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Cloud Certifications: Polish up Your Skills With Millions of Jobs in the Market

Cloud computing adoption has been rapidly rising all around the world in the last few years. Resistance and obstacles for adopting cloud computing are getting less due to many factors that include business needs, technology innovations, and human resources skills. Cloud computing proved to provide solutions for companies to overcome issues like scalability, cost, response to market change, security, and IT resources overhead.  Due to the rise of cloud computing adoption, it is estimated that there will be a shortage of seven millions jobs in 2015 around the world in cloud computing experts who can design, deploy, administer, and write software and script for cloud computing technologies.

Recently, there is no topic in technology that got the attention and attraction such as cloud computing. Almost all technology vendors are working hard to get products and solutions that have the “Cloud Computing” touch and name. Cloud computing is being looked at from different uses and perspectives. As such, training programs and certifications are of great value for both employees and employers. IT certifications in cloud computing help candidates to follow certain tracks with clear defined objectives and outcomes, and they prove possession of certain skills for employers.

There are two types of certifications: vendor-neutral and vendor-specific. Vendor-neutral certifications focus on the common definitions, elements, and standards independently from products and vendors. However, it is difficult to think in cloud computing without considering technology vendors. Cloud computing is mainly shaped and influenced by big companies that try to satisfy the business needs of their clients. Those companies have their own certification tracks on their products and technologies. A number of both types of certificates, vendor-neutral and vendor specific, is existing in the market with different focus and objectives for each certificate.

cloud certifications


Vendor-specific Cloud Certifications

Technology vendors in Cloud Computing are divided into three categories:

Vendors that are mainly Public Cloud

Those technology vendors offer Public Cloud as either one or a mix of cloud models: IaaS, PaaS, or SaaS. In this list we talk only about well-known international vendors that influence strongly the Cloud market. However, there are many other smaller international and local Public Cloud vendors.
Amazon Web Services: Which is the largest public cloud on the earth. Although AWS started since 2007, they started their certifications tracks only recently in 2013. AWS have three certification tracks: Solutions Architect (Associate and Professional levels), Developer (Associate level), and SysOps(Associate level) Administrator. Recently, they announced a certificate for DevOps Engineer (the Professional level of both Developer and SysOps Administration tracks).
Google: All Google services can be described as Cloud Services, However, Google has no certificate until now that covers their cloud services from administration, development, or architecture perspectives.
Salesforce: It is best known for its Customer Relationship Management (CRM) product. All certifications (Development, Administration, Architecture, and Sales), from the Salesforce portfolio are based on their cloud services.

Vendors that mainly provide Hardware/Software

HP: HP has developed several certification for cloud specialists. These certification programs are connected with software and hardware from HP, but you can also find there many topics from the cloud theory.
IBM: IBM has three certification for people who want to demonstrate their knowledge with the Cloud Computing infrastructure solutions. One certification is focused on Tivoli systems, two on architectural concepts.
EMC: EMC has in the portfolio three cloud certifications. One for people who start with cloud topics with EMC solutions and two for Architects (the highest level).
VMWare: VMWare is a software company that provides cloud and virtualization software and services, and was the first to successfully virtualize x86 architecture. VMWare was acquired and became a subsidiary by EMC Corporation. VMWare has many certifications for different tracks: Data center virtualization, Cloud, End-user computing, and Network virtualization.

Vendors that are both Public Cloud and provide Hardware/Software

Microsoft: Microsoft is one of the biggest players on the certifications markets. Microsoft Azure is the public cloud of Microsoft, but until now, there is certificate for Azure specifically. In addition to that, it has solutions for building private clouds using HyperV and vCenter. Microsoft developed its first cloud certification: MCSE – Private Cloud
Oracle: In the Oracle portfolio you can find several new certification for Cloud specialists. The most important are OCP Database Cloud Administrator and OCM Database Cloud Administrator.

Vendor-neutral Cloud Certifications

Vendor neutral certifications focus on a technology rather than a specific product, and they show broader knowledge in handling different scenarios as the product features do not limit them. Several companies and institutes provide vendor-neutral certificates for the cloud:
CompTIA: It is the largest provider for vendor-neutral IT certificates in the world. The first certificate from CompTIA is The Cloud Essentials which is about knowledge on business, technical, and governance of the Cloud. CompTIA Cloud+ is another certificate that covers standard methodology required to securely implement and maintain cloud technologies.
EXIN: EXIN has two certificates: EXIN Cloud Computing Fundamentals, and EXIN Certified Integrator Secure Cloud Services. The first one provides the basics of cloud computing. The second one focuses on the interconnection of three IT domains: Service Management, Cloud Computing and Information Security.
Cloud Security Alliance: The CSA has introduced the Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge (CCSK) which proves knowledge about cloud security.
Cloud Credential Council: The CCC has several certificates that covers many different aspects in the Cloud like security, development, administration, and business.

As more companies will introduce new products and training tracks and certifications, the list of certificates will continue to increase in cloud computing. Having certification in cloud computing will polish up resume and most likely improve income and job offers.  Vendor neutral certifications show for employers that the candidate has broad knowledge and understanding of the technical background. However, they are not enough, as vendor-neutral certifications do not provide solutions for specific issues using the products in the market. Therefore, the best combination is to start with vendor-neutral certifications then to get vendor-specific certifications.

Written by

Motasem Aldiab

Motasem Aldiab is a professor, consultant, trainer, and developer. Dr. Aldiab has got his PhD in Computer Engineering from QUB in 2008. He is a certified trainer for the Cloud School and SOA School. He has been training and offering consultations for years in Java, SOA, and Cloud Computing, and leading workshops and training session (virtual or instructor led).

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