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What does a cloud network engineer do?

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A cloud network engineer juggles a number of responsibilities -- from network design and troubleshooting to knowledge of specific cloud providers and platforms.

To implement hybrid and multi-cloud deployments, enterprises need experienced staff to connect disparate IT environments. This makes the cloud network engineer job enticing.

Before applying for the job, evaluate each prospective cloud network engineer role. Take a closer look at the position's daily tasks and expectations, as well as the education, skills and experience you may need.

Cloud network engineer roles and responsibilities

Generally, a cloud network engineer is a network specialist who bridges the gap between established enterprise LANs and emerging private cloud and public cloud implementations. Most cloud network engineers report to senior IT staff or a business liaison, such as director of cloud operations. They are responsible for the implementation, configuration, maintenance and support of a cloud network, as well as various other cloud services. Duties often include the following:

  • Design. Apply a comprehensive understanding of network technologies and concepts. This includes routing, switching, firewalls, and network monitoring and management. Develop, test and upgrade enterprise network architectures within major cloud platforms, such as AWS, Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure.

  • Administration. Upgrade, patch and maintain the overall network infrastructure upon which the private or hybrid cloud operates.

  • Monitoring. Monitor the utilization, performance and availability of the cloud network infrastructure and its services.

  • Documentation. Work with engineers, architects and IT support teams to establish guides, procedures, training and other documentation for audits and compliance and to sustain the cloud network and its services.

  • Security. Support the architecture, design, implementation and compliance efforts for effective cloud network security.

  • Integration. When required, perform network integration work to support hybrid or multi-cloud models, such as connecting a private cloud with AWS.

  • Troubleshooting. Identify and resolve network problems. This task often extends into disaster recovery operations and involves 24/7 on-call rotations to ensure constant networking support.

Education and certifications

A qualified cloud network engineer should hold a mix of formal education and industry certifications. A bachelor's degree in computer science or IT is the foundation for any cloud network engineer role. Postgraduate degrees are helpful but typically not required.

While degrees are often expected, prospective employers increasingly focus on a variety of industry-recognized certifications. Cloud services and resources constantly evolve. Thus, ongoing education and certification are major job requirements. Invest the time -- and money -- in appropriate certification courses and exams. Cloud network engineers frequently possess professional certifications with an emphasis on cloud, network or security topics, such as the following:

  • Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)

  • Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP)

  • Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE)

  • Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) from (ISC)²

  • Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE)

Some employers that use specific public cloud providers favor network or architectural certifications from these providers. Examples include the following:

  • AWS Certified Solutions Architect

  • AWS Certified Advanced Networking

  • Google Cloud Professional Cloud Network Engineer

  • Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect Expert

Finally, cloud network engineer job listings might call for certified expertise in industry standards that are relevant to the employer's line of business, such as the following:

  • Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL)

  • Control Objectives for Information and Related Technology (COBIT)

  • Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)

  • Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS)

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