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Types Of Cloud Certifications

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By: Shelby Welty

December 22, 2020

Up, Up and Away! Exploring Three Types of Cloud Certifications

More companies are using the cloud — as noted by CIO, 96 percent of organizations now use some type of public, private, or hybrid cloud service to help streamline operations and boost IT impact.

As a result, the cloud market is diversifying, with frontrunner Amazon now challenged by up-and-coming cloud providers, including Google, Microsoft, and IBM. Smaller and more specific offerings have also emerged as companies look to tackle top-priority issues, including access management, information security, and big data analysis.

For IT professionals, this evolving technology landscape means a commensurate uptick in the number and types of cloud certifications available. While virtually all have value in the right circumstance, technology staff making the jump to cloud career tracks are best served by finding the best fit for current and future endeavors.

Not sure where to start? Here’s a quick look at three types of cloud certifications, where they fit, and why they matter for IT pros.

Pre-Certification Knowledge Building

As the scope of cloud services expands, even experienced staff may find themselves struggling to keep pace with changing functions and frameworks — especially if they’re already working full-time in enterprise IT departments.

There are now a host of entry-level cloud certifications that can help jumpstart new careers. These qualifications come with specific knowledge requirements and per-exam costs, making this an expensive endeavor if candidates can’t complete certifications on their first try.

Here, it’s worth doing some prep work with pre-certification knowledge building courses such as:

  • Introduction to AWS — AWS continues to dominate the cloud market. For a good reason: Amazon is expanding cloud offerings and lowering entry costs to capture a larger market share. AWS introductory training provides an overview of key AWS services, including the AWS Free Tier, IAM, S3, and EC2, to help prepare candidates for certification exams.

  • Cloud Architecture Foundations — As Azure and Google gain ground on Amazon, more companies are looking for trained staff to deploy, administer, and manage multiple services across the enterprise. Cloud Architecture Foundations training provides an overview of the “big three” cloud services to help IT staff find their best-fit cloud career path.

Introductory Cloud Qualifications

Technology professionals, armed with critical cloud knowledge and a broad career outlook, are ready to tackle two of the most popular introductory cloud qualifications: AZ-900 Azure Fundamentals and AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner. Let’s break down each in greater detail.

  • AZ-900 Azure Fundamentals — As part of Microsoft’s new cloud certification framework, AZ-900 is no longer a requirement for more advanced qualifications. Still, the company recommends this designation to any IT pros looking to advance their Azure career. Here’s why: AZ-900 certification demonstrates knowledge of fundamental concepts such as high availability, fault tolerance, and disaster recovery in Azure. It also showcases staff ability to implement and manage Azure enterprise services. The AZ-900 exam is 85 minutes long with 40-60 questions, and candidates must achieve a score of 700 or better to pass.

  • AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner — The AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner certification covers key Amazon cloud concepts, including core architectural principles, the AWS value proposition, fundamental AWS service use, and essential security controls. As a result, this qualification is both in-demand and consistently rated as one of the highest paying cloud certifications available. There are no prerequisites but candidates must complete a 90-minute, 65-68 questions exam with a score of 65-75% or better.

In-Depth Skills Development

When it comes to the cloud, skills development and certification paths are continually evolving. Both Amazon and Microsoft recently refreshed their qualification frameworks to provide more role-based training that focuses on specific cloud functions such as development, management, and security.

For IT pros, this speaks to the need for in-depth skills development that helps prepare them for intermediate-level qualifications such as AZ-103 Microsoft Azure Administrator or AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate certifications. While these qualifications don’t come with mandatory prerequisites, it’s worth taking the time to develop key knowledge and skills to streamline the certification process with virtual lab work in:

  • Azure Workloads Deployment — Understanding how to create and deploy Azure Resource Manager (ARM) services within a Microsoft cloud environment is essential for distributed IT service deployment at scale. What’s more, this type of in-depth knowledge can help technology staff confidently take on AZ-103 and other role-based certifications with confidence.

  • S3 Bucket Lifecycle Rules — Security in S3 buckets is now a priority as Amazon cloud environments rapidly expand. In this training course, IT staff will learn how to configure and manage lifecycle policies in AWS S3 buckets to improve service delivery and enhance overall security. This type of training also helps technology pros lay the groundwork for more in-depth AWS certifications and training.

Starting on Solid Ground

While the sky’s the limit with new cloud deployments, the right types of cloud certifications and training can help staff start on solid ground. Just breaking into the cloud? Consider introductory courses for general knowledge. Making a move to cloud-first roles? Opt for entry-level certifications. Want to expand career potential? Prepare for advanced qualifications with in-depth skills development.

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