New Website Features at Cloud Academy

(Update) We’ve recently released some new product features to further enhance your training experience:

Hands-on Labs, live cloud environments for your team to build and validate practical experience directly on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud Platform, Docker, Kubernetes, data pipelines, and much more.

Training Plans will help you assign, manage, and measure structured cloud training at scale.

Skill Assessment will help you trend your team’s aptitude by platform, domain, and topic and identify possible skill gaps.

Over the past few months, the website gurus at Cloud Academy have been busy adding brand new activity-tracking features to your Dashboard (and improving some old ones). Perhaps you already noticed, but, in any case, I can forgive you for asking yourself: “Why bother? What’s in this for me?”

So here’s the deal. By keeping track of your progress, our system is able to better understand your goals and day-by-day progress. With this information, we can offer suggestions to help guide you towards the courses and labs that are likely to give you the most immediate benefit. We can also intelligently increase the difficulty level of the quiz questions you face to make sure that, rather than wasting time repeating questions about what you already know, you’re always learning something new.

We call our skill-tracking tool “CloudRank.” But the truth is, CloudRank has been around forever (in tech startup terms, at least).
What’s new is the Leaderboard page and CloudKarma. (You can view your CloudRank, CloudKarma, and Leaderboard status from your Dashboard page.)

Your overall and platform-specific positions on the Leaderboard are determined by your current CloudRank score. Let’s say, for example, you’ve spent a great deal of time working on AWS courses and labs, but very little on Google Cloud Platform and Azure: you may find yourself close to the top of the AWS Leaderboard, but dead last for the other platforms, and somewhere in between for your overall position.

But again: so what? Either way, deep down inside you know very well that you’re far better than all those hoards of cloud computing wannabes out there, so why should you care? Well, for one thing, it would be nice to be able to prove it, right? It might also be useful to measure your progress against that of others to get a better sense of how far you still have to go and how much harder you’ll have to work to get there.


But, most of all, since your CloudRank is what feeds your Leaderboard rank, it’s also one indication of your overall Cloud Academy progress. CloudRank, therefore, is a score that you can use to demonstrate your real cloud knowledge and skills far beyond Cloud Academy. Over the next short while, in fact, we intend to convert numerical CloudRank scores to more descriptive achievement labels and, eventually, we hope to be able to issue certificates formally documenting your accomplishments.


And CloudKarma? You are awarded CloudKarma points for completing courses, labs, and Certification Paths; answering quiz questions; leaving comments; participating in conversations…for just about everything you do on Cloud Academy (besides hacking our website). These points, too, will have value, but they’ll work a bit more like credit that you can redeem for free month subscriptions to Cloud Academy and other rewards.


If you click on the Achievements tab in your Dashboard, you will also see your progress represented visually through one of three colored badges: blue for completed courses, orange for quizzes, and red for certification preparation. We will also soon add green badges for labs and others for community-related activities.
So, because your growth is guided, you can progress more quickly and efficiently. Because your growth is measured, you can convert it to Cloud Academy credits. Because your growth is tracked, you can rate your skill level against other members.

All of this means that every minute you spend on Cloud Academy is productive.

And face it: it’ll also be more fun.

By the way, we feel it’s important to mention that we don’t use the data gathered by tracking your activity on our site for any commercial purpose. That’s just not something Cloud Academy would be comfortable doing. And besides, even if we did want to, we haven’t a clue how to make it work.

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