Friday, 8 January 2016

Top 10 Cloud Certifications to target in 2016

 By Sarah Morgan


The mass adoption of cloud technologies continues to accelerate at an ever increasing rate. The past 12 months has seen an explosion in the XaaS market as leading cloud platforms - Microsoft Azure and Amazon AWS - diversify their product portfolio to meet consumer demand.

This transition to cloud has created huge demand for IT Pros with the skills to make the most of these new technologies and services. At present, WANTED Analytics estimate the UK's cloud employment market at 446,000. Where demand for skills appears, training and certification follow suit. The end result, 2015 has seen the launch of many new cloud certifications from all the major players including Microsoft, Cisco and CompTIA.

So if you're looking to enter the industry, or adapt your skills alongside your companies cloud adoption, we've compiled a list of the top 10 Cloud Certifications to target in 2016. They cover the in-demand skills across development, security, virtualisation and beyond. In no particular order, they are:



1. (ISC)2 Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP)


One of the major concerns for businesses when migrating to the cloud is the potential security risks to their key data. This means there is new demand for cloud security skills, as businesses look to make the transition as safe and smooth as possible.

(ISC)2’s CCSP certification gives you these skills. It covers how to protect your data in areas like cloud infrastructure security, architectural concepts and design requirements. The CCSP is modern and outward-facing, meaning it includes all the latest cloud security trends and topics. This top-level cloud security certification will give you all the skills you need to manage the security of your chosen cloud platform in 2016.


Image courtesy of www.perspecsys.com / flickr.com / Perspecsys Photos

2. CompTIA Cloud Essentials


If 2016 is the year you’re looking to specialise in cloud technology, CompTIA’s Cloud Essentials is a great way to get started and learn the fundamentals of all its capacities. 

It’s a platform neutral qualification, meaning what you’ll learn will be highly transferable. This will include the basics of the cloud in a business environment and the value it can have. Plus, the technical aspects of cloud types, and the basics behind a successful adoption of cloud technology. 

3. Microsoft MCSE: Private Cloud


Microsoft’s MCSE: Private Cloud certification will teach you the skills to create and manage a private cloud using Windows Server 2012 and System Center 2012 R2. You must already be certified in either MCSA: Windows Server 2012 or 2008. 

You’ll develop critical skills like how to configure a private cloud environment, how to optimise your cloud infrastructure and maintaining your cloud infrastructure, as well as everything else in between. 


4. Microsoft MCSA: Windows Server 2012


Microsoft’s current offering of their omnipresent Windows Server certification prepares you to manage Windows Server 2012, regardless of whether the server is on premise or a virtual instance in a public or private cloud.  

The MCSA: Windows Server 2012 will give you the skills you need to develop and manage Windows Server 2012. You’ll cover topics like, managing active directory services, implementing advanced network services and implementing group policy. 



5. Microsoft MCSA: Linux on Azure


The highly anticipated MCSA: Linux on Azure certification arrived at the end of 2015 and is unique in giving Linux specialists the ability to operate on Azure, taking their skills into the cloud. With more than 25% of Microsoft’s 1 million Azure servers running on Linux, the credential will be highly sought after in 2016.

You’ll learn to deploy, configure host and manage Linux websites on Azure, taking advantage of Azure’s key features like Windows PowerShell and Xplat-CLI. You’ll also learn to implement Azure Active Directory, virtual machines and virtual networks, all incorporating Linux.


6. Amazon Web Services (AWS) Certified Solutions Architect


Split into the AWS's Certified Solutions Architect – Associate and AWS's Certified Solutions Architect – Professional, this is the best path of certifications to get you the skills you need to operate on an Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud platform. Amazon Web Services has established itself as an industry leader in cloud technology.

Get started with AWS in 2016 with the Associate certification, cover the fundamentals in designing efficient applications as well as deployment, security and troubleshooting.

Refine your AWS skills with the Professional certification and make your AWS operations more efficient for your business. You’ll learn about costing, scalability, cloud migration and managing complex, large scale cloud operations.


7. CompTIA Cloud+


The Cloud+ is another platform neutral certification from CompTIA that can set you apart by giving you skills useful in many different cloud environments. Whilst you couldn’t call it an introductory level certification, as it is recommended that you have 2 years IT industry experience, it does introduce you to the cloud industry.

You do not need to have any previous cloud certifications behind you to sit the CompTIA Cloud+. It covers cloud concepts and models, virtualisation, network management, security and business continuity. With this wide variety of topics, you get a well-rounded set of cloud skills, meaning it’s a great way to get started with a career in cloud technology in 2016.


Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net/Sira Anamwong

8. VMware® vSphere: Fast Track [V6]


With VMware’s vSphere 6, you can convert underutilised physical servers into virtual servers that offer high availability, flexibility, reduced consumption and increased speed and efficiency. The VMware® vSphere: Fast Track [V6] certification gives you all the skills you need to manage a vSphere setup in your business.

It is recommended that you have at least 6 month’s experience of working with vSphere 6, as the curriculum is comprehensive and penetrative in its coverage of the vSphere’s areas. These include the creation of virtual machines and virtual networks, vCenter Server, managing virtual storage and installing vSphere components. This makes it much easier for you to link vSphere with your chosen cloud platform.


9. Microsoft MCSD: Azure Solutions Architect


Microsoft’s MCSD: Azure Solutions Architect course helps you develop the skills to migrate your existing servers to Azure. It’ll also give you the skills to design websites and other types of infrastructure in Microsoft Azure and to take full advantage of all Azure’s capabilities. 

It’ll introduce you to the capacities of Azure and then explain its full potential in topics like, hosting web applications, storing SQL data, designing cloud applications and implementing automation. These skills will be well-rounded, helping you get ahead with Azure in 2016.


10. Cisco CCNA Cloud


Cisco’s CCNA Cloud is brilliant at introducing you to networking, combined with specialisations in cloud technology. There are no strict prerequisites, although it is recommended you have at least a year’s experience working in a data centre or cloud network environment.

With a focus on preparing you for on-the-job situations, the certification covers Cisco Cloud fundamentals helping you to fully understand its structure and essentials. Plus, you’ll be able to perform invaluable administration and maintenance tasks. This includes management of software applications like Cisco UCS Director, Cisco Prime Service Catalog and Virtual Application Container Services. 

 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.