Webinar Recap: Mapping Your Career Success in the Cloud

Originally published at: Webinar Recap: Mapping Your Career Success in the Cloud - Skycrafters

We’re delighted to share a recap and recording or our recent webinar: Mapping Your Career Success in the Cloud where a few of our community members discussed all things cloud and career. Our panelists offer unique perspectives from their various stages of cloud career and technical experiences. Watch the conversation below to hear some well rounded views about the current landscape of the industry, skills they recommend you learn, how you can plan for the future of cloud, and so much more.

For our readers, here’s a quick recap on what was discussed.

Launching your cloud career

“How do I start a career in cloud computing?”

“What should I learn in order to have a cloud career?”

“Where do I go to find this information?”

These are common questions that many people have when they are embarking on a new career journey. A consistent theme we hear around this topic is curiosity. To launch a career in the cloud, you must be curious and ask questions in order to gain the knowledge you need.

One of our panelists and a Customer Reliability Engineer, Rachel Sweeney, was able to launch her cloud career without having any previous technical career experience.

“I devoted a year to figuring out what I needed to know to go from where I was to where I am today. I just tried to engage in the community as much as I possibly could, to soak up as much information as I possibly could, and I feel like that has opened up so many doors to me that I don’t think I would’ve had access to otherwise.”

Good skills to have

Now that you’ve decided a career in the cloud is what you want, it’s time to develop your skills. This is the part that can get overwhelming because there are so many things out there to learn. Our panelists talked about a few that they think are the most pressing and the most in-demand.

Scripting

Scripting can be defined as a series of commands that are able to be executed without the need for compiling. In essence, all scripting languages are programming languages but not all programming languages are scripting languages.

Panelist Mary Kay Stone, a Manager of Cloud Solutions Architects (who also so happens to be hiring), said this about scripting:

“One skill that I’ve noticed is missing with a lot of people that I’m seeing is scripting… I’ve got a lot of people that are trying to go into the cloud world, and they’re learning how to build. But they’re shying away from scripting… you’re going to have to get in there and learn some of it because everything is going in that direction.”

Infrastructure as code (IaC)

Another big skill one should learn is how to write IaC. Some of the benefits of IaC are cost reduction, speed, and reduced risk. Walking into an interview with this skillset will put you ahead of the competition.

Speaking of IaC, our community member Felipe Cardoso da Costa recently wrote an article on “The State of Azure IaC”. Check it out and familiarize yourself with the topic.

Cybersecurity

As we get more and more digitized as a society, the possibility of threats rises exponentially. You may think the role you’re applying for has nothing to do with cybersecurity, but at the end of the day it really does.

“Cybersecurity is becoming everybody’s responsibility in an organization, so you need to learn something about cybersecurity whether you like it or not.” –Mary Kay Stone

Tips on how to learn

We all learn in very different ways. Some learn by doing, some learn by reading, and some learn by watching. The first step in learning anything is first recognizing the ways in which you learn best and then developing a plan of action to acquire whatever knowledge you seek.

Here are some tips our panelists shared about learning:

“Personally, I learn a lot from reading books and blog posts. But I think the discussion you have around the topics talked about in those books or blog posts is where you absorb it all.” –Madeline Van Der Paelt, Software Developer, Team Lead

“I like to follow alerts on Google News that are important for me, whether it’s low code or test automation… the other thing I would say as well is that people often shy away from social media… do not underestimate Twitter. I’ve made my best networking from LinkedIn; I’ve made my best knowledge sourcing through Twitter.” –Tristan Lombard, Community Builder

Mentorship

Finding a mentor is probably one of the most talked about things when it comes to a person’s career, no matter what field or industry you’re in. This is the case because there is no set blueprint on how to find one. Mentorship can be one of the hardest things to find, but also one of the most rewarding things to have.

Madeline Van Der Paelt gave some great advice about this.

“Mentorship is really up to you to seek it out. You can’t assume that somebody is going to come by and say, “Oh you seem like a nice person, I’m going to give you a bunch of my time.” Generally, people who mentor others are very busy people.”

Another perspective on this topic came Rachel Sweeney. You have to make sure you are putting forth the effort, providing value, and showing that you’ve done some research and work on your own before you begin seeking out a mentor.

“If something doesn’t 100% stick, I would just go ask in the community. I’ve made mentors that way just by asking questions and eventually you’ll find people that are open to answering your questions.”

How to stand out

When it comes to starting a new career or getting a new position, your job is to make yourself stand out from the rest. This can be done in many different ways. Some people like to speak to their educational background, certifications they earned, companies they worked for, etc. All of those are fine and dandy, but our panelists spoke about some other ways to differentiate yourself.

The first suggestion was building a portfolio. Having a portfolio showcasing the things you’ve worked on, built, or contributed to, will be a great resource for you. It’ll show that you value continuous learning, but also that you are collaborative with others.

“To build a portfolio, get out there in the community, write blog posts, interact with people, learn from everybody you can. The more of those people you interact with the more interactions you make that will eventually serve to help you.” –Madeline Van Der Paelt

Mary Kay Stone gave her point of view on how to stand out from a hiring manager’s perspective. This is definitely somebody you want to listen to 😁

“As a hiring manager, I don’t even look at your title. I’m mostly looking at your skillset, what you’ve been up to, what you’re doing, what projects are you working on, what technologies have you touched.”

Parting thoughts

These are just a few ways in which to launch and/or grow your career in the cloud. Do you have other advice we should add to the list? We’d love to hear about your experiences and continue the conversation in the comments.

And if you’re just embarking on a new journey into the cloud, here’s something for you to remember as you begin your quest.

“Say yes to opportunities… when I say yes, I find that I tend to learn so much more and end up in situations that make me grow so much because I put myself in a situation that I wouldn’t have been in before.” –Rachel Sweeney

Thanks for reading! You can watch the full conversation here. See you at the next one 🎉

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