Thursday, 29 May 2014

Your supreme guide to cloud certifications


A few years ago cloud computing was a popular buzzword, rather than a significant piece of the IT puzzle. However, times have changed and the cloud has become one of fastest growing, most versatile technologies.

Although its presence is growing rapidly, cloud computing is still in the relatively early stage of its adoption. There are still thousands of companies, who are only now considering moving to the cloud.

Image courtesy of digitalart/

What’s the current state of play?

According to a survey by WANTED Analytics, over 2,400 organisations were seeking IT professionals with cloud computing skills in 2012. 

An IDC White Paper, commissioned by Microsoft, also revealed that “cloud-related skills represent virtually all the growth opportunities in IT employment worldwide and demand for cloud-related positions will grow by 26 per cent annually through 2015”

In EMEA, IDC forecasts that cloud-related IT jobs will grow by 24 percent per year to about 1.4 million by 2015.

What does this mean? This means that now is your time to get your head in the cloud, certify your skills and get a thick slice of technology’s tastiest cake. Here are nine cloud computing certifications that will help you make the most of technology's fastest growing field.

1. CompTIA Cloud Essentials

The CompTIA Cloud Essentials certification is your ideal entry level certification, as it covers the basic fundamentals of cloud computing such as:
  • Cloud types
  • Adoption and implementation of the cloud
  • The impact of cloud computing on IT service management
  • Cloud computing risks
With this cert under your belt, you demonstrate that you have an understanding of cloud computing from a business, as well as from a technical perspective. As part of this certification, you also learn how to migrate to the cloud and about the governance of cloud computing environments.

2. CompTIA Cloud+

Cloud+ is a newly developed certification by CompTIA, which puts great emphasis on IT security. It’s perfect if you already have some experience in working with cloud technology.

As a Cloud+ certified professional, you will have an understanding of cloud computing terms and methods, and the aspects of IT security. You’ll also be able to maintain and implement cloud infrastructures, including network and virtualisation technologies.
The Cloud+ certification also covers:
  • Resource management
  • Security
  • Systems management
  • Business continuity in the cloud
3. Rackspace: CloudU

CloudU by Rackspace is a vendor-neutral certification programme designed and developed for IT professionals and decision makers. CloudU teaches you the fundamentals of cloud computing, with the help of whitepapers, lectures, quizzes, video tutorials, e-books, webinars and live events.

CloudU’s content is available to anyone, however in order to obtain the certification, you must complete 10 CloudU lesson quizzes and a 50 question final exam.
The lessons of CloudU cover everything from cloud types, virtualisation and security to application programming interfaces (APIs) and hypervisors.

4. MCSE: Private Cloud

This certification is the crown jewel of Microsoft’s cloud portfolio. The MCSE: Private Cloud certification proves your skills in managing and implementing Microsoft private cloud computing technologies. Combined with Windows Server and System Center, you’ll be able to build your Microsoft private cloud to provide flexibility for your IT infrastructure.
As part of this certification you’ll cover topics such as:
  • Deploying cloud services
  • Monitoring private cloud services
  • Problem management in the cloud
  • Private cloud protection and recovery
Prior to getting this certification, you need to already have your MCSA: Windows Server 2012, which includes passing Exams 410-411-412.

5. VMware Certified Associate – Cloud (VCA-Cloud)

VMware’s full portfolio of cloud computing certifications is currently made up of six different cloud-specific certs, from beginner to advanced levels. The first level of this hierarchy is VCA-Cloud, which can be obtained by completing a free, self-paced eLearning course.

To prepare for your VCA-Cloud exam you may take the VMware Cloud Fundamentals course, which will teach you to define and describe the different types of clouds and also provide an overview of VMware vCloud Suite.

6. HP ATA – Cloud

HP’s Accredited Technical Associate – Cloud certification teaches you industry-standard virtualisation technologies, including the planning and designing of common virtualised services and their implications for customer needs.

As part of this certification, you learn how to design, implement, and support end-to-end IT systems. Furthermore, you also learn about the following:
  • Installing, configuring, and upgrading servers, storage, data networks and applications in business environments
  • Differences between hosted, co-located and cloud networks, and a traditional on-premises network
  • Business implications and selection criteria of appropriate responses to a given business scenario
7. – Certified Cloud Professional (CCP)

Certified Cloud Professional (CCP) by is a vendor-neutral cloud certification, focusing on fundamental topics of cloud computing. With this certification under your belt, you’ll be familiar with cloud computing terminology and concepts, as well as the benefits, challenges and risks of using the cloud. 

