IT Certification: Why Cloud Certifications Are The Way To Go?

My experience with IT certification and why I feel that's how future qualifications is the way to go!

IT Certification: Why Cloud Certifications Are The Way To Go?
Photo by Farzad Nazifi on Unsplash

My Story

Last Friday I completed a Microsoft Certification related to Micorosft Teams. I passed!. Phew, that was a stressor.

I have a Bachelors Degree, when I graduated 20 odd years ago learning was still the traditional method. Where you attend lessons and sit for an exam. Most of what I learned I did not exactly use in my career.

When looking for jobs, I struggled not being able to be hired for some reason or another. I had been working part-time over my 4-year course providing computer support services on a freelance basis. The jobs I applied for were related to this. Doing a self-assessment I realised I needed an edge. Internet was just about reaching the masses then. I came across Microsoft's certification.

It had many courses listed I did some research and decided to take if I recall correctly it was for the MS Windows 2000 server certification. I registered for the exam and headed to the bookshop to get the references. 

Used to the traditional model, I crammed and passed. Because of that I soon got a job at REDtone where I worked for 8 years. That was my first experience on how an IT certification got me a job. In hindsight, I should have pursued more certifications to validate my knowledge. But that's a regret I cannot correct.

8 years later, I needed a change in career while I learnt a lot working I did not have a validation that would get me the shortlist for the roles I was interested in. I again reassessed my situation and decided I needed to get updated on my certification.

This time it was more challenging, as the certification required hands-on knowledge on the product as a key to achieving the certifications. I needed access to the physical equipment that was beyond my means. This time I had to reassess and find remote labs for rent that provided the hands-on required.

Had to dig into the savings to pay for the lab time. The certification I took was from Cisco - The Cisco Certified Voice Professional was the title awarded after I completed 6 papers. This time I resigned from my job. It took about 2-3 months of daily reading and testing the configurations to make sure I was able to pass the tests. I soon got my second job at Dell, directly attributed to the certifications I achieved. In this job, I got to validate knowledge gained from certifications in the real world. Being a multinational company the role was to support their infrastructure globally. This was an experience I valued  2 years later I joined a company where I work now DXC.Technology as a UC Architect.

I have been here for 11 years and the winds of change are starting to blow again. Hence my latest certification.

Why Cloud Certifications are the way to go?

The above was a piece of my experience with IT certification and the challenges I faced and not forgetting the doors it opened for me. We are now at the point where Cloud is the new Internet technology.

The IT infrastructure has gone thru a paradigm shift from where local infra is required ( like servers, databases, etc)  to when local infra is no longer a must ( everything is moving to The Cloud).

In my view, everyone in IT  or who wants to break into the IT industry must endeavour to get at least one basic certification on the Cloud.

There are many vendors, Microsoft (my personal favourite), Amazon, Google, Alibaba, Tencent and the list goes on.

It is also now easier as you are even provided access to cloud platforms for free. You no longer need expensive hardware even if you need to the cost of the services are a fraction of what the Lab access cost me 11 years ago. To add to that these companies provide online training with resources available on their website for free!.

If that's not enough there are loads of Youtube videos that can break down the material for you! What an age to live in!

Who should pursue IT Certifications?

  1. Anyone and everyone.
  2. When I speak to my colleagues with regards to the career I will encourage getting a cloud certification.
  3. Not from an IT or engineering background? Don't let that stop you. The courses provided can be completed by anyone with a computer and internet access!
  4. Want to change jobs? This will help you get a foot in the next interview.
  5. Fresh out of school? Lost in knowing what to do? Getting IT certified will provide some sense of self-value.
  6. Lost your job, struggling to get a new one. Getting certified will keep you focused as you continue to look for the next role.
  7. Returning to the job after a long break, pursuing this will get you attuned to the current market and help you with your transition back to the working world.
  8. Anyone and everyone - I cannot stress this enough!

Power tips to help if you choose to pursue.

Powertip 1: Choose one platform and build on that.

Powertip 2: Read the courseware and practice. Repeat this 10 times and will have what it takes to get a job on support Cloud Infrastructure.

Powertip 3: Give it some time and then expand deeper to specializations that might interest you ( Cloud Database, Cloud Networking, Build Cloud applications, Cloud Artificial Intelligence and many more)

Powertip 4: If you still struggle with the free resources, try paid ones. There are many online and offline that can help you get over the hurdle if that works for you.

Powertip 5: While I say free, there may be situations you will have to pay for a service. Consider this a replacement for your tuition fee it will surely be worth it.

Powertip 6: It is hard work. Don't think because they are free it will be easy. To get tuned to the IT world you need to put in the effort.

Powertip7: Focus. Break down your learning into short bursts. The point is to continue the process. It does get boring at times just keep progressing.

Cloud Certifications you can start with.

Convinced?

If reading this got excited and are interested in pursuing a certification Here is a list of basic certifications you can start with.

  1. Microsoft - Microsoft Certified: Azure Fundamentals

  2. Amazon - AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner

  3. Google - Cloud Digital Leader

  4. Alibaba - ACA Cloud Computing Certification

Good luck and wish you the best in this endeavour.