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I am a cloud architect—but how do I explain this to my young son?

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Explaining what a cloud architect is can be a little frustrating; you will always take at least 15 minutes to introduce the idea, and when the other person says to you that he understands, he really doesn’t—he just isn’t willing to lose any more time discussing it.

Cloud computingIf the concept of cloud design is difficult to explain to an adult, imagine how difficult it would be to explain it to your young son. It might go something like this:

Son: Dad, every day you go to work, but what do you do?

Dad: I am a cloud architect.

Son: Mm OK! And what does that mean?

Dad: It means that I design clouds that others build.

Son: YOU ARE GOD!

Dad: No, I’m not God.

Son: But Mother told me that the clouds in the sky were made by God.

Dad: Um, it is difficult to explain. The clouds I design are not the real clouds in the sky. They are called “clouds” because, as with real clouds, you can’t touch them, but they are still there.

Son: I can touch clouds.

Dad: No, you can’t; they are very high in the sky.

Son: Last year when we traveled to see Grandma, we took a plane and when we were rising into the air, the airplane crossed the clouds.

I started thinking, wow, I am in big trouble now.

Dad: That’s true, you can touch a cloud but it is very difficult. Let’s just say the clouds I design are processing and storage systems connected to a big network that serves a lot of customers at the same time. They share resources that could be placed anywhere in the world and pay only for the time and the quantity that they use.

Son: That doesn’t sound like clouds.

Dad: Now that you say it, these clouds are not really similar to regular clouds.

Son: But you said you were designing clouds!

Dad: OK, I lied. I really drive a Zamboni.

Son: Ooh, that’s great, Dad! I love Zambonis!

It is definitely very difficult to explain the concept of cloud computing to someone that is unfamiliar with the concept. Try to explain that you are a cloud architect, and you will have a hard time. In the end, as I showed you in this blog post, the other person probably won’t understand. I might start saying that I drive a Zamboni or that I sell hot dogs, just to make my life easier.

If you work with cloud services and you’ve found it difficult to explain to others what you do, please contact me on Twitter @diegosonvico.

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