The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) defines cloud computing as “a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.”1
In other words, cloud computing refers to a class of web-based systems that enable on-demand availability of computing resources. That means businesses and individuals can pay for exactly the resources they need—and only what they need—whenever they need it.
For example, advances in digital graphic design, security software, database management, etc., are occurring constantly, and keeping pace with the latest versions of your software applications can be daunting. Rather than incurring the cost of upgrading your own software, you can simply pay the incremental cost for a subscription to cloud-based applications that are continuously updated.
There are three major categories of cloud computing. They are
Platforms-as-a-Service (PaaS) – cloud services that enable application development, deployment, management, and maintenance
Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) – virtualized computing services providing scalable networking, storage, and data processing
Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) – access to software applications for a fee, usually by subscription2
As with other IT fields, the proliferation of cloud services across our economy has created a need for trained, talented professionals to design, implement, manage, and maintain these systems.
What is the Employment Outlook for Cloud Computing Professionals?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not specifically list cloud computing as a job category in its Occupational Outlook Handbook. However, BLS has projected computer and information technology occupations to grow 15 percent overall between 2021 and 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations.3
Gartner, Inc., a leading technological research and consulting firm, projects worldwide spending for end-user cloud services to reach nearly $600 billion in 2023, an increase of 30.6 percent since 2021.4 As cloud computing continues to grow, so will the demand for trained cloud computing professionals.
What Can I Do with a Master’s in Cloud Computing?
A master’s degree in cloud computing systems can help prepare you to meet the growing demand for IT professionals with the technical and management skills to design, operate, and maintain cloud computing systems and help organizations transition to cloud-based solutions.
A variety of job titles fall under the general category of cloud computing, including
Cloud Infrastructure Architect: Cloud architecture is the framework within which cloud technologies operate. The job of the cloud infrastructure architect is to design and implement a company's cloud computing strategies. According to Salary.com, the average annual salary for cloud infrastructure architects is around $121,000.5
Cloud Systems Analyst: The job of a cloud systems analyst is to evaluate and identify the optimal cloud hardware and software and develop scalable architecture to support applications on IaaS and PaaS platforms. The average salary for a cloud systems analyst is about $98,600 per year.5
Cloud Administrator: These professionals monitor and manage the performance of an organization's cloud infrastructure to ensure that operations are performed efficiently and effectively. The average salary for a cloud administrator is just over $69,000 per year, according to Glassdoor.6
Cloud Engineer: The role of a cloud engineer includes designing aspects of cloud architecture, managing an organization's use of the cloud, including application development, resource allocation and maintenance, and effective use of the features offered by the industry’s primary cloud services. Cloud engineers earn an average of $133,000 per year, according to Salary.com.5
Cloud Security Engineer: Cloud security engineers identify and mitigate threats to cloud systems. They also develop, maintain, and continuously upgrade these systems to meet security needs. Salary.com estimates the median annual salary at about $100,000.5
Employers are seeking candidates with excellent analytical skills, in-depth knowledge of computer languages and operating systems, and expertise in cloud computing concepts.
Learn Cloud Computing at UMGC
UMGC's online Master of Science in cloud computing systems program is designed to give you a broad understanding of cloud technology and its relationship to business processes, along with the technical and management skills you need to design, operate, and maintain cloud computing systems and help organizations transition to cloud-based solutions. You’ll gain hands-on experience in leading cloud vendor platforms, such as AWS, Azure, and GCP, and be able to design effective cloud environments that fit an organization's structure, communications, and operational business processes.
For those looking to develop basic cloud computing skills, our online graduate certificate in cloud computing and networking can be a valuable credential. This 18-credit program is designed to help you learn the concepts underlying cloud computing, cloud services, and cloud applications and understand the benefits and risks associated with moving to cloud-based services.
"Students in the cloud programs at UMGC work on real-world, hands-on projects and labs that give them the career-relevant skills they need to succeed in the field," said Patrick Appiah-Kubi, PhD, program director and associate professor of cloud computing systems at UMGC. "The program is designed with input from industry leaders, and our faculty are top experts in the cloud space, so our students get the latest and greatest skills and technology in the field."
Why Choose UMGC?
UMGC was founded more than 75 years ago specifically to serve the higher education needs of working adults and servicemembers like you. UMGC is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and is a constituent institution of the University System of Maryland.
The university has repeatedly received awards and recognition for our innovative educational programs and commitment to excellence. In particular, our online master’s programs in information technology have received numerous awards, including the No. 2 Best Online Masters award in 2020 from the Guide to Online Schools.
A dedicated UMGC success coach will support you throughout your academic journey in mapping out your education and career goals and assisting with class selection. And wherever you are in your career, you'll always have access to UMGC’s lifetime career services to help you in your job search and career development.
If you enjoy working with computers and are seeking a rewarding career in a growing and dynamic field, the cloud computing programs at UMGC can help you gain the skills and credentials you need to move ahead.