You’ll also learn about SaaS, Paas and Iaas models and the different types of clouds. To get your CCP certification, you must pass two exams:
  • C90-01 Fundamental Cloud Computing – standard prerequisite of certs
  • One additional exam from this list offers self-study resources, study sessions as well as instructor-led workshops to help your prepare for the exams. 

8. Cloud Security Alliance: The Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge (CCSK)

The Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge (CCSK) certification is another vendor-neutral qualification, which proves your expertise in key areas of cloud security such as:
  • Architecture
  • Compliance
  • Governance
  • Virtualisation
  • Operations
  • Encryption
According to Gavin Hill, Venafi’s Director of Product Marketing: "With data being the new currency, the control of trust in the cloud is ever more significant. The CSA updated Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge (CCSK) brings practical guidance to security professionals deploying workloads in the cloud. It delivers the necessary controls that enable security professionals to deploy cloud applications with security and trust mind."

9. (+1) IBM Certified Cloud Solution Architect v1 and v3

Last but not least, let’s take a look at both versions of IBM’s Certified Cloud Solution Architect. v1 and v3 certify your skills to design, plan and manage IBM's cloud computing infrastructure. As an IBM Certified Cloud Solution Architect you are also able to provide a detailed overview of the benefits and underlying concepts of cloud computing.

To obtain these certs, you should have a working knowledge of cloud fundamentals as well as a basic knowledge of IBM cloud computing essentials.

There you have it nine (+1) cloud computing certs that will definitely get you ahead of the curve and help you make the most of what the cloud has to offer. And if you are interested in even more cloud certs, check out our full cloud portfolio.

About the Author:       
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Skin deep dedication – company logo tattoos are the new chic?

Probably not. However, there’s been a lot of coverage lately about employees having their company’s logo tattooed on their bodies. The most recent body ink history relates to ex-editor of The New York Times, Jill Abramson, who was featured on BBC News website for having the newspaper's iconic "T" tattooed on her back.

Now, Ms Abramson’s decision to get herself “branded for life” clearly seems like an act of commemorating her promotion at the prestigious paper, which, without any doubts, is a great achievement. However, her recent sacking may put this tragically misplaced act of loyalty in a different light.

Rapid Realty: inclined to get inked for a raise?

The “gothic T” of Ms Abramson wasn’t the only piece of body art that made it to business journals and newspapers. New York-based real estate firm Rapid Realty has offered its employees a 15% pay raise on their commissions for “playing billboard” for the rest of their lives.

There are a lot of opinions circulating the web, but one thing’s certain: getting your company’s logo tattooed on your body in exchange for a raise will definitely not be an imprint of pleasure.

One of ours got 'Firebranded'

But, do you really need a raise to get yourself a tattoo with your company’s logo or name? The answer is no, and guess what; you don’t even have to be the editor of a globally renowned newspaper.

fi-re-brand (noun) An idea or person that ignites excitement, action and change by challenging outmoded beliefs and methods.

One of our Senior Sales Executives could really identify himself with the term firebrand. He liked it so much, that he proposed to get it tattooed on his lower back, if… well, if we paid for it. We liked the idea and went ahead with it, because we appreciate commitment, even if it’s somewhat extreme. Allow us to present you a true Firebrand:

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Fantastic Four aka four (+1) fantastic resources for MCSA Windows Server 2012 (Updated)


Do you want to get the knowledge and skills needed to use Windows Server technology and earn your MCSA as well? Well, with the help of these resources you can do just that. Follow these sites and blogs and you’ll always be up-to-date on cloud-optimized networks, applications, and web services related to Windows Server 2012. 

Whether you’re interested in the latest virtualization features, new storage capabilities or networking management you’ll find useful content on the following sites. What’s more, you will also find exam tips and preparation guides that help you pass your exams and get your certification.

Microsoft Virtual Academy

Who could possibly be more resourceful than the very creators of the certification? Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA) offers a wide range of resources to help you learn and prepare for your MCSA Windows Server 2012 exams.

With MVA, you have the opportunity to attend free online seminars and training, where Microsoft’s experts will answer all the questions you may have.  Depending on whether you’re interested in Windows Server 2012 or the R2 version, you’re able to choose from topics, such as:
  • Networking Fundamentals
  • Understanding Active Directory
  • Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials
  • Windows Server 2012 R2 Virtualization
  • Server Management and Automation
Prepare for Exam 411 with Microsoft Virtual Academy: 

For the full list of topics and online courses, visit Microsoft Virtual Academy.

