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What’s the Best Way to Learn Cloud Computing?

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By: GarrettsG2

October 30, 2019

The cloud is a critical force in enterprise IT environments — a recent survey found that 94 percent of businesses now use the cloud, and 84 percent of companies have adopted a multi-cloud strategy to ensure they get the most from distributed computing deployments.For IT professionals, this creates market demand: With the right expertise, it’s possible to both improve your current position and start looking for more lucrative cloud-focused jobs on the market.

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But what if you’re relatively new to the cloud, or have only limited experience with cloud deployment in your industry? What’s the best way to learn cloud computing?

The Cloud: Why it Matters

Cloud computing is rapidly taking over enterprise IT departments. While legacy systems remain essential for mission-critical data or to handle specific functions that are best suited to local data stacks, the cloud offers four key advantages over on-site solutions.
  • Speed — By leveraging vast, interconnected data centers and advanced network technologies, cloud deployments can deliver search, analysis, and storage functions at speed. In the age of big data, existing servers can’t keep up — cloud migration is now the rule, not the exception.
  • Scale — On-site storage and processing rooms have finite space, forcing companies to make tough decisions about hardware spend and upgrades. In the cloud, meanwhile, space scales as needed and resources can be accessed on-demand.
  • Security — While there’s something to be said for on-premises control of critical data, cloud providers are often on the leading edge of security solutions, since the effective protection of company assets is key to long-term provider success.
  • Spend — Cloud computing can help enterprises better manage their spending by converting unstable capital expense costs into measurable and manageable operational expenses.

How do You Learn Cloud Computing?

The basics of cloud computing are straightforward: Off-site server networks are used to handle data storage, processing, and security. But successfully deploying and managing cloud technologies is considerably more complicated. IT pros must connect existing services to new cloud applications, manage multiple clouds simultaneously, and handle hardware end-of-life to ensure critical data is transferred and resources are scaled up as required.To learn more about cloud computing, technology staff have several options. First, you could opt for self-directed online learning. A quick search returns dozens of guides on cloud basics and more in-depth topics. The caveat? You need the discipline and commitment to study and apply these guides at work and need to find resources that align with your current cloud deployment. Big players like Google, Amazon, and Microsoft all approach the cloud differently and require different skill sets to manage effectively.Other options include online, instructor-led courses from reputable training providers such as Cybrary. Our free Cloud Architecture Foundations course helps you learn the basics of cloud computing for Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud. Armed with this general cloud knowledge, you’re better equipped to handle in-house cloud deployments or weigh the costs and benefits of migrating to a specific cloud provider.

Certification Options

Once you have a solid foundation in cloud concepts and operations, it’s worth considering specific certifications to help improve your career outlook. Some of the top cloud certifications currently available include:
  • CompTIA Cloud+This entry-level course is ideal for IT pros just getting started in the cloud. It provides the essential tools and training you need to manage and deploy cloud services and is frequently requested by employers to demonstrate your familiarity with cloud computing concepts.
  • Microsoft Azure FundamentalsIf you’re looking for a platform-specific certification, consider the Microsoft Azure Fundamentals course to help prepare you for the AZ-900 exam. Earning this entry-level qualification is ideal for improving current Azure deployments or facilitating the move to another company with a Microsoft-focused cloud environment.
  • CCSPThis advanced cloud course focuses on security. It is designed for IT professionals with five years of experience in the field and at least three years in a security-specific role. Earning this certification demonstrates that you’re capable of designing, deploying, and managing security at scale for corporate networks.

Career Options in the Cloud

Equipped with cloud computing knowledge, IT pros often find jobs that include excellent security, broad autonomy, and substantial salaries. General cloud practitioners often earn $65,000 or more per year, while intermediate cloud pros break the $100,000 mark, and experts command salaries over $150,000.Career options for staff with their first certification include cloud administrators, who are responsible for maintaining and monitoring corporate cloud environments or transitions. With more significant experience and more qualifications, career paths such as cloud consultants emerge — here, you’re responsible for designing and deploying cloud architecture at scale. Highly trained, fully-certificated cloud professionals, meanwhile, are now in-demand for C-suite roles such as CISO, CIO, and CDO.  What’s the best way to learn cloud computing? First, find your focus: Are you working with a specific platform? Are you expanding current cloud usage? Is it moving critical data? Then, find the training method that best fits your learning style, from self-directed reading to free, instructor-led online courses. Armed with essential knowledge and on track, for in-demand certifications, you can carve out lucrative, long-term career paths in the cloud.
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