We live in a world that has an insatiable demand for new software and apps. As a result, there is a corresponding need for more professionals dedicated to developing these new programs. App developers need the best tools available, and that includes a reliable cloud computing platform.
Microsoft’s Azure, released in 2010, is a top-rated cloud platform, especially among enterprise-level professionals — used by 95% of Fortune 500 companies.
The demand for Azure cloud solution architects is high thanks to the popularity of Azure in the DevOps field. That’s why we’re looking at how to become one. We will be exploring different aspects of the position, including the Azure solution architect certification path.
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If you’re curious about Azure as a platform, make sure also to check out the article Azure Architecture Explained.
But now, let’s dig into the world of the Azure architect.
What is an Azure Architect?
An Azure architect, better known as an Azure Cloud Solutions architect, is Microsoft’s own branded version of the generic cloud architect. The cloud architect leads his or her business’ cultural change towards cloud adoption, develops and coordinates cloud architecture, creates a cloud strategy, and facilitates its approval by the business stakeholders.
What are the Roles and Responsibilities of an Azure Architect?
Depending on the size and type of company organization, an Azure cloud solutions architect’s roles and responsibilities vary wildly in scope. However, in general, most Azure architects perform the following duties:
- Lead a group of architects and provide them direction in implementing a cloud solution
- Work independently with business and technical stakeholders to understand the organization’s obstacles, and provide due diligence
- Develop and implement an Azure cloud architecture, overseeing issues such as migration
- Estimate and outline the solutions needed to implement cloud migration as well as continued operations
- Execute the hands-on implementation of proposed solutions and provide technical guidance to teams during the solutions’ development and deployment phases
- Proactively provide team members with the information and guidance of engineering methodologies, standards, and best practices
- Identify, communicate, and mitigate the assumptions, issues, and risks that occur throughout the entire project lifecycle
- Be the judge who strikes a balance between what’s strategically logical and what can be accomplished realistically
In summary, an Azure cloud solutions architect is a promoter/evangelist of Azure cloud computing, who works with IT professionals and other related team members to design, build, and execute an Azure cloud environment. The architect also handles risk analysis, cost estimates, and communication with non-IT personnel to ensure smooth implementation and transition.
If you need more reasons to pursue a career as an Azure cloud solutions architect, check out this article for the top six reasons.
What are the Tools of an Azure Architect?
With all the responsibilities and duties heaped on the average Azure cloud solution architect, you would assume that such a hard-working professional would need a bunch of tools, and you would be right.
Here are the tools that any good Azure architect needs to succeed:
- Experience building cloud environments on Azure
- Familiarity with one or more of the following subjects: Azure administration, Azure development, or DevOps
- Familiarity with a range of IT operations, including budgeting, business continuity, data management, disaster recovery, governance, identity, networking, security, and virtualization
- Experience performing cost analysis, since architects need to justify cloud-related costs to management and balance performance requirements against budget limitations
- An understanding of cloud concepts such as microservices
- Excellent communication skills. Azure cloud solutions must deal with team members, management, and business stakeholders
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What Is the Learning Path for an Azure Architect?
The Azure architect certification path is a long and winding road, but the result makes the trip worthwhile. Organizations expect a lot from their cloud architects, so preparation is vital, and that involves training. If you’re interested in becoming an Azure architect, then consider the following path.
- Earn at least a bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering, Computer Science, Information Technology, or some other related technical discipline. Some organizations prefer a master’s degree. Part of your academic training should be devoted to gaining a solid understanding of scripting and programming languages
- Learn all the elements of Azure’s cloud infrastructure solutions, such as BCDR, IaaS, OSS, PaaS, and Infra
- Gain a working understanding of databases such as MySQL
- Learn Java
- Get experience using open-source technologies such as Docker, OpenStack, and Redis
- Acquire proficiency with integrated development environments, and at least one operating system (Linux, UNIX, Windows)
- Gain experience working with networking components such as DNS, Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP), HTTP, IP addresses, LAN/WAN technology, TCP/IP, as well as components like switches, routers, and firewalls
- Develop a working understanding of cybersecurity. If you’re working in the cloud, it is imperative to have a firm grasp of cybersecurity procedures and practices. Security concerns account for many organizations’ reluctance to migrate to the cloud
- Develop and sharpen the soft skills that every cloud architect needs, like:
- Clear, direct and persuasive communication abilities
- Leadership experience
- Business and strategy acumen
- Planning and organizational skills
- Gain work experience in the software development/IT fields. As a rule, cloud architects, regardless of platform, need between three to five years’ worth of hands-on working experience. As you work in the field, you will eventually see yourself acquiring many of the tools and skills highlighted in the above path
- Finally, take an Azure cloud solutions architect course and gain certification. More on this later.
There are many night courses and continuing education classes that can help supplement some of the above skills and subjects. If you can’t find the time to attend a class physically, there are many online classes available.
Where Can You Find Azure Architect Jobs?
If you’re interested in a career as an Azure cloud architect, and you’re living in the United States (or are planning on moving there), below are the five top metropolitan areas that have the most cloud-related careers, Azure or otherwise, according to this article from 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 jobseekers who are interested in expanding their search to the entire globe while narrowing the focus to Azure only, Microsoft has occasional career opportunities in the following locales:
- The Bay Area, USA
- New York, USA
- Seattle, USA
- Vancouver, Canada
- Sao Paolo, Brazil
- San Jose, Costa Rica
- Mexico City, Mexico
- Reading, UK
- Munich, Germany
- Amsterdam, Netherlands
- Paris, France
- Beijing, China
- Sydney, Australia
- Tokyo, Japan
- The Middle East and Africa
- Dubai, UAE
- Tel Aviv, Israel
- Johannesburg, South Africa
- Istanbul, Turkey
Salary of Azure Architect Professional
When we consider the average Azure architect salary, we need to consider factors such as locale, demand, the applicant’s experience level, and the size of the organization involved. Here are some figures to give you an idea.
According to Neuvoo, the average annual Azure cloud architect in the USA gets paid a yearly average of $158,563, with entry positions coming in $112,500. Cloud solution architects in India can earn an average of ₹3,172K annually, according to Glassdoor. Other annual average figures include S$120K for Singapore, A$158K in Australia, and £90,409 in the United Kingdom.
The Best Way to Become an Azure Architect
Microsoft Azure is one of the top cloud platforms available today and is experiencing a fantastic growth rate. Certification is the key to landing that much-desired cloud architect position, and Simplilearn has what you need to get you on your way.
Simplilearn offers several training programs to get you up to speed on everything Microsoft Azure, including the Microsoft Azure Architect Technologies AZ-300 and Certified Azure Architect Design AZ-301 Training courses, which also prepare you for the associated certification exams. There are even more cloud classes with hands-on training, self-learning, and instructor-led sessions than that if you want to expand your skill set even further.
The program teaches you the skills needed for designing and deploying fault-tolerant, highly scalable applications on Azure, and all of the skills to transform yourself into an Azure cloud architect. If you already work in a related field, you can still benefit from the program. The skills and concepts taught to make for excellent upskilling. By using this program to learn new skills, you increase your value on the job market, should you decide to leave and find something better.
Visit Simplilearn today, and get that new career started!