Windows IT Pro

Windows IT Pro is the home to all the latest tips and news on Microsoft products, such as Exchange Server, SharePoint and of course Windows Server. Whether you’re looking for information about data protection, Hyper-V, disaster recovery or virtualisation, you’ll find it on here.

The latest articles on Windows Server 2012 featured news about testing Active Directory performance, installing .NET Framework 3.5 and using PowerShell to list RDS Sessions.

Apart from news, Windows IT Pro also hosts a forum, where industry professionals can exchange ideas and help each other by sharing tips and best practice. 

Are you preparing for your MCSA Windows Server 2012 exams? Watch this hour-long exam prep video to help you with Exam 70-410.

Born To Learn – 90 Days to MCSA

Born To Learn is Microsoft’s training and certification community and similarly to MVA, it offers a great deal of free resources directly from Microsoft and certified IT pros. The site features news, blogs, study groups and resource wikis for various exams. 

With the "90 Days to MCSA" initiative, you can dive in today and start preparing for your MCSA Windows Server 2012 certification. You can find exam prep videos for all three exams – Exams 410-411-412 – exam relevant discussion forums and resource wikis to help your preparation. 

Keith Mayer is a Senior Technical Evangelist at Microsoft. With over 17 years of experience in leading complex IT projects, Keith is a certified professional in Microsoft technologies, such as Private Cloud, Windows Server, SharePoint, System Center, Hyper-V and Exchange.

Keith’s blog is a part of Microsoft’s TechNet Blogs and it features news, step-by-step guides, TechNet radio recordings, conference coverage and tons more!
If you’re looking for the latest updates to PowerShell and Hyper-V or free study guides for new MCSA exams, this blog is definitely deserves a bookmark.

Are you interested in some Windows Server 2012 tips and tricks? Watch this video:

UPDATE (29/05/14)

Due to popular demand here's one more excellent source for the latest news, tips and tricks on Windows Server 2012 R2: MGBleeds

MGBleeds is written by Mike Brown, Firebrand's Senior Microsoft instructor. Mike has almost two decades of experience in the IT industry, so his articles about Dynamic Access Control,  Hypver-V Virtual Switch Security and Failover Clustering are definitely a must-read for all Windows Server enthusiasts and IT pros.

Make sure you follow Mike's blog, as well as his Twitter profile @mgbleeds for the latest news on Microsoft's hottest products.

About the Author:       
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Breaking News - Firebrand offers accredited TOGAF® training courses!


It's official, we are an accredited TOGAF training provider with The Open Group. You can now access the benefits of accelerated training, delivered by an official instructor where you will learn from the official TOGAF® 9 curriculum.

This ensures that you will have access to the most up-to-date training material available. Our 3 day training course covers both level 1 and 2 of the TOGAF® 9 certification, you will take and pass two exams on-site and leave a TOGAF certified professional 25% faster.

Details of our accreditation status can be found via The Open Group's accreditation register.

What is TOGAF?

Recognised globally as the standard for Enterprise Architecture, TOGAF® is used by the world's leading organisations to improve business efficiency. It was created by the The Open Group Architecture Forum, a group of more than 200 enterprise organisations who develop and maintain the TOGAF standard. They are responsible for continually updating the framework, with the most recent version available for download being TOGAF 9.1.

The following short video created by Orbus Software is a fantastic short overview of the renowned Enterprise Architecture framework. 

What are the benefits of TOGAF for businesses?

TOGAF allows organisations to become more effective, addressing business critical needs by:

  • Ensuring all employees speak the same language
  • Utilising available resources more effectively whilst also saving time and money
  • Avoiding lock-in to proprietary solutions by standardizing on open methods for Enterprise Architecture
  • Achieving a demonstrable ROI

What are the benefits of attaining TOGAF certification?

There are many benefits for attaining TOGAF certification, here are just a few.

  • You can clearly demonstrate your knowledge and ability to apply the TOGAF Framework
  • Enhance and affirm your professional skill set
  • Open the door to more rewarding and exciting assignments
  • Accelerate your salary and career advancement

You can find out more by reading our post on all the frequently asked questions about TOGAF.

About the Author

As part of Firebrand's global marketing team, Edward actively works to serve the IT community with news, reviews and technical how to guides. Working in the Industry for almost 3 years years, Edward has a wide variety of experience with Microsoft Technologies including SharePoint and Windows Server and Exchange Server. Edward is an active member of the IT community contributing to a variety of tech publications including Microsoft TechNet, Channel Pro and PC Advisor among others.

