All the answers are valuable. You need to decide on what you are going to specialize in. I own a cybersecurity firm. I started with CEH and other certs to understand and create software and use tools to help defend and remediate against attacks. I decided that since most data is in or through the cloud, to get an AWS Solutions Architect cert to help our firm understand the cloud space. I recommend to those with a degree to get certs in cloud. I recommend those with no degree to get a degree. Those who do not want to get a degree to get certs. For all of them I tell them to build a portfolio of work done and labs completed to help an interviewer take a risk on you with no or limited experience. I did some free cloud work for nonprofits and some freelance for broke startups to gain experience too. When I hire, I ask "show me your portfolio of what you have done in reference to cloud experience." I ask that question with a degree, a cert, or no degree or cert. It shows you have "skin in the game" so to speak. I wish you well and thank you for your service.


26 December 2021 Helpful answer


Geoff Bernstein Williamsburg, VA

Hey Brad. To echo what others have said, it depends on what you want to do in cloud computing. There are roles in sales, admin, app development…narrow your focus to what you want to do, so you can build a path to it.

The best thing you can do is *find a recruiter for a company you see yourself working for in a location you want, and ask them what they’re looking for*. If you see yourself working a federal, cleared position, go on LinkedIn or ACP, tell them your story, and ask for a phone interview. Spam ‘em and hit the digital streets, knocking on digital doors. Someone will answer.

One thing I would recommend is choosing a technology stack to focus on at first, before you become a generalist. Microsoft offers a free 17-week MSSA program for vets with paths in Cloud Application Development (CAD) or Server & Cloud Administration (SCA). They also have an MSSA federal program for those with a clearance and 5-8 years of IT experience. ( I believe AWS also has a mil transition program, but it’s not as well-managed.

If you don’t come from a tech background originally, you can check out the VA VETTECH program ( The VA will pay for training without using any of your VA benefits. Application is very easy, but apply early, as they usually run out of money in the summertime.

22 December 2021 Helpful answer


Venkat Narayanan San Jose, CA

Hello Bradley, thank you for your service. 🙏🏼 A quick search of Coursera shows a bunch of courses on Cloud Computing. These are free (unless you want a certificate) so it's a place to dip your toes in the water. Azure, Google, AWS are all popular, but the basics are probably the same. You could look at job postings, start with the company you'd like to work for and see what Cloud they use. A certification in that Cloud is probably the way to go. Over time, you can gain proficiency in all the platforms. Keeping costs under control is vital, you could pay for a certification that has no value.

YouTube may be another good source for free instructional videos. Do a couple of side projects on the Cloud to see what it feels like.

Best wishes and Happy Holidays!

19 December 2021 Helpful answer


Amit Chaudhary San Jose, CA

as someone who has developed on the cloud, Ronnie, Geoff are more practical among those I read.
Pick one, AWS and Azure are top, then within those field, focus to find 1, max 2 areas and get experience.
Nothing is handed out, it is earned. And expertise will come with focus

4 January 2022 Helpful answer


Nathan Robinson Savannah, GA

Hello Bradley,

If you'd like to take the degree path, I strongly recommend Western Governors University's Cloud Computing program. I, like you, have been transitioning out of the military for the past year or so. I asked the same question to myself and decided to go with WGU. Their program has several certs built in, and it's fully online. I went from 0 certs and 0 credits to 95 credits and 11 certs in 18 months. I will have my degree complete in 3 months, and I will be retired in October. My desire is to complete a Skillbridge/CSP in May to help me gain the experience to help me get that perfect cloud job.

3 January 2022 Helpful answer


John Reynolds Novato, CA

Bradley -
We offer basic training in Cloud Computing, through Coursera. It's free of charge to active duty, veterans and spouses.

Go here to view the Cloud Computing options and to sign up: ...

... and here to see all of our Career Tracks:

Job search support is available if your complete the curriculum. Best of luck!

30 December 2021 Helpful answer


Tom Poole Carmichael, CA

Hi Bradley,

A lot of good advice here. Education is always good. In high tech, you can make a profitable career by focusing on the technology. Degree or not, motivation, drive, and always learning the latest tech will take you where you want to go in any field and profession.

You are focused in the right direction, as there is a dearth of experts in cloud technologies and technology in general today.

Pick one, AWS or Azure to get started. You might consider the next frontier in tech; Edge (IoT) with AWS or Azure. Add to that a focus on one of the leaders in tech today, VMware, Dell, HPE, IBM, etc. and how to blend the emerging cloud and edge technologies with existing systems on premises, both proven and private cloud technologies running businesses today. Over 90% of workloads are still on prem and will be integrated with public cloud technologies.

Kubernetes (K8S) and Containers are key underlying technologies and are staples regardless of which vendor you focus on. Table stakes today, everyone will support K8S so you can't go wrong. It's much like Virtual Machines, the key underlying technology in all of the public clouds.

Telecom is also a frontier tightly coupled with edge and undergoing massive disruption. 5G is emerging, dive into 5G (cloud technologies are underlying 5G and edge).

Getting in on the ground floor for edge and telco cloud native technologies is a sound career choice that will feed you and your family for generations. A key is jumping in and getting something done, avoid just take classes for a couple of years. Build something and learn. Lessons are offered by AWS and Azure every day, YouTube, Twitch, etc.

