Upskilling, Reskilling, and Cross-skilling: Which one does your IT team need?
Learn about the differences between upskilling, reskilling, and cross-skilling to see what ones are right for you and your organization.
Cloud computing is a rapidly evolving ecosystem of connected technologies that can produce as many questions as it does answers. As companies modernize their infrastructure, adopt cloud-native development practices and move toward a DevOps culture, IT and business leaders often discover that their teams have extensive skills gaps. An upskilled and certified workforce can save the company from missing critical steps and making avoidable mistakes, both during and beyond cloud modernization and migration. Yet business leaders still have many common questions surrounding the best way to achieve cloud proficiency and expertise across their organizations.
Additionally, many individual IT professionals see cloud computing as the next logical step in their career and knowledge paths. But knowing where to start with training or certification can be difficult when adopting new solutions.
Below are answers to the top 15 most common questions IT professionals search online regarding cloud technologies — and you’ll learn how to get started on the right path toward a career or company that’s powered by cloud.
If your company uses or is migrating to a specific cloud provider, then the easiest answer is to start by getting trained in what your company needs. You will increase your value to your organization while also boosting your skills and confidence at your job. However, if you are just starting out, the choice is yours. You can open yourself up to a wider variety of job options by choosing the current infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) market share leader, Amazon Web Services (AWS), or you can choose your path based on specialty interests. For example, IBM currently leads in hosted private cloud, and Microsoft commands the enterprise software-as-a-service (SaaS) market1.
Every cloud service provider will say that their platform is the easiest to learn and offers the most benefits. But the real answer to this question depends greatly on your prior experience and knowledge. If you have some familiarity with Microsoft products administration or .NET development, Azure will feel more natural for you. If your background is in Java, Linux or Red Hat® products, you’ll find a comfortable fit with AWS or Google. Through our Oracle database, PeopleSoft, Java and Middleware, and Learning Stream courses, to name a few, you’ll be better prepared to improve efficiencies and team productivity within your organization. If you’re just starting out, all the cloud services are about the same to learn.
Like in any career path, proficiency requires some training and lots of hands-on experience. While you can become proficient in an aspect of cloud computing with a training class and few months of daily practice, the evolving nature of the cloud means you’ll need ongoing study and practice to keep up and maintain proficiency. If you’re currently working within a cloud environment, choose courses you can apply immediately so that you can reinforce your learning daily. If you’re not working in a cloud environment, or you’re switching careers, be sure to take advantage of free cloud provider accounts and learning environments, and dedicate some time each day or week to honing your skills.
Pay depends greatly upon job title in the diverse world of cloud computing. The average cloud solutions architect salary across the United States is around $111,000 USD, whereas cloud administrators make around $65,500 per year and cloud developers range from $73,000 to over $120,000 annually2. There are also specialty cloud computing jobs in artificial intelligence (AI), big data and analytics and more that command significant salaries, even at an entry level.
Considering the industry-wide shortage of qualified cloud computing candidates and the vast skills gap that employers need to close, the short answer is yes. Depending on your level of training, experience and aptitude, you can find jobs in cloud computing without a certification. However, cloud certifications command high salaries, and having a certification can give your career — and your pay — a serious boost3
Cloud computing spans infrastructure, platform, software and services, and requires support professionals who specialize in cybersecurity, business and strategic planning, problem management, backup and disaster recovery, data science and more. There are many professional opportunities that don’t include coding as a prerequisite, and there are jobs that require highly specialized software development training and experience. The choice is yours.
Cloud is an expansive and multifaceted discipline, offering a wide variety of career opportunities, including infrastructure and platform architecture and support, software development, data science and analytics, cybersecurity and more. The skills you’ll need are largely dependent upon the career path you choose. To determine your best-fit classes, talk to a training specialist so you can tailor a training plan that fits your career goals.
There are several approaches to cloud training, including taking single classes, working through a progressive training program or following a specific certification track. How you start depends largely on your experience and training goals. However, there are foundations and essentials courses for the major cloud vendors that offer a valuable, hands-on introduction to your cloud platform of choice. Taking these courses at the start of your training can give you a significant advantage as you progress by teaching you relevant terminology and helping you find your way around your preferred platform.
For IT professionals who want to set themselves apart and lead their company’s cloud computing efforts, certification is the logical first step. But certification is an investment, both in time and money. While the most sought-after cloud certifications include Google, AWS and Azure architecture, administration and development, certifications in data science, agile processes, DevOps and emerging technologies like AI can also give you a significant advantage. Choosing your first (or next) certification is a personal balance of immediate usefulness, goals and career potential. You’ll also want to pay close attention to how certifications are related to one another, as having multiple certifications can give your career a boost. One report indicated that IT professionals who hold six or more certifications make, on average, $10,000 more per year than a person who holds only one4.
Cloud certifications aren’t easy, and for good reason — they have to be fairly earned. Like any higher academic study, you’ll need a significant amount of both theory and practical knowledge to pass your certification exams. While training isn’t a requirement to take most exams, it’s highly recommended. Vendor-authorized cloud training partners can better prepare you for the rigors of certification through expert and proven methods that help improve your chances of passing your certification exams on the first try.
Pricing for cloud certification exams varies based on vendor and exam level. Most cost between $100 and $300 USD,5 though those prices are subject to change. However, that’s just the price for the test, and remember — if you don’t pass on the first try, you’ll have to pay that fee again to retake the test. But with adequate training through a vendor-approved training facility, you can increase your chances of success. Also, most companies are happy to support employees who take the initiative to get certified. Working your cloud certifications into your annual goals helps you avoid out-of-pocket training expenses.
In addition to the potential for more money in your paycheck, cloud certifications also offer a host of other benefits that make them well worth your time and effort. You’ll have greater confidence in your job and you’ll speak an industry-standard language that will help you develop solutions faster. Cloud-certified professionals are proven to be more productive and better, faster troubleshooters6. Your expertise can also help you attain a more significant role in your company and boost your future employability.
Ongoing self-education is a large part of what makes many IT professionals successful. But make sure you are learning from the right sources. By taking vendor-approved courses designed and taught by industry experts, you can close your own skills gaps and stay ahead of emerging IT trends. Look for courses that not only fit your schedule and provide hands-on labs, but are also led by an experienced provider that is authorized by technology vendors to deliver their training content.
It’s never too early to start understanding the systems your company will depend upon for day-to-day business. By speaking up and requesting training, you’ll show initiative and dedication to your team and your corporate goals. You could even start a movement to get your entire team trained ahead of the curve, which could greatly accelerate the success of your cloud migration and adoption initiatives.
The cloud technologies that have transformed the IT industry have caused skills gaps in nearly every organization. ExitCertified partners with all the major players in public cloud training — including AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, IBM and Oracle — to help you achieve your cloud training and certification goals. ExitCertified also supports private and hybrid cloud training on tools and frameworks like VMware®, Cloud Foundry®, Red Hat OpenShift® and OpenStack®, and offers a variety of courses in emerging technologies, including AI, machine language, Kubernetes and data science. With over 9,500 vendor-approved courses to choose from — taught through a variety of delivery modalities, including ExitCertified’s live, instructor-led Individual Multimedia Video Presence (iMVP®) online platform — you can find the right fit for your immediate training needs and chart a course for ongoing training and certification to support your career ambitions.
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