Friday, 16 May 2014

Who said IT security wasn’t fun? Check out the funniest CISSP video, ever!


The CISSP is an advanced level certification for information security professionals. As one of the most prestigious security certs, it gets a lot of attention from tech publications, forums and blogs, including ours.

Earlier this week we presented you with four killer resources to prepare you for CISSP exam success, and now we are bringing you something different, but equally killer to conclude this week.

Who said IT security wasn’t fun?

With the CISSP under your belt, you’ll be an expert in developing and managing security standards, policies, and procedures within your organisation. This is all very serious because millions of pounds may depend on your company's security systems, but don’t think that security professionals don’t have a sense of humour.

Javvad Malik is a blogger, publisher, critic and most importantly an IT security professional. Javvad is a true CISSP-enthusiast, as you may recall him from an earlier post, where he demonstrated how to rock a CISSP.

Besides running his own blog, Javvad is also one third of the unholy Infosec Trinity, known as Host Unknown.

I'm a C I Double S P

According to a recent interview with (ISC)2 Board Members Wim Remes and Dave Lewis the CISSP membership “may be seen as middle aged and out of touch.”

Well, Javvad and his trustee companions Andrew and Thom beg to differ. As they wrote on their Host Unknown blog: “the CISSP has always been for people of varied backgrounds and skills, and like a good pair of flared corduroys, has never really gone out of fashion.”

But a simple blog post won’t fully justify their views, so the tech-triumvirate took it even further to prove their point. And what could possibly be a better way to do that, than recreating a timeless classic by Mr Curtis Jackson, aka 50 Cent (30p at today’s exchange rate).

About the Author:        
Peter writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Five reasons why you have to get Cisco certified


In a recent study, Cisco surveyed employers of Cisco certified professionals to measure the value of certifications. Aiming to understand management perceptions about certified employees, the study revealed that over 75% of the 200 network managers surveyed believe that their Cisco certified employees possess greater knowledge than their peers without a certification.

What’s in it for the employer?

Employees, who can work quickly, effectively and efficiently are valued in any organisation. According to Cisco’s study, employers benefit from employing certified professionals in the following ways:
  • Network-related projects and technical problems get completed and resolved faster – often by 30% or more
  • Cisco certified professionals are at least 20% faster in coming up to speed in projects
  • Network-related tasks and problems are dealt with higher effectiveness – on average by 40%
In addition to these benefits, employers also highlighted that having Cisco certified employees on their staff has decreased network support costs, reduced network downtime, improved the ability to take on additional projects, and improved customer satisfaction.

If you’re interested in the complete study of Cisco, you can download it from their employer resources site.

What’s in it for you – five reasons why your Cisco cert matters

Having thought about the above mentioned, it is evident why it’s worth employing Cisco certified professionals. But the question more relevant to you is: Why do I need a Cisco certification?

Chris Roessler is a CCNA certified network engineer, who has been working in networking in 2007. As a guest blogger, Chris has recently written an article sharing his five reasons for getting certified:
  1. Preparing for a certification forces you to go back and fill the gaps in your knowledge
  2. Certifications are financially rewarding and should be considered as an investment in yourself - Cisco certifications boost average salaries by at least 10%
  3. You’ll be able to keep up with the evolving technologies – like software-defined networking (Cisco is already preparing training and certification for it)
  4. You’ll discover networking best practices and tips, while preparing for your certification
  5. With a certification under your belt, you’ll gain greater recognition and get the edge over your competition - 86% of hiring managers indicate IT certifications are a high priority during the candidate evaluation process (CompTIA, Employer Perceptions of IT Training and Certification, January 2011)
To learn more about our official Cisco training courses, check out our Cisco portfolio.

About the Author:       
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Three killer resources to prepare you for CISSP exam success


As we move into 2014, demand for skilled cyber security professionals holding the CISSP credential is at an all time high. Continued media coverage of high profile hacks and a growing skills gap within the cyber security industry will only continue to fuel that demand. 

As it stands there are currently 4607 certified CISSP's in the UK, according (ISC)2 member count, yet ITJobsWatch reports more than 1000 vacancies highlighting the CISSP certification as a requirement. With an average salary of £56,125 (up 12.25% on 2013) and the plethora of available jobs, now has never been a better time to consider becoming a CISSP. 

So to help you on your way to becoming a certified CISSP, we've put together three killer resources to help prepare you for exam success.

