Job profile: Become a cloud administrator
Posted on
October 17, 2023
A cloud administrator needs to have a variety of skills and knowledge.

Organizations of all sizes and types rent cloud computing services from cloud service providers. These services include servers, networking, databases, data backup and storage, software, analytics, and intelligence. A cloud administrator is primarily responsible for moving applications, data, and files to the cloud, and maintaining and monitoring cloud infrastructure and operations.

Cloud-based applications can be complex. They require regular supervision and optimization. Cloud administrators oversee their organization’s cloud deployment so as to ensure efficiency, availability, and security of operations. They enable companies to achieve their business objectives.

This is not an entry-level role. It would suit IT professionals with experience in cloud computing or a related field, appropriate technical skill-set, and good interpersonal skills. Cloud computing is a dynamic field. IT professionals with relevant cloud skills and experience can earn relatively high salaries.

Job responsibilities

Cloud administrators carry out a variety of tasks related to the development and maintenance of cloud services. From communicating with clients, company employees, and management to determine their requirements, to setting up cloud services, and managing functionality and security of cloud applications, a cloud administrator needs to be capable of discharging different responsibilities pertaining to cloud and system administration.

Day-to-day functions of this role vary according to the type and size of the organization. Responsibilities can include any or all of the following:

A cloud administrator needs to have a variety of skills and knowledge.

Conferring with company personnel and senior executives — A cloud administrator must ascertain stakeholder requirements and customize cloud infrastructure to suit the company’s needs.

Devise and deploy cloud tools — A cloud administrator is responsible for planning and setting up public, private and hybrid cloud services.

Cloud infrastructure maintenance — A cloud administrator is the caretaker for cloud-based applications and networks, including user access permissions.

Policy management — A cloud administrator develops, implements, and updates policies to ensure only authorized access to cloud resources by employees and users.

Provide support and guidance — A cloud administrator will be expected to train and assist other IT team members, to ensure uninterrupted operations and smooth functionality of networks. You should also expect to communicate with and train tech and non-tech personnel in the use of cloud services.

Overall system maintenance — The job includes implementing system security policies and procedures, applying patches, and updating cloud application security protocols. You should also expect to monitor system performance, evaluate system capabilities, and implement modifications as needed.

Monitor new developments — A cloud administrator must compare and assess emerging technologies and alternative solutions, and implement new technologies as required.

Troubleshooting problems — A cloud administrator is often responsible to handle issues that may arise with cloud-based applications.

Keep an eye on

A cloud administrator needs to have a variety of skills and knowledge.

Cloud computing continues to evolve. Cloud professionals need to keep abreast of cloud trends, tools, and technologies in order to deliver optimum outcomes. Cloud administrators must be up-to-date with the latest developments in cloud platforms, hypervisors, containers, orchestration technologies, and storage systems.

The leading cloud platforms are AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, and Oracle. Reading newsletters, blogs, and other official publications of providers can help you stay in touch with the latest developments in cloud technologies. Joining online communities and attending conferences and other industry events is also a good way to stay up-to-date.

Training and employment background

Most employers require an applicant for a cloud administrator’s role to have at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science, electronics, telecommunications, information technology, or a related field, in addition to between three and five years of professional experience in systems or network administration, or a related IT field. A few may even require a master’s degree, depending on the organization and the nature of the job.

Some IT professionals do manage to become cloud administrators without a relevant degree. In such cases, the candidate usually has years of experience in cloud and related fields, a solid portfolio of cloud-based projects, and possibly one or more industry certifications.

IT pros who do not have much exposure to cloud computing might want to try to get work on cloud-based projects in order to gain practical experience. You can also sign up for an account on AWS or Azure and begin experimenting. This can help you understand the fundamentals of the technology.

You should expect to have strong knowledge and/or experience with the following cloud computing tools and technologies:

A cloud administrator needs to have a variety of skills and knowledge.

Windows and Linux administration
You need to be conversant with both Windows and UNIX environments. Many cloud administrators work in mixed environments where both Windows and UNIX operating systems are deployed. It is necessary to be able to manage both Windows and Linux VMs.

Virtual systems
Cloud administrators need to understand how virtual machines work because most workloads are hosted on VMs. Major virtualization platforms or hypervisors include VMWare, Microsoft’s Hyper-V, and Linux KVM. Cloud admins should be aware of how one platform differs from another and the advantages and disadvantages of different hypervisors.  

Data management
Organizations store and process data in the cloud. Therefore, cloud admins need to be conversant in the use of different types of databases, data storage systems, data backup methods, and file transfer systems.

Containers are software packages of application code and their runtime environment, such as libraries and dependencies. Containers can run anywhere, thereby facilitating workload portability. Container-based applications can be easily deployed in different environments.

Container technologies, such as Kubernetes and Docker, orchestrate container-based application development and deployment. Cloud admins need to be conversant with container orchestration technologies in order to be able to figure out when to use or not use containers, and manage containerized applications.

Cloud administrators need in-depth knowledge of programming languages used in cloud computing, such as Python and Java.

Cloud administrators also need good communication, collaboration, time-management, and problem-solving skills.


A cloud administrator needs to have a variety of skills and knowledge.

Cloud certifications can demonstrate to potential employers that you have current knowledge and skills in cloud technologies and tools, and the commitment to keep pace with the latest developments in your area of specialization.

Relevant certifications include:

AWS Certified SysOps Administrator - Associate

This credential demonstrates the ability to deploy, maintain, and operate cloud applications on the AWS platform. AWS recommends experience working with AWS technology, or in systems administration, or on-site IT infrastructure experience and mapping to the cloud, or other cloud services.

Additional information is available online.

Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate

This certification validates skills in the implementation, management, and monitoring of an organization’s cloud applications in a Microsoft Azure environment.

Additional information is available online.

Red Hat Certified Specialist in Cloud Infrastructure

This credential demonstrates expertise in designing, configuring, and managing private clouds in a Red Hat OpenStack environment.

Additional information is available online.

Professional Cloud Administrator Certification

This is a vendor-neutral certification managed by the Cloud Credential Council. Systems, network, or database administrators looking to develop skills in cloud administration might find this credential useful. The Professional Cloud Administrator credential covers types of cloud environments, cloud capacity planning, cloud administration technology, security and compliance, and cloud provisioning.

Additional information is available online.

Cloud administrators need to develop a range of skills and concepts. This can be a rewarding role for an individual with strong technical aptitude, the requisite skill-set, education, and experience. With a few years of experience as a cloud administrator, one can progress to the role of a senior cloud administrator or cloud engineer.

About the Author

Reena Ghosh is an independent ghostwriter who writes promotional, developmental and explanatory content for individuals and businesses. She came to professional writing with work experience in financial services operations and corporate communication. Reena speaks three languages and hopes to learn Sanskrit. She is a wanderer who spends time in West Bengal, Goa and any place that pulls.

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