If you’ve ever wanted to get cloud certified, you probably already see the value of certifications. And if you aren’t yet convinced that certifications are for you, you’ve likely heard friends or colleagues urge you to pursue them. Not only does holding a cloud certification give merit to your achievements and skill mastery, but it can also change the trajectory of your career. We spoke to gurus in various stages in their careers, with a range of aspirations to find out the real advantages of obtaining a cloud certification.
Break into the Industry
Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of certification is how accessible it makes cloud technology for newcomers. You don’t have to be an IT professional or hold a computer/technology-related degree to make this your career. And if you’re considering changing your career track, certifications provide a much shorter route to a new life than returning to school for two or four years. Certifications are also now widely accepted by a majority of industry professionals and are even preferred over degree requirements in some cases. Just as you can test out of certain college courses, certifications help you prove your knowledge to move on to the next level faster.
According to Jeremy Walker, an IT Architect with eight certifications,
“The cloud is still very new industry-wide. But because it’s relatively new, certifications represent a vast opportunity. They help recognize that you put in the effort and were tested on it.”
While effort is recognized in most professional settings, cloud technology represents a unique appreciation for hustle and heart. As prior knowledge becomes obsolete over time, cloud professionals are judged on what they know today over what they knew yesterday. Anyone willing to chase knowledge and certifications can build a life-long career.
Dan Jandreau is a DevOps Engineer and holds multiple certifications. He graduated from college in 2016 and is still learning the industry, but he feels that his skills have been enhanced significantly thanks to certifications.
“When I first started in the industry, what I found really interesting was that there were people who had worked in it for 20 years who were on the same playing field as me.”
Cloud comprehension backed by certifications increases equal chances for advancement unrivaled by any other industry. This opportunity isn’t exclusive to entry or associate-level professionals either. Seasoned IT professionals can use certifications to their advantage as well.
Extend the Life of Your Career
In most roles, your experience is valued above almost any other factor in determining the likelihood of a promotion or longevity of your career. Certifications on changing topics have created a loophole for breaking into and remaining relevant in a highly competitive landscape. Senior Sales Engineer Ed Barberis was an IT professional for over 30 years before he pursued his first cloud certification.
“I was in IT consulting and wanted to change my role. So, as cloud technology took off, I needed to reinvent myself. I quickly found that my certification carried a lot of weight with potential employers.”
Searching for a new job is never easy, but certifications will help you get noticed by recruiters and managers that need proof of specific skills. And because certifications are always growing and changing, you’ll put yourself ahead of others with less recent exams or none at all.
And the competition for a specific job isn’t the only time your certifications come in handy. Among companies, your extensive knowledge can help foster a culture of learning and developing skills. Organizations rely on the knowledge of each team member to create a cohesive offering at every level. Cloud certification is a great way to align multiple teams behind shared knowledge and create coordinated efforts.
Mission’s Chief Marketing Officer, Andy Jolls wanted his marketing team to have the advantage that only a certification could bring. Additionally, he hoped to bolster team spirit as other teams in the same area had achieved their certifications and thought his team would benefit from having a shared level of knowledge.
“We found ourselves executing on our marketing programs and not really knowing well enough what the service was that we were really providing. And we sat in the same room as sales and some of our engineers, so we found ourselves a little bit disconnected. We wanted to get a certification that would really help us feel confident and educated.”
Jolls’ team achieved a 100% passing rate in just over a month of studying for the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner exam. The results empowered the marketing team to confidently converse with their colleagues on cloud concepts.
“We’re not DevOps folks or sales engineers but now we're more engaged in the subject. And the company now has confidence that if marketing can do this, then other teams could actually do this too. We’re a stronger team because of it.”
Just because you’ve landed a career or promotion with your certification it doesn’t mean the work is done. As important as your certification was when you achieved it, its glimmer will quickly fade if you aren’t continuing to re-certify. Professionals that want to remain in the industry are rarely satisfied with one certification for this very reason. They know cloud providers continue to raise the bar for learning constantly, and they want to be prepared to assist their organization through the next transformation.
Software Manager Matias De Carli holds multiple certifications and continues to pursue them because he knows they’re the best way to test and prove his knowledge.
“You might know how to use the tools, but if you aren’t certified you’re going to have some blind spots. Certifications remove those blind spots and you get to know new tools in a deeper way.”
Jandreau also believes in the power of recertification to fill in educational gaps. He emphasizes that the cloud is constantly in motion, and certifications remind him where he stands.
“As humans, we can't consume all of the information about everything changing all the time. I like to use the actual certifications as a sort of ‘spot check’ on where I am professionally in my current knowledge.”
Certifications allow learners to condense the massive world of the cloud into focused areas and specific topics that make the process of new learning less daunting. Unlike other skill sets, cloud computing takes a more straightforward approach due largely to certifications. They help you prove your competence on a subject faster, advance or update your skills constantly, and make you stand out among job seekers.
Cloud certifications aren’t going away, in fact, new certifications are announced all the time. And now that many exams can be taken online there’s never been a better time to solidify your skills with a shiny new certification and take your future into your own hands. For newcomers, they provide a chance to quickly establish yourself in an exciting industry. And for current IT professionals, certification acts as an insurance policy to help you remain competitive against new talent.
No matter where you’re at in your learning journey or what you’re currently working on, you should be prioritizing certification before your next big move.
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