Cloud Architect Expectations?

As of date I have spent over 17 years of my career in technology. As the years have progressed obviously technology, applications and talent have changed drastically. My first job was with a small systems integrator and we did everything from wireless, satellite, laser, structured cabling (copper and fiber), phone systems (Key systems and PBX’s) and IP cameras including RFID… Did I mention there were only 3 employees! Looking back at this time in my life I think how crazy it was to be touching so many different technologies. The small business owner would sell a particular technology and send you off to training and you were now the resident expert who was responsible for the installation, maintenance and troubleshooting. As I eventually moved on and into larger organizations with internal structure surrounding technology it was becoming clear that you need specific expertise and could not be a jack of all trades. What I really mean is you can’t be the VMware guy today and the Security guy tomorrow. You may think sure I can and that I am doing it now, but you know deep down that you are not the master of both. Specifically, you are not doing them at 100% depth! Just a very high level example: Organizations with structure might have something like a CIO>Infrastructure Director>Server Team Manager>Staff (covering physical servers, hypervisors/bare metal and Operating Systems) /Network Team Manager>Staff (covering switches, routers and firewalls) /Security Team Manager>Staff (covering IPS/IDS, sniffers and other packet capturing appliances). The above example shows the team and expertise separations based on roles and responsibilities. This allows the organization to budget and recruit the VMware expert with in-depth knowledge surrounding the technology and not needing to worry about setting up firewall rules on the perimeter devices or what packet traffic is being captured for the attack that happens every night @ 3am. Now the reason I have articulated the above is to describe where I think most organizations are currently in Cloud Architect roles and responsibilities. Everyday I receive on minimum 5 to 10 Cloud Architect job requisitions in my email box. As I read through the job requisitions I can’t help, but think back 17 years ago where an individual was responsible for every aspect of the technology stack. Especially now with the amount of automation and programming languages being used in the different CSP’s (Cloud Service Providers). Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like we are over due on setting correct IT Cloud Org structures, roles and responsibilities. Have a look through the below Cloud Architect job description and tell me this isn’t 3, 4 or 5 different positions in one. What are your thoughts? Has your company set an IT Cloud Org structure with proper roles and responsibilities?


Job Description:

The Cloud Architect role will be accountable for providing deep technology domain expertise in all aspects of Cloud Computing. It is expected that the Cloud Architect will participate in strategy definition for Cloud Computing centric IT architectures, detailed design of cloud enabled solutions, implementations, and ongoing management of cloud environments. This role must have had exposure and hands-on experiences in SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS strategy, implementation and operational projects (and/or corporate IT experiences with cloud technologies). Must be comfortable working directly with CIO/CTO’s as well as other C-level executives and ability to present fact-based business cases that substantiate the value, investments, costs, risks, and timelines of a cloud migration strategy. As a thought-leader, it is expected that the Cloud Architect will contribute to the firm’s IP via solution development, blog/whitepapers, web conferences, etc.

* Lead the firms efforts in cloud computing strategy definition and cloud architectures
* Work with other senior leaders in the firm to ensure our go-to market and consulting methodologies are inclusive of the latest trends and innovations in cloud computing
* Support business development activities aimed at securing consulting projects that help our clients migrate to cloud-based architectures
* Owns the firm’s cloud migration strategy methodology, supporting artifacts, templates, and accelerators
* Definition and on-going management of cloud computing TCO models, investment models, and implementation/migration costs
* Leads project teams and takes a significant hands-on role on key projects
* Actively helps identify and recruit consultants for cloud computing assignments
* Works with the firm’s partnership team to foster meaningful relationships with leading cloud providers and software companies (across SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS)

Required Qualifications:
* Bachelors degree in information technology, engineering, business or a related discipline
* 15+ years IT management experience with increasing responsibilities or 15+ years IT consulting or equivalent background
* 5+ years focused responsibilities and activities in Cloud Computing; including strategy definition and multiple successful cloud migrations (must have had experience with SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS cloud technologies)
* Demonstrated hands-on experience with leading SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS solutions (e.g., SFDC, AWS, Cloud Foundry, Pivotal, Azure, Net Suite, Workday, etc.)
* Hands-on experience either presenting to, or operating, an Architecture Review Board (ARB) and comfortable critiquing proposed cloud architectures and suggesting improvements
* Working knowledge of Enterprise Architecture and supporting disciplines such as target state, solution architecture, technology landscape, application portfolio management
* Deep expertise and hands-on with agile/scrum IT delivery methodologies and DevOps (continuous integration/testing)
* Proven ability to lead technical teams responsible for cloud strategy definition and implementations. Must have excellent interpersonal, coordination & communication skills. Must be able to easily switch between solutions, sales & project management roles
* Excellent communication skills including verbal, written, & presentation. Ability to communicate technical issues clearly and broadly to business managers
* Expert problem solving & critical thinking skills with proven ability to identify & solve for the root cause of problems
* Must have proven ability to manage multiple work streams and/or projects concurrently, and deliver on-time.

Optional Qualifications:
* TOGAF Certification
* Scrum Certification
* Cloud Vendor specific certifications (e.g., VMWare, MSFT Hyper Visor, etc.)
* Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification


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