The move to the cloud and cloud adoption will effect many working in IT, as an moderator on the TechNet forum for Education and Certification I see many questions on what certification to acquire to be ready for the demand on Cloud specialists.
How should you invest your time and money to be ready for the coming years and what certification will customers and employers most likely ask when they recruit for Cloud related jobs?
Cloud adoption is now in a transition and hybrid period and this is very likely to remain so for several years. Not all services/data/functionally can be moved to Cloud. Some things will never move to the cloud for security, compliance or legacy reasons.
There still is a lot of legacy running in on-premise datacenters and Hybrid solutions where you only move those parts of the IT landscape to the cloud that make as sense is in most cases the only working solution for now to keep the legacy parts running.
Looking at certification the transition and hybrid period causes a few challenges. You need to remain certified on the on-premise version for your area of expertise and you need to be ready for the Cloud based version of your area of expertise.
Everything up to OS layer is commodity in the Cloud but with on-premise you still have to support things like server hardware, storage, hypervisors and physical networks.
There also is a difference between countries on what Cloud platform is the preferred platform, in Europe in many cases Microsoft Azure is the first choice but for the US and some other countries Amazon AWS can be the preferred choice.
For training and certification I advise the following:
- Keep important certifications based on on-premise solutions active/valid for now but focus on the basic/standard ones. Additional levels or add-on’s on top of the basic certification that do not include the cloud solution from the vendor might not be worth the effort anymore and also have a risk of being decommissioned or replaced the next few years.
- Determine what the most used Cloud platform is for your region, country or at your employer (Azure, AWS, Google, Oracle, ……) and plan for training and certification on that cloud platform. On top of that cloud platform train and certify for the cloud based solution of any vendor that is important for your area of expertise so you can demonstrate knowledge on the full stack (Cloud Platform + vendor specific cloud solution)
- Next to certification try to achieve knowledge and experience on how to migrate from on-premise to cloud for your area of expertise and also gain knowledge on what steps you need to offer advice so you will still have a job/work in the future. For those that need to support and maintain environments focus on learning how to do this on a Cloud platform instead of an on-premise environment.
- Keep in mind that Business needs and Business demand will determine more and more what solutions will be used and where they are hosted. Roles such as Business Consultants that can translate Business needs to the IT Landscape also have a good chance of having a lot work for the coming years years as a trusted advisors. Any skills that you can develop in this area will also help.
- Private cloud certification and experience (on-premise but works like a cloud solution) such as Microsoft’s Azure stack is also interesting if you need to keep things on-premise but want the same level of automation and ease of use as the Azure portal for ordering, managing and implementing services and solutions for one or more customers.These are the cloud based certifications for some well known vendors:
- Citrix currently has no certification for Citrix Cloud but they did announce new certification to become available in 2018: XenApp and XenDesktop Service on Citrix Cloud Certified (CC-XAD-CC)
- VMware offers certifications for their vCloud solution
- AWS offers certifications on 3 levels, Foundational , Associate and Professional.
- Google offers certification for the Google Cloud Platform
- Oracle offers certifications for their IaaS, PaaS and SaaS solutions.
So make sure you have the skills, knowledge, experience and certifications for the Cloud and Hybrid scenario’s and you will stay valuable for customers and employers.