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Google Cloud Launches New, Elite ‘Fellow’ Certification For Anthos

'Whereas the (Professional Cloud) Architect Certification focuses on testing of technical skills, the Fellow Certification combines business and technical acumen,' says IGNW CTO Phil Taylor, who describes it as ‘a boot camp-style certification that takes the professional through a series of hands-on, technical problem-solving and business solution development exercises.’

Google Cloud has a new elite “Certified Fellow” program for senior technical leaders who can help customers transform their businesses through its hybrid and multi-cloud Anthos platform.

The No. 3-ranked cloud provider also has launched a new Professional Cloud DevOps Engineer Certification to validate IT workers with the requisite DevOps skills amid an industry shortage.

The Google Cloud Certified Fellow program for Hybrid Multi-Cloud Certification is a new, invitation-only program for technical leaders adept at designing innovative enterprise solutions with Anthos and leading organizations through adoption of the platform. It’s the first of its kind for Google Cloud and the first certification for Anthos as well, and it’s open to both channel partners and customers.

“We're (creating) this unique and prestigious program…to help businesses identify the leaders who can help transform their businesses as they go to this tool,” said Rochana Golani, Google Cloud’s director of learning and enablement. “The goal…is really to equip leaders with the right technical skills, knowledge, best practices, as they're thinking about how to solve the cloud challenges.”

Google Cloud unveiled the fully managed Anthos last April. The platform allows customers to build and manage applications across environments -- in their on-premise data centers, on Google Cloud and on rival third-party clouds, including Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.

The new Fellow program is a step above Google Cloud’s current two-level certification program that includes Associate Cloud Engineers and Professional Certifications. In addition to having mastered Anthos from a technology standpoint, applicants must have leadership skills to drive the transformation that organizations want.

“We're targeting a different set of individuals,” Golani said. “We're also doing an assessment that isn't based on just technical expertise. There's a panel interview that is assessing the ability to understand the business requirements and create an architecture design change management that aligns with all of that.”

To be certified as fellows, applicants must pass a series of assessments, including hands-on labs and a “Ph.D.-like” panel interview.

“As we think about raising the bar for who we are actually certifying in this program, we also have to obviously change the way we are affecting the knowledge, skills and abilities of these individuals,” Golani said. “They have to be competitive to go through this. They have to pass a series of very rigorous assessments after an invitation and application.”

The first panel, which judged the initial 20 launch Fellows under the program, included Google Cloud product and engineering leaders, but may include other Fellows going forward.

One of the biggest benefits of the program is the ability to connect with other Fellows and Google Cloud product and engineering leaders, according to Golani.

“Our certification event itself is an in-person event, and we've definitely created channels for them for how they can stay connected, (including) other forums which are virtual,” she said.

Among the 20 launch fellows are IT professionals from Google Cloud partners and Google Cloud customers including ANZ Bank, H-E-B, HSBC, Macquarie and Marriott.

Phil Taylor and John Wynkoop, co-CTOs at IGNW -- a Portland, Ore.-based Google Cloud partner and a systems integrator launch partner for Anthos when it was unveiled last April – have earned the Fellow designation.

The new certification goes “above and beyond” Google Cloud’s Professional Cloud Architect Certification in a couple of ways, according to Taylor.

“Whereas the (Professional Cloud) Architect Certification focuses on testing of technical skills, the Fellow Certification combines business and technical acumen. The new certification is a boot camp-style certification that takes the professional through a series of hands-on, technical problem-solving and business solution development exercises. Professionals can expect this to be closer to an interview at Google for a senior solution architect position.”

As more and more enterprises move to adopt a hybrid cloud strategy, the complexity of integrating a cloud platform with existing IT assets has skyrocketed, said Wynkoop, IGNW’s eastern region CTO.

“While numerous certifications exist to validate technical skills, to date there has not been a reliable, objective way to ensure staff have an understanding of the business and technical challenges of building a hybrid cloud strategy,” he said. “The Google Cloud Certified Fellow…provides an industry leading benchmark for the evaluation and certification of top talent across a broad range of skills, both technical and non-technical."

Zach Snee, a cloud solutions architect at Accenture, also is an inaugural Fellow.

“My clients value the mastery it demonstrates,” Snee said. “After passing the initial technical assessment and panel interview, Google Cloud Certified Fellow: Hybrid Multi-Cloud program members are asked to participate in industry events, write blogs or build technical demos to maintain certification. Google has incentivized program members’ commitment to the ongoing education of their fellow cloud professionals about how Anthos and Google Cloud can be leveraged to meet customer needs.”

New Professional Cloud DevOps Engineer Certification

Google Cloud’s new Professional Cloud DevOps Engineer Certification recognizes that DevOps is a critical component of cloud adoption and how teams evolve, according to Golani.

Cloud DevOps engineers play a key role in digital transformation projects by employing “continuous change and rapid experimentation to help organizations transform quickly and meet changing customer demands, according to Google Cloud.

DevOps engineering positions are one of the hardest IT positions to fill, Google Cloud noted. DevOps engineers are listed as one of the expected in-demand job candidates that employers will seek out this year, according to a 2020 technology salary guide by Robert Half Technology, which places temporary and permanent information technology staff with employers.

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