Thanks for your service and please contact me directly if I can help.

Sincere regards and happy holidays,

28 December 2021 Helpful answer


Tom Parette China Grove, NC

Vendor certifications are the most important thing to have in this field. The big three vendors (AWS, GCP and Microsoft) all have certification programs. I would suggest you pick one and start the process of the various certification programs.

24 December 2021 Helpful answer


John Porell East Hartford, CT

Hi Bradley,
While more education is always better I would recommend that you put more thought into what you want to do in "cloud computing". Computing in the public cloud can take a number of different tracks. Boot camps can be very helpful in helping you define a specific path. As a person early in this career path it is helpful to focus on one provider and one path. It appears you have established the provider as AWS but there also paths for Infrastructure as a Service, Software as a Service, DevOps, Analytics and Machine learning and more. Use the boot camps and certificates that support the path that interests you. As others have mentioned there as also non-engineering opportunities related to AWS teams such as scrum master or product owners which have additional certifications. I would suggest you also make use of the AWS self paced labs or CloudGuru labs to get some hands on examples. Exposure to programming languages like python or nodejs would be a plus to any cloud candidate.
Good luck

22 December 2021 Helpful answer


Daniel Riedel San Francisco, CA

The above answers are really great on the technical track for Cloud Computing, but don't forget there is incredible need for Sales, Marketing, Human Resources at these companies as well. If you are also open to careers beyond the the technical track, great entry level positions are in Sales Account Executives and similar entry level roles in the other departments. Sales is a great place to both get good money but also apply technical solutions that help business thrive.

21 December 2021 Helpful answer


Marc Blanchenay Pompano Beach, FL

Check with the VA, they had some free courses provided by Google for cert's, maybe some AWS links too I cant recall. Getting those basic certs will go a long way, its booming right now. Also if not looking directly at the big 3 ( Google, AWS, Azure), look at SaaS platform companies, like SalesForce for example. Many companies are moving in this direction for the subscription revenue as well as scalability.

21 December 2021 Helpful answer


Tim O'Brien Santa Clara, CA

Hello Bradley,

To clarify, everyone in IT and InfoSec is now having to "get into the cloud". Just about everything is migrating to being hosted/run in the cloud. Vendors have cloud based offerings that are hosted in cloud providers (AWS/GCP/Azure). Each of the cloud providers and the application providers have their own nuances and critical things we need to configure, consider when deploying, when hardening, integrating with other platforms, etc. With more & more of these platforms being dumped onto IT to manage and InfoSec to harden, experience using them is just as important as operating and managing them. Being able to speak the how & why as well as implement in the cloud is key.

As others mentioned, many companies & hiring managers for IT & InfoSec roles will sadly use not having a degree as a reason to reject your application. As part of your schooling, any good college/university should have coursework that leverages cloud providers. As part of work sturdy or internships, see if you can get involved with such projects that involve such IaaS/SaaS/etc. The community college programs do tend to me more hands on & technical, but they may not have updated their coursework to include cloud. Be sure to review & confirm you will get the experience you want before committing to a program. Before you separate, see of you can use your education benefits to get some of this coursework knocked out - your VA education benefits only get you so far.

For students and individuals, AWS has a entry level/free for setting up your own instances and learning how to work with & in the AWS ecosystem. Be very careful here though - you do have to provide a credit card, and it can easily be over the "no longer free" threshold if you miss-configure or your instances are compromised and used for other/malicious activity.

For those first roles in IT and InfoSec, looking for Network or Security Operations Center (NOC or SOC) roles are a good first step, as well as support/help desk opportunities.

Hope this helps, and good luck. Feel free to reach out if I can be of further assistance.

21 December 2021 Helpful answer


Daniel Ley Laramie, WY

The other answers are pretty spot on: certs > entry level role for 1-2 years to get the experience on the resume > "real" cloud computing jobs.

A lot of the degree requirements are pretty easily waived with a few years experience; my grad work was an MBA but I've been in cloud security for years and about to start my next role in the field.

20 December 2021 Helpful answer


Garrett Hall San Antonio, TX

You may be interested in acquiring certifications through a local community college.

Here is an example of an AWS cert:

A cert can help you get your foot in the door. I would recommend once you are working in the field to pursue a bachelors degree. Usually these degrees advance your career more quickly and have more lucrative outcomes. Plus you have the GI Bill so it doesn’t cost you anything other than your time and effort.

19 December 2021 Helpful answer


Joe Engle Indianapolis, IN

Hello Bradley:
I highly recommend you get a degree, if not a BS, then an Associate degree. Yes cloud computing has been hot, and will be for some time to come. Get a few AWS certs, that are of your interest. These certs may take a few months each and be prepared to study hard. Check out the Stephane Maarek course and the Jon Bonso practice exams.

The degree/cert combo will put you ahead of a lot of the crowd. Your hard work now will pay off for the rest of your life.

All the best,

15 December 2021 Helpful answer


Richard Byrne Hillsborough, NJ

I've added some links to one of my webpages that might help you. has a link for AWS training : has job search links has government job search links

Here is a search I did.

Find jobs you like, and strive to meet the position requirements.
Some positions require an Academic degree

10 December 2021 Helpful answer

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