As I've talked to more IT Professionals about the CloudMASTER cloud computing certifications, I keep getting asked the same question, "Is this an MCSE type of certification or a Network+ type of certification?" IT pros want job skills that will make their daily and future job tasks easier. They also want to make sure that they're keeping up with technology trends, and making themselves as marketable as possible so that they can move up in their current organization, or get better jobs in other organizations. So where does a cloud computing certification like CloudMASTER fit? Is it the new MCSE or the new Network+? It doesn't replace either, but it does have similarities to both. These certifications are as important to professional development and job advance as each of those, but it doesn't replace either. On top of that, there are components of the CloudMASTER certification that make it uniquely compelling. I'll lay all of that out for you in this article.
Key Facts You Should Know about CloudMASTER
To better understand where the these certifications fit, you can learn about the three certifications:
- Cloud Technologist
- Cloud Operations
- Cloud Architecture
Vendor Neutral Like Network+
Similarly to the Network+ certification, the CloudMASTER is vendor neutral cloud computing training and certification. It doesn't focus on a single vendor like Amazon Web Services (AWS), we focus on over 20 platforms, tools, and technologies. Platforms including AWS, Azure, Rackspace Cloud, Heroku, and Digital Ocean. Tools include administration, management and orchestration tools like Chef, and Rightscale. This is important in cloud computing training and certification because multi-cloud implementations are on the rise. And those are just the tools you get hands-on with, many others are discussed in the classes. In addition to the platforms and tools, the certifications cover a broad range planning steps, as well as more complex skills. From security, privacy, and compliance planning, to migration, implementation, and management of cloud services.
So, to address the question, are the CloudMaster certifications like Network+? They are, insofar as they are broad and cover a range of common tasks, and challenges that any IT professional will have to face in a cloud project or environment. But Network+ addresses fundamentals. It's often seen by IT pros as an entry level certification. Essentially a first step to landing a IT support job. The CloudMASTER certifications are much more than that.
Again, there are three certifications. The most entry level certification is the Cloud Technologist certification. That class and certification are the starting point on the path to CloudMASTER cloud computing certification. The Technologist certification tests on the fundamental tenants of cloud computing, the benefits cloud provides for businesses, and the skills around selecting, and implementing cloud services. The certification also tests on skills for evaluating, and migrating to Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions.
Vendor Neutral, but Not Vendor Free
The concepts and skills taught in Network+ are truly vendor agnostic. These include fundamental like DNS, communication protocols, network connections and so forth. The concepts and technologies are truly independent of the vendor supplying the hardware, product, or services. The TCP/IP stack works that same on all platforms. Cat5 cable from one vendor plugs into ethernet compatible NICs of other vendors, and DNS works the same way no matter who you buy the service from or if you provide your own DNS.
So, while private cloud implementations are growing in popularity, most organizations will be using some public cloud services. That means IT staff will likely be dealing with cloud service vendors. The CloudMASTER certification training classes teach, and the certifications test on real knowledge, and the ability to perform actual cloud computing IT tasks. Hands-on learning with real products is must. So when we were writing the courses, we chose some of the largest, and most popular cloud services providers such as AWS, Azure, and Chef as the vendors we would use to provide that hands-on experience.
In this way, CloudMASTER certifications are similar to the MCSE certifications. You will get some general task related questions on exams, you will also likely see questions the rely on specific knowledge and experience working with some of the larger cloud service platforms.
Going Deeper, A Lot Deeper
These certifications don't just verify that you know how to point and click in a cloud vendor management app. Knowing your way around some of the more popular cloud vendor products is just the start. The exams test on your ability to apply those skills and think critically to address common implementation issues such as:
- Comparing and selecting the best solutionsn based on requirements.
- Preparing a migration plan to migrate on-premises software to SaaS.
- Automating cloud administration tasks to implement true elastic scalability in a cloud solution.
- Designing an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) solution down to compute specifications, storage, memory and database to replace on-premises infrastructure.
By the way, our CloudMASTER cloud computing classes train on all of these scenarios and more. Check out the class schedule.
In this way, CloudMASTER cloud computing certification is similar to some of the advanced MCSE certification exams. You will be tested on how to put all the pieces of the together to create a function, secure, cost effective cloud solution.
Breadth and Depth to Provide Unique Awareness
We feel the benefit goes beyond the exam. Passing the certification doesn't prove that you took the classes, it proves that you can think critcally and apply a strong functional understanding of cloud computing implementations to address cloud computing issues. The majority of class, and exam focus on critically thinking and applying knowledge in this way to addres challenges like:
- Integration of multiple cloud services and solutions.
- Addressing barriers to cloud migration inside your company (it happens more than you think).
- Mitigating vendor lock-in.
- Using a layered approach for better security (a topic the keeps CIOs up at night).
- Addressing how to migrate legacy applications to the cloud.
Where do the CloudMASTER Cloud Computing Certifications fit?
If you're dealing with a lot of Microsoft Server Technologies, the MCSE certification path is still a good career choice. If you're starting out in an IT career, Network+ is, and will remain, one of the foundational certifications. I would say that Cloud Technologist would come right after Network+. In today's business world, if you're in IT, odds are you'll have to work with cloud computing services. It's now fundamental as setting up Internet connectivity. In many cases, accessing cloud services is the reason you're setting up the Internet connection! If you're interested in being a server administrator, Cloud Operations is a must have certification. The applications and servers that you implement and manage will be likely in the cloud. If you want to step up to that top tier, and be able to design cloud networks, hybrid cloud implementations, or private clouds, the Cloud Architecture certification will prove you have the knowledge and critical thinking to succeed.
Over to You
Have you been looking into cloud computing certifications? What have you considered and why? Let me know in the comments.