Where and how can savvy IT pros distinguish themselves in a crowded cloud? Where are the best opportunities to be found? Here are the platforms worth betting your paycheck on.
The cloud has turned “pay as you go” computing from a pipe dream into a daily reality. The term “Cloud Shift” describe how companies and organizations of all sizes are switching from on-premises computing and services to cloud-based computing and services, in addition to balancing that transition with existing data centers.
Just how big is the cloud? Last year it was estimated that the so-called Cloud Shift in IT will affect more than $1 trillion in related spending. With this much at stake, there will be many opportunities for IT pros. Indeed, demand for qualified, cloud-savvy IT professionals is likely to exceed supply for the foreseeable future.
1. CERTIFIED CLOUD PROFESSIONAL (CCP), ARCITURA CLOUD SCHOOL
A leader in cloud computing technology certifications, the Arcitura Cloud School offers several cloud credentials, including the CCP rating. The CCP validates basic skills in virtualization, cloud characteristics, administration, software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), infrastructure as a service (IaaS), cloud deployment models (public, private, hybrid, and community), and more. Candidates must pass two CCP exams to earn this credential.
2. CERTIFIED CLOUD ARCHITECT (CCA), ARCITURA CLOUD SCHOOL
The CCA certification is designed for senior IT pros. Candidates need expert-level knowledge and skills related to design, support, and management of cloud-based solutions and platforms. Five exams are required to earn the credential. Exam topics include cloud computing fundamentals, cloud technology concepts, and cloud architecture (including advanced cloud architecture). Successful completion of a cloud architecture lab is also required.
3. CERTIFIED SOLUTIONS ARCHITECT (CSA)–PROFESSIONAL, AMAZON WEB SERVICES
The Amazon Web Services CSA–Professional cert is useful for cloud pros who support clients that use AWS. It validates the skills and expertise necessary to support an AWS client environment, including design, deployment, implementation of best practices, and management of AWS applications. Additional required skills include a thorough understanding of concepts such as hybrid architectures, security, storage, cloud migration, business continuity, and scalability. To earn this credential, candidates must first obtain the AWS CSA–Associate credential (one exam required) and then pass the AWS CSA–Professional exam.
4. ORACLE JAVA CLOUD SERVICE CERTIFIED ASSOCIATE (OCA-JAVA CLOUD SERVICE), ORACLE
One of the most popular Oracle cloud certifications is OCA–Java Cloud Service. As with most Oracle certs, a single exam is required to earn this credential. This certification validates a candidate’s skills in six key areas: Java Caching System (JCS), Development and Deployment, User and Instance Management, Co-existence and Extensions, Monitoring and Troubleshooting, and Security. As with all Oracle certs, training is available but not mandatory.
5. CISCO CERTIFIED NETWORK ASSOCIATE (CCNA)–CLOUD, CISCO
The CCNA–Cloud cert is a must-have for IT professionals who support Cisco cloud products. CCNA–Cloud validates skills such as cloud provisioning, support, networking, and system administration and management. Two exams are required to earn this credential.
6. CERTIFIED CLOUD TECHNOLOGY PROFESSIONAL (CCTP), ARCITURA CLOUD SCHOOL
To earn the CCTP cert, candidates need a thorough understanding of cloud terminology and computing concepts, as well as the risks, advantages, and disadvantages of various cloud computing mechanisms and security issues. Candidates must also demonstrate the ability to implement and deploy on common cloud platforms that use IaaS, SaaS, and PaaS models. The certification process includes three exams covering cloud computing fundamentals, cloud technology concepts, and a cloud technology lab, respectively.
7. CLOUD ESSENTIALS, COMPTIA
The CompTIA Cloud Essentials certification is an entry-level certification geared toward nontechnical staff members such as business professionals, managers, and other decision-makers who need to understand the fundamentals of cloud computing for business reasons. Candidates are tested on their understanding of cloud principles such as risk, contingency preparedness, security threats and threat response, and ability to apply technical information in a real-world environment. A single exam is required.
8. CERTIFIED OPENSTACK ADMINISTRATOR (COA), OPENSTACK FOUNDATION
The COA has the distinction of being the first—and only—certification offered by the OpenStack Foundation. A midlevel credential, the COA targets professionals who manage and operate OpenStack cloud environments on a daily basis. Candidates must pass one exam that tests basic knowledge of OpenStack, identity management, the OpenStack Dashboard, computing, object and block storage, networking, heat and orchestration, troubleshooting, and image management.
9. DELL EMC CLOUD ARCHITECT (EMCCA), DELL EMC
The EMCCA credential is available at two levels: Specialist and Expert. The EMCCA Specialist credential is focused on cloud infrastructure, planning, and design. The Expert-level cert (EMCCAe) targets cloud services. Both require either the Dell EMC Information Storage Associate (EMCISA) or Cloud Infrastructure and Services Associate (EMCCIS) credential as a prerequisite. EMCCAe candidates must also obtain the EMCCA before attempting the EMCCAe exam.
10. RED HAT CERTIFIED ARCHITECT (RHCA)–CLOUD, RED HAT
The RHCA cert is Red Hat’s highest and most prestigious credential. To earn the RHCA–Cloud designation, candidates must first obtain either the Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE) designation or the Red Hat Certified JBoss Developer (RHCJD) certification. They then need to obtain a minimum of five additional cloud-based certifications. RHCA–Cloud cert holders can perform advanced tasks such as using CloudForms to manage cloud infrastructures (private, virtual, and hybrid), use hybrid or on-premises cloud to create storage solutions, manage cloud applications with OpenShift Enterprise (create, configure, and manage), and use Satellite Server to manage multiple systems. Note that Red Hat is also heavily invested in OpenStack and endorses its COA credential as well.
11. CERTIFIED CLOUD SECURITY PROFESSIONAL (CCSP), (ISC)2
Offered by (ISC)2, the CCSP is an advanced-level credential targeting IT professionals actively engaged in cloud information security. The CCSP validates a candidate’s skills and knowledge in key security areas including information security design, daily operations, security risk identification and mitigation, auditing, governance, compliance, and security architecture. Candidates must have at least five years of experience before attempting the exam.
As you can see from the number of mentions in the chart, several of these certifications are actively in demand. A job description may not say a certification is required, but if it’s mentioned, it will likely help you land the job.
So how do you get the knowledge necessary to take those certification tests? That leads to the opportunities and outlets for certification and other cloud-related training, including several popular—and free—Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs).