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Cloud Certification and the Workforce

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By: Doug Bonderud

May 8, 2020

Cloud Certification: Why Does it Matter for Your Workforce?

Cloud computing has changed the future of IT. Research firm Gartner points to the “death of the data center”1 over the next five years as companies make the shift from on-premises solutions to cloud-based initiatives, while DevOps highlights the rise of multicloud, multipurpose deployments capable of delivering both specific IT outcomes and performance at scale.

The result? Your workforce needs more than passing familiarity with the cloud. To deliver on the promise of cloud computing across public services, private stacks and hybrid delivery models, staff need the right mix of cloud knowledge, skills and expertise.

But there’s another piece to the puzzle: Cloud certification. Here’s what you need to know about why it matters, where it delivers the best value for your budget and what it means for the future of enterprise cloud adoption.

Certification Basics

Cloud certifications are offered by a variety of industry organizations across a broad scope of topics and skillets — everything from basic cloud management to specific provider deployments to big data analytics and security. While specific parameters vary, certifications typically require the successful completion of a knowledge-based exam along with regularly retraining to keep qualifications current.

And while it’s possible to challenge exams without any prior training or coursework, this can prove daunting even for experienced IT pros. Online training courses have emerged to fill this need but as noted by a recent Medium piece, staff need the right motivation to ensure a positive outcome. Also helpful? Dedicated, experienced instructors and in-depth training modules that make it easy for students to get the assistance they need, when they need it.

Expanding Your Workforce Impact

Given the time and resource commitments required for successful cloud certification completion, is the spend worth it for your staff — or are they better-served sourcing free information from the Internet at large to address cloud challenges as they emerge?

While there’s no obligation to ensure your workforce is fully cloud certified,qualifications offer three key benefits:

  • Increased reliability — There’s more to the cloud than simply spinning up instances and accessing resources on-demand. Cloud sprawl remains a challenge for enterprise IT budgets, while access and permission requirements are make-or-break for cloud security at scale. Certified cloud professionals have the skills and experience necessary to handle emerging cloud issues, ensure long-term reliability and drive ROI.

  • Enhanced performance — The scope of cloud options — from Google to AWS to Azure to VMware — creates massive market opportunity but also increase tech complexity. By aligning IT certification with their cloud provider of choice, enterprises can ensure that operations match expectations and cloud services deliver onpromised benefits.

  • Improved confidence — As the cloud market diversifies, many organizations are now in the business of supplying and managing at least one cloud service to partners and clients. From SaaS to PaaS and IaaS deployments, certification improves client confidence in cloud — recognized qualifications showcase a dedication to customer satisfaction.

Choosing the Right Certification

All cloud computing certifications offerline-of-business value, but what’s the best starting point for your organization? Which certifications offer the best return on investment as you scale up cloud deployments? While individual environments and adoption plans will impact the idealqualification path, typical training plans include:

  • Cloud fundamentals — Before diving into more in-depth or provider-specific offerings, it’s worth getting staff up to speed with a cloud fundamentals course that covers the basic skills needed to manage some of the world’s biggest cloud platforms. Look for courses that include hands-on experiences to help develop real world skills.

  • Architect training — The ability to develop and deploy clouds at scale is now essential for business success. Qualifications such as the AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate ensure IT professionals have the skills they need to create and manage AWS IAM, S3 and EC2 solutions.

  • Administrator education — Skilled cloud administrators are critical to ensure the effective use of storage, network and virtual machine (VM) resources. Certifications such as Microsoft Azure Administrator (AZ-103) provide the foundation necessary to manage growing cloud deployments.

  • Security skills — Cloud security remains a sticking point for many business; concerns around potential network weak points and application vulnerabilities cannegatively impact cloud adoption and put companies behind the curve. The Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP) certification empowers staff to identify cloud risks, assess critical gaps and implement effective security controls.

Considering Cloud Evolution

Technology evolution continues to outpace the supply of skilled cloud professionals. But companies can’t afford to wait on cloud deployments — on-demand access to data and resources is now the expectation for staff and customers alike.

To ensure your workforce is prepared to handle both thehybrid cloud challenges of today and the multicloud challenges of tomorrow, certification is critical. Experienced, educated staff make the difference in developing, deploying and securing the cloud workloads that underpin IT reliability, performance and confidence.


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