Buy the Official CISSP CBK

In my opinion, it's always best to go official, so make sure you get your hands on, the Official (ISC)² Guide to the CISSP CBK (common body of knowledge). It might be more expensive than other guides and it's often tempting to go for a cheaper alternative, but that is often a false economy with the Official guide being more comprehensive and up to date. If an exam vendor isn't providing you with one of the best guides to success, then something is certainly amiss.

The current CISSP CBK guide is in its Third Edition and is reflective of all the latest developments in what is an ever-changing field. Examples of new topics reflective of these developments include mobile security and cloud computing. You can attain the guide in three formats:
  • Hardcover
  • iTunes - can be bought in single modules or all ten domains
  • Kindle - can be bought in single modules or all ten domains

Work through the CISSP Essentials Security School

Another fantastic and FREE resource from Search Security is the CISSP Essentials Security School. You'll have to trade your name and email to set-up an account, but in return you'll get 10 lessons covering each domain, 450 minutes of video presentations, an insiders guide to each domain and a quiz simulating prep questions reflective of the real exam.

The resource is put together by Shon Harris a CISSP, MCSE and President of Logical Security.

Free CISSP webcasts straight from (ISC)2

(ISC)2 released a series of ten free CISSP webcasts which will run you through exactly what you need to know before attempting the exam. They consist of a detailed overview of each domain covered in the exam as well as all the knowledge expected of a CISSP. This is a must view before you even consider taking an exam.

So there you have it, three killer resources to help you prepare for exam success. If you're still in doubt about the value of CISSP, check out this short video. 

About the Author

As part of Firebrand's global marketing team, Edward actively works to serve the IT community with news, reviews and technical how to guides. Working in the Industry for almost 3 years years, Edward has a wide variety of experience with Microsoft Technologies including SharePoint and Windows Server and Exchange Server. Edward is an active member of the IT community contributing to a variety of tech publications including Microsoft TechNet, Channel Pro and PC Advisor among others.

Friday, 2 May 2014

Microsoft retires more exams: does it affect you?


Microsoft has finished the planning of its exam retirement schedule for the next 12 months.  As part of this process, the company plans to retire all Microsoft Dynamics MCTS and MCITP certs by the end of 2014.

How will this impact on you?

There’s no need to worry, if you see an exam related to the certification you have being retired. Your cert will still be valid and your exam record still remains on your transcript.
However, if you are intending to get a certification that includes one of the exams on the list, you must make sure that you pass the exam before the retirement date. It’s wise to allow time for a potential retake as well.

Microsoft continuously updates its exam retirement site, which is useful to check frequently because dates and exams are subject to change.

These exams are being retired by the following dates

  • MB7-838 NAV 2009 Installation & Configuration 6/30/2014
  • MB7-839 NAV 2009 Core Setup and Finance 6/30/2014
  • MB7-840 NAV 2009 C/SIDE Introduction 6/30/2014
  • MB7-841 NAV 2009 C/SIDE Solution Development 6/30/2014
  • MB7-842 NAV 2009 Trade & Inventory 6/30/2014
  • MB7-843 NAV 2009 Warehouse Management 6/30/2014
  • MB7-846 NAV 2009 Relationship Management 6/30/2014
  • MB7-848 NAV 2009 Service Management 6/30/2014
  • MB7-849 NAV 2009 Manufacturing 6/30/2014
  • MB7-849 NAV 2009-Produktion (Danish) 6/30/2014
  • MB7-849 NAV 2009-Produktion (German) 6/30/2014
  • MB5-845 POS 2009 12/31/2014
  • MB5-537 Microsoft Dynamics Retail Management System 2.0 Store Operations 12/31/2014
  • MB5-538 Microsoft Dynamics Retail Management System 2.0 Headquarters 12/31/2014

Visual Studio
  • 70-506: TS: Silverlight 4, Development 7/31/2014
  • 70-512: TS: Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2010, Administration 7/31/2014
  • 70-521: Upgrade: Transition your MCPD .NET Framework 3.5 Windows Dev Skills to MCPD .NET 4.0 Windows App Dev 7/31/2014
  • 70-523: Upgrade: Transition Your MCPD .NET Framework 3.5 Web Dev Skills to MCPD .NET Framework 4 Web Dev 7/31/2014
  • 98-362: Windows Development Fundamentals 7/31/2014
  • 98-373: Mobile Development Fundamentals 7/31/2014

Volume Licensing
  • 70-671: TS: Designing and Providing Volume Licensing Solutions to Small and Medium Orgs 1/31/2015
  • 70-672: TS: Designing and Providing Volume Licensing Solutions to Large Organizations 1/31/2015

