Cloud Certification Expands As Businesses Try To Stay Ahead Of The Curve


A new cloud training program helps feed an industry's hunger for more cloud certifications as businesses are working hard to keep pace with changing cloud technologies.

Tuesday, the Cloud Credential Council (CCC), a global cloud training and guidance group, announced a new professional credentials program, expanding on previous basic education programs designed for cloud introductions. As more companies move to the cloud, advanced specialized programs such as this are becoming increasingly crucial, said Marcel Heilijgers, CCC executive director.

"Overall, the professional courses really help organizations to gain more from adopting the cloud. It helps organizations adopt the cloud faster and better," Heilijgers said. "It's an area that's often overlooked. After spending millions on the technology, they look back and realize they don't have the skill set."

Karl Bickmore, owner of Phoenix-based CCNS Consulting, said that training has become a crucial part of his business. He asks his employees to spend two hours a week in training, or about 5 percent of their time. While he admitted that not every company needs to train to the same level, he said it is important for businesses to stay up-to-date on current technology, especially the cloud.

"The secret that no one tells you about cloud computing is that it actually makes environments more complicated," Bickmore said. "What they're really missing out on is that there is a big assumption that if you sign up for the cloud you don't have to worry about stuff."

Many vendors offer product-specific certifications. Bickmore said that he makes sure that his employees seek certifications in Office 365 and backup disaster recovery.

The CCC program offers five professional-level certifications in cloud administration, cloud development, cloud security/governance, cloud service management and cloud solutions architect. The first classes will take place Sept. 10-12 in San Jose, Calif.

Although the program itself is new, Bickmore said that the IT industry is no stranger to constantly undergoing training.

"There's a lot of elements of training, but that's nothing new for our industry. Our industry turns itself every couple of years anyway. It has for a long time," Bickmore said. "The IT companies that survive like us are always looking around the next turn."

It's not just the companies turning to the cloud -- it's the customers, said Bickmore. The new CCC training program itself came about when one of the larger financial services wanted to move to the cloud, but was unable to find anyone in the market who had their certification requirements. Their struggle prompted Heilijgers to take CCC's cloud training program to the next level.

"They want to familiarize themselves with cloud computing," Heilijgers said. "Everyone's talking about it. Everyone's moving there and they need to be able to speak the same language, know what some of the key concepts are and address the customers at a similar level."

The biggest thing with any training, Bickmore said, is to stay ahead of the curve so you are better able to educate the customer.

"For us, I'm just very proactive of making sure we are ahead of the curve," Bickmore said. "If we didn't do that, in a year we'd be dead."

PUBLISHED AUG. 20, 2013