AWS (Amazon Web Services) is the most comprehensive and widely used cloud platform in the world today. Launched in 2006, it includes a combination of Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offerings—175 full-featured services in all. AWS offers its cloud customers useful tools such as computing power, database storage, and content delivery services.
What is an AWS Engineer?
An AWS engineer is an IT professional who creates, maintains, and evolves an AWS cloud infrastructure for running applications. These infrastructures include production, test, and development environments. Now that we’ve established a definition of the job, we need to get into more detailed specifics of precisely what they do.
AWS Engineer Roles and Responsibilities
Here’s what organizations expect from an AWS engineer. Bear in mind that not every business or organization might require their AWS engineers to handle all of these tasks and responsibilities. Expectations can vary depending on the size and nature of the company:
- Be responsible for the planning, implementation, and growth of the AWS cloud infrastructure
- Build, release, and manage the configuration of all production systems
- Manage a continuous integration and deployment methodology for server-based technologies
- Work alongside architecture and engineering teams to design and implement any scalable software services
- Ensure necessary system security by using best in class cloud security solutions
- Stay current with new technology options and vendor products, evaluating which ones would be a good fit for the company
- Implement continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipelines when necessary
- Recommend process and architecture improvements
- Troubleshoot the system and solve problems across all platform and application domains
- Oversee pre-production acceptance testing to ensure the high quality of a company’s services and products
The Tools of an AWS Engineer
In this case, we’re using the words “tools” and “skills” interchangeably, considering that the terms blend into each other, and they’re both resources for getting the job done.
A good AWS engineer needs:
- Experience using AWS (that’s just common sense)
- Experience designing and building web environments on AWS, which includes working with services like EC2, ELB, RDS, and S3
- Experience building and maintaining cloud-native applications
- A solid background in Linux/Unix and Windows server system administration
- Experience using DevOps tools in a cloud environment, such as Ansible, Artifactory, Docker, GitHub, Jenkins, Kubernetes, Maven, and Sonar Qube
- Experience installing and configuring different application servers such as JBoss, Tomcat, and WebLogic
- Experience using monitoring solutions like CloudWatch, ELK Stack, and Prometheus
- An understanding of writing Infrastructure-as-Code (IaC), using tools like CloudFormation or Terraform
- Knowledge of one or more of the most-used programming languages available for today’s cloud computing (i.e., SQL data, XML data, R math, Clojure math, Haskell functional, Erlang functional, Python procedural, and Go procedural languages)
- Experience in troubleshooting distributed systems
- Proficiency in script development and scripting languages
- The ability to be a team player
- The ability and skill to train other people in procedural and technical topics
- Strong communication and collaboration skills
As a special aside, an AWS engineer who works in DevOps should also have experience with:
- The theory, concepts, and real-world application of Continuous Delivery (CD), which requires familiarity with tools like AWS CodeBuild, AWS CodeDeploy, and AWS CodePipeline
- An understanding of automation
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The AWS Engineer Learning Path
There is a lot to learn, but fortunately, there is an AWS learning path you can follow that will get you to the ultimate destination.
Most AWS cloud engineers start by getting at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science, computer engineering, information technology, or some other related technical major. Then, you’ll need to supplement your education by spending some time in the software development field, generally three to five years. Note that some corporations expect a total of 10 years of related systems engineering experience.
Much of the time spent in software development should include working with programming languages such as AngularJS, C++, Java, and Python. Additionally, you should have experience in several tech tools and platforms like Hadoop, Kafka, Kubernetes, Redshift, Scala, Spark, and SQL. You should then round out all of the above skills and experience by developing skills in DevOps, Docker, and Linux.
Cybersecurity is a major concern these days; consequently, cloud engineers should have some cybersecurity skills in their toolbox. According to McAfee, 40 percent of IT professionals have stalled their cloud migration projects over security concerns and a lack of cybersecurity expertise.
Many educational institutions have classes in any of the above skills that you can’t acquire on the job. A few continuing education courses can help fill those knowledge gaps nicely; you can even take night classes if you happen to have a day job.
Where are the AWS Engineer Jobs?
In the interest of full disclosure, the term “AWS cloud engineer” is vague. There are so many different roles available to an AWS engineer that it makes more sense to break it down further into specific functions. To that end, here’s a list of the 15 different career paths that an AWS cloud engineer can take. The positions most in demand today, according to Indeed, are as follows:
- Back-end developer
- Cloud engineer
- Data engineer
- Data scientist
- Development operations engineer
- Front-end developer
- Full-stack developer
- Java developer
- .NET developer
- Senior Java developer
- Senior software engineer
- Software architect
- Systems administrator
- Software engineer
- System engineer
If you’re looking for where the AWS engineer jobs are, and you happen to be in the United States, these are the five hottest cloud computing markets, according to Forbes:
- Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL
- New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY
- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA
- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA
- Washington DC, Arlington-Alexandria, VA
For a more global perspective, here is a list of where Amazon AWS opportunities tend to concentrate. This list gives you an idea of where you stand a better chance of finding cloud-related careers around the world:
- Bangalore, India
- Beijing, China
- Berlin, Germany
- Capetown, South Africa
- Dublin, Ireland
- London, UK
- Seoul, South Korea
- Sydney, Australia
- Tokyo, Japan
- Vancouver, Canada
For the record, Amazon also has AWS career openings in the following US cities:
- Boston, Massachusetts
- Dallas, Texas
- Herndon, Virginia
- New York, New York
- San Francisco Bay Area, California
- Seattle, Washington
AWS Engineer Salaries Across the Globe
Whoever invented the phrase “Nice work if you can get it” must have seen the salaries for AWS engineers! For instance, a cloud engineer in the United States can earn an annual average of $126,397, according to Indeed.
According to Glassdoor, AWS salaries in India hover around an annual average of ₹1,603,765, AWS professionals in Ireland can expect an average annual salary of £55,581. Working in Japan can earn you a yearly average salary of ¥5,739,000. Finally, Amazon Cloud Support Engineers in Australia earn an average of A$95,146 per year.
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Would You Like AWS Engineer Training?
If all of this talk about cloud computing—the exciting challenges it poses and the great perks it offers—has you interested in a career in this field, then Simplilearn can help you achieve your goal! Simplilearn’s Cloud Architect (AWS & Azure) Master’s Program will build your Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure cloud expertise from the ground up. You will learn to master the architectural principles and services of two of the top cloud platforms in the world today, design and deploy highly scalable, fault-tolerant applications, and develop skills to transform yourself into an AWS and Azure cloud architect.
The seven-course program gives you access to over 40 in-demand skills and more than 25 services, delivered by more than 60 instructor-led online classes. After you have completed all the prerequisites, you will earn your master’s certificate, showing any prospective employer that you have all of the tools and knowledge needed to do the job.
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