AWS DevOps Certification Now Open To Partners

Amazon Web Services brought its DevOps certification out of beta on Wednesday, publicly releasing the new test and awarding its first batch of certificates.

Amazon introduced the AWS Certified DevOps Engineer course last November to train its partners to lead initiatives involving one of the most important trends in IT, a process that unifies application development and IT operations for rapid software deployment and management.

"As more companies are adopting cloud computing, they are also establishing DevOps practices within their organizations as a way to provide stable, secure, and predictable IT environments and increase IT efficiency," Jeff Barr, chief evangelist at Seattle-based AWS, wrote in the company's blog.

[Related: AWS ADDS New Certification For DevOps Pros]

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Some of the first AWS DevOps certifications were awarded to engineers at 2nd Watch who participated in the beta program and will lead DevOps-focused customer engagements for the Seattle-based solution provider, said Jeff Aden, executive vice of business development for the AWS Premier partner.

"[Our AWS DevOps-certified engineers] will help clients explore new tools and products on Amazon in a way they might not be doing," Aden told CRN. "Really at the end of the day the customers win because they know the certifications [denote] a certain level of expertise, so it’s a good differentiator within the marketplace," Aden said.

A formal certification is an important step in imposing unified terminology and tools to a method of software development that is increasingly common, but still not well understood, Aden said, adding that a cultural shift is necessary to think of DevOps beyond automation and more comprehensively about business processes.

Aater Suleman, CEO of Flux7 Labs, an Austin, Texas-based solution provider, said via email that the term DevOps itself is sometimes misinterpreted to simply mean continuous delivery of configuration management, "but the reality is that it is everything that provides business advantage through improved collaboration and automation."

"DevOps is not a tool, but rather a concept. As we often explain to our clients at Flux7, DevOps is a human play and not a tools play. Therefore, certifying engineers for DevOps is a very different challenge then certifying them for a platform like AWS," Suleman said

Flux7 did not participate in the beta program, but as a solution provider that helps customers build AWS architecture, the company will certainly explore the new certification closely, he said.

"As AWS partners, we are looking forward to seeing what this new certification entails and since we do a lot of work with AWS and DevOps, our engineers will jump on an opportunity to get these expertise formally recognized," Suleman said. "From a broader perspective, this certification is unique because other certifications in the arena are about tools like Chef or Puppet, and not about broader concepts, which makes this leap from AWS particularly interesting."

NEXT: Who's Eligible?

In his blog post, Amazon's Barr wrote that the AWS customers he frequently talks to tell him they are looking for IT pros with cloud computing expertise and special skills focused around DevOps.

"It validates technical expertise in provisioning, operating, and managing distributed application systems on the AWS platform. The exam is intended to identify individuals who are capable of implementing and managing systems which are highly available, scalable, and self-healing on the AWS platform," Barr wrote.

To be eligible for the new certification, engineers must already have attained the ranks of AWS Certified Developer -- Associate or AWS Certified SysOps Administrator -- Associate.

DevOps Engineer is the next step for AWS Certified Developers and SysOps Administrators, Barr wrote.

Aden said while DevOps is still a nebulous concept to some, many businesses are embracing the process.

"Where technology is core to revenue line items, DevOps is in full swing," Aden told CRN.

2nd Watch is seeing upper mid-market businesses adopt DevOps processes quicker than larger enterprises, he said. Within enterprises, DevOps practices are typically found within business units looking for greater agility.

"Certification helps bring some of that to life in terms of solving some of those business processes," Aden told CRN.