  • 70-682: Pro: Upgrading to Windows 7 MCITP Enterprise Desktop Support Technician 7/31/2014
  • 70-684: OEM Reseller 7/31/2014

Windows Azure
  • 70-583: PRO: Designing and Developing Windows Azure Applications 7/31/2014

Windows Embedded
  • 70-582: TS: Windows Embedded Standard 7 for Developers 7/31/2014

Windows Phone
  • 70-599: Pro: Designing and Developing Windows Phone Applications 9/30/2014
About the Author:       
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Thursday, 1 May 2014

The hottest IT certifications to advance your career with the latest technology


The Information Technology market offers thousands of great opportunities with some uniquely varied roles. However, as most industries, IT has also got its hottest areas. This post discusses those popular areas, including the must-have certifications and how they can make your CV stand out from the rest.


Hackers continuously develop their tricks and techniques to access and misuse privileged data. And because information will always be precious to its owners; its protection will never go out of fashion. As a result of this, skilled IT security professionals are still in extremely high demand.

How would you decide whether someone is qualified enough to defend your data? Employers often refer to certifications when recruiting, because they very clearly demonstrate the skills and knowledge their holders possess.

If IT security is the field you (want to) work in, the CISSP by (ISC)2 is a must-have. This certification is designed for security pros, who are actively involved in critical decision making. CISSP holders have the knowledge, understanding and expert skills in order to manage security standards, policies and procedures within their organisation.

The cert demonstrates your competence in various security topics, including cloud computing, app development security, mobile security and risk management. In order to obtain the CISSP credential, you must tick a bunch of boxes, including a minimum of five years’ experience in at least two CISSP domains. (ISC)2 offers great resources to help you prepare for getting your certification. You can download the exam outline and also watch informative webcasts about the CISSP domains for free.

Cloud Computing

A recent research by Dworin Consulting shows that 39% of respondents expect an increasing need for cloud computing training by the end of 2014. This should not come as a surprise to any IT pro, because cloud computing is currently one of the hottest areas in the industry.

Silicon Angle compiled a comprehensive list of cloud stats published by the likes of Gartner, Cisco and Forbes.  According to this list end-user spending on cloud services could exceed £100 billion by 2015. The list also shows that 82% of companies reported savings by moving to the cloud and more than 60% of businesses use the cloud for performing IT-related operations.

There are more and more certifications available in the field of cloud computing, thus it’s hard to name the undisputed champ of cloud certs.

CompTIA’s Cloud Essentials is a great cert to start with because it teaches you the fundamental concepts of cloud computing. This certification demonstrates your knowledge of the different cloud types, their impact on IT service management as well as the risks of cloud computing.

If you’re looking to take your cloud competency even further, Cloud+ by CompTIA could be your next step. With the Cloud+ under your belt you’ll have knowledge of virtualisation in the cloud, network management, storage provisioning and other key topics.

Big Data

Big Data has been one of the top IT buzzwords in the last few years and it’s likely to stay that way. Big Data is oftentimes described with the 3V model, i.e. it is high volume, high velocity and high variety. However, there’s a lot more to defining Big Data according to Timo Elliott, who shares seven definitions in his article.

Regardless of which definition you decide to side with, one thing’s certain: Big Data is a big deal. Gartner’s research revealed that the number of companies investing in Big Data tech increased by 6% (from 58 to 64 per cent) since 2012. The findings also indicated that 19% intends to make an investment in the next 12 months, while a further 15% considers investing in the next two years.

To succeed in Big Data you must master the skills and techniques of Apache Hadoop. Cloudera offers the following two Hadoop related certifications:
These certifications prove your knowledge and skills in writing, maintaining, optimising (CCDH) as well as configuring, deploying, maintaining and securing (CCAH) an Apache Hadoop cluster. 

Software-Defined Networking (SDN)

Software-Defined Networking (SDN) is a relatively new concept in the designing, building and management of networks. In SDN the network’s control and forwarding planes are separated in order to allow easier optimisation for each.

Due to SDN’s relatively recent inception, there is a lack of available training; however the Cisco Learning Network (CLN) is working on the solution. CLN believes that SDN can be defined and referred to as programmability. Therefore, training must augment the understanding of networking with programming skills.

The Cisco Learning Network provides a detailed breakdown of how traditional IT roles will evolve following the SDN paradigm-shift. Although the complete certification for Network Programmability is not yet available, CLN offers a six-module introductory course on their website. 

About the Author:       
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry.