Credentials that matter: How an IBM Cloud Certification gives you an edge in your Career!

TL,DR;

We will see how you can leverage cloud based technologies for competitive advantage as Cloud certifications aids you to validate your expertise, highlighting in-demand skills and prepares you to meet the requirements of various cloud based job description. This delegates organizations to build innovative team of skilled professionals for cloud initiatives using IBM Cloud and thereby support the future workforce to grow!

We live in an epoch of ubiquitous cloud computing that delivers computing services including servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, and intelligence over the internet, offering agility, lower cost, and, better access to resources on a global scale. You always pay only for the cloud services availed, helping lower operation costs, efficient orchestration of infrastructure, and scale as your business needs advances. The job market is demanding skilled individuals qualified for cloud-based roles. In such a scenario, Cloud certifications can help you benchmark your Cloud-based skill sets and technical knowledge.

A brief history of cloud

The term Cloud Computing was originally coined in 1996 within a Compaq internal document which initially linked to the concept of distributed computing, and went mainstream when General Magic adopted it in the early 1990s. At first, a non-local storage technology based on a military mainframe that was developed around the 1950s to connect computer terminals across an internal grid advanced quickly and formed the starting point of the cloud as we see it today.

However, the concept of Cloud Computing was initially discussed in the 1960s by J.C.R. Licklider, the director of the Pentagon’s ARPA division. Licklider’s idea went on to revolutionize computing when, in 1969, Bob Taylor and Larry Roberts developed ARPANET which eventually matured into what we call the internet today. The decades following the 1970s saw the development of various Virtual Machines like those created by tech giants like IBM followed suit and started to offer Virtual Private Networks to the marketplace. In 1971, Intel developed the first microprocessor and the first email was sent. In 1976, Xerox introduced the concept of Ethernet, and in1991, WWW was released for general use on the internet. In 1998, the most popular search engine Google was introduced and the following year Salesforce became the first to launch cloud computing for businesses. Following this different vendors like AWS, Microsoft Azure, IBM Cloud, GCP came into the business.

How was life back then?

Traditional servers were the entities on top of which the world of the internet was built around in the good old days. These were whole units, requiring racking and stacking of physical boxes that included the hardware, storage, operating system, and applications. Servers were categorized based on their function, i.e. file server, exchange server, SQL server, etc. When the file server inundates, the exchange server gets overloaded, forcing the admin to manually spawn a new server. This affected the integrity and reliability of a service when a hardware failure occurs, and there are no more backup servers available for swapping, the service goes down. To make the service fault-tolerant an alternative would be to implement clusters of servers that work for most of the time, though other roadblocks such as limited scalability and sparse application support appear ahead. Concerns and rising issues on server maintenance eventually ended up in a fairly new concept of Virtual servers.

Virtual servers helped to decouple server software from hardware, including hypervisor OS, applications, and the storage, eventually, servers ending up as mere files stored on physical devices. Like traditional servers, different virtual servers handle different roles, like email server, database server, storage server, etc. A single host had the capacity to house multiple virtual servers and a virtual server can be serviced by one or more hosts. These servers had advantages over the former, like, they can be easily created from existing templates, full control over the resources allocated which can easily be tweaked, they are unaffected by the host deprivation, hosts can be substituted for maintenance purposes, supports migrations, and above all, they offer ease of scaling runs multiple workloads simultaneously.

Mass migration to the cloud was initially favored by the inception of virtualization that offered ease of migration which was then followed by the introduction of Container technology. Containers are designed to provide a much lighter-weight compute environment on which to run the parts of an application. They are much faster to startup than a virtual machine, don’t require a full-blown operating system or its maintenance, and provide portability across platforms. On top of this later came technologies such as Docker, Kubernetes, and OpenShift all of them combined to form the distributed architecture of the cloud as we see today.

Half a century ago, John McCarthy said, “computation may someday be organized as a public utility”. With the buzzword Cloud computing, this is now reflected in reality today adding more momentum to the tech evolution.

Enter the era of Cloud computing foreseen by McCarthy…

Cloud Computing

The evolving paradigm of computing that couples virtualization with distributed computing is simply a shared pool of computing resources and services that can be provisioned, tuned, and scaled based on user demands and varying requirements. It’s a domain where vendors provide on-demand computing services like storage, computation, security, networking, applications, analytics, databases, artificial intelligence, etc. on a metered usage basis. This multifaceted industry has tremendously affected how hardware and software are delivered as services and is getting adopted rapidly over the past couple of years. Unlike the traditional way of interconnected servers, in cloud computing, the Cloud appears as a single entity that makes the communication of interconnected devices and services possible, ranging from Virtual Machines and Data storage devices to IoTs, Virtual reality, Augmented reality, Machine learning models, Big data analytics, and much more. It comes in varying flavors such as SaaS (Software as a Service), PaaS (Platform as a Service), IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), and counting… The reason why this emerging field is gaining attention is that it is fast, secure, reliable, and above all, it is available at affordable costs. With Cloud computing, you can spin up an instance of service with few simple steps in a couple of minutes.

Cloud-based architecture has its own advantages over traditional platforms. For instance, consider your personal computer itself. How much of your computer’s resources do you actually use while working on a task? It is rare that you use all the resources at their peak all the time. On average you may consume ~<10% of the processor, ~<50% memory, ~30% of the storage, and ~<20% of the network, and it varies depending on tasks. Though you have paid 100% for these resources upfront while purchasing the machine, it is still hard to consume all of them at their maximum efficiency. This applies to your networking costs also. But with cloud infrastructure, it is not the case. You pay only for the resources consumed and not for the infrastructure that is powering behind. The Pay-as-you-go pricing model allows customers to try out and integrate these services into their business and scale them as the demand grows without worrying about the underlying infrastructure, installation, and maintenance costs.

Public, Private, and Hybrid are the service models that are trios of cloud computing. The public cloud offers all the advantages of the virtual network environment for the wider community, while the private cloud is mainly for internal use within an organization even though both share similar architecture; a combination of both worlds is the hybrid cloud. The most popular and dominant among them being the hybrid cloud as organizations are adopting both strategies almost evenly.

Cloud computing has become an integral part of modern business. Companies use cloud computing solutions for a variety of business needs. This surging list includes web and application hosting, big data storage and analytics, backup and disaster recovery, state-of-the-art projects in surfacing fields like AI, AR/VR, IoTs, and more. The goal of swapping to the cloud generally includes plans to reduce costs, increased efficiency, reduced latency, balanced scaling, consolidate billing, disaster recovery, server accessibility, and above all improved security. Despite all these benefits, industries, and emerging enterprises, in particular, remain dubious about implementing cloud-based solutions. Promoting transparent information exchange between cloud service providers and cloud users is crucial to accomplish broad diffusion of cloud computing in the market. Certification of cloud services by independent institutions can cope with the challenging lack of transparency, trust, and acceptance.

Here I’ve designed infographics presenting some cloud stats,

data: handpicked from various sources around the internet

Cloud Certifications

Cloud certifications validate your expertise and showcase your ability to transform businesses with Cloud technology. This can help clearly define who is qualified to support an organization’s cloud computing needs, ensuring that cloud team members are trained to work with the cloud in a more elegant and systematic manner. Organizations are investing heavily in upskilling their workforce along with that individuals are stepping out on their own to build cloud skills and pioneer a new path for their career. Cloud certifications act as career pivots helping individuals succeed at building cloud skills that propel careers and business transformation. Learners pursue external validation of skills through industry certification, which is both a motivator and a means of recognition.

If you’ve been working around as an engineer in the cloud for a while it is possible that you have come across only a narrow domain of cloud services, when you look at your colleagues, you may find that they are handling things that you don’t comprehend. IBM Cloud certifications give you a broad base of foundational knowledge that attempts to remove the imbalance between senior and entry-level engineers by giving you the expertise across all the cloud’s major topic areas so you can feel confident that you haven’t missed anything. Though hiring managers don’t necessarily care about certificates, consulting is a sector where the certificates are worth way more than a paper. Individuals certified for cloud-based roles are considered as primary assets by consulting institutions like Deloitte, Capgemini, Accenture, etc.. as they can showcase the pool of talents before their clients and earn more leads. Sometimes recruiters filter the applicants based on their certifications mainly in cases where a degree awarded by a recognized institution is missing, if a cloud certification can be provided, signals the recruiter about the candidate’s ability to learn and adapt to changes.

80% of professionals say a higher salary is a direct result of IBM cloud certification.

✔ Stats prove the future potential

In 2010, it was just a $25 billion business, but by 2020 it has already surpassed $200 billion and is estimated to triple by 2023, and quintuple by 2025 and the growth seems exponential. Almost 90% of all businesses today, one way or the other, have already migrated to the cloud. Surprisingly, a person uses at least 36 cloud-based services on average every single day. Cloud-based applications are sprouting out swiftly and their number has nearly quintupled over the last decade.

✔ Keeps your resume unique

A cloud certification will confirm that you have in-depth knowledge of core cloud computing concepts and have hands-on experience in related domains that conforms to industry standards and best practices. With a cloud computing certificate from a recognized provider, you can confidently get placed in jobs offering lucrative income.

✔ Secure your future

Over the past couple of years, we have witnessed a major paradigm shift in how the tech revolution has paved way for new enterprises and startups to pop out quickly and has replaced many jobs, in tandem offering new roles evince the fact that cloud is the future. It is always better to invest your time and effort in a market that is doing well and is expected to deliver higher returns. Cloud Computing is one such market where the numbers are bright, and the vacancies are expected to hike. The number of vacancies are exploding and have surpassed the count of skilled professional available to handle such roles such that anyone qualified enough has an advantage over others.

✔ Land on highest paid jobs

A cloud certification with specialization will help you to secure that high-paying jobs. On average individuals with a Cloud certification will accrue an amount of $145,000 USD, and it reaches as high as $195,000 USD per year as the experience level increases. This is one of the biggest reasons people take up Cloud Computing as a career option.

Demonstrates your commitment

Clearing a cloud certification proves that you are capable of learning the skills of the future and you can keep up with the changes happening in the tech industry. This relates to your commitment to work and can help you to get promoted to senior roles without much hassle and take your career to the next level. A lot of companies provide extra incentives to their employees when they acquire a preferred certification.

72% strongly believe that IBM cloud certifications expanded their career opportunities.

How individuals benefit from IBM Cloud certifications

Wonder how an IBM cloud certification can help to land that dream job, here is how you can benefit from being an IBM certified cloud professional,

  • Distinguish yourself from the crowd as the certificate acts as a badge on your resume.
  • Showcase your talents and achievements on publicly accessible platforms and social profiles.
  • Ratifies your skills and legitimize your knowledge in cloud computing solutions.
  • Globally recognized, tailored, and well-crafted certifying methods expand your reach to a broad spectrum of opportunities.
  • This acts as a way for you to demonstrate your dedication to your career path.
  • Get consistently listed among the top-paying info-tech companies worldwide.
  • Network and exchange ideas with like-minded peers in the cloud-certified community, cloud masters, and managers.
  • Participate in more interviews for aspiring cloud specialists, and get qualified for high-paid jobs.
  • Periodic recertifications allow you to brush up and upgrade your skills as the cloud tech industry evolves.

90% of IBM Cloud-certified professionals firmly believe that the cloud certification strongly enhanced their portfolio.

How businesses benefit from IBM Cloud certifications

If you are a business owner currently in the cloud domain or planning to migrate, here are a few ways in which your business can benefit from having IBM Cloud-certified professionals.

  • Give you access to best practices across your business, as standards exist for all related subdomain which is recognized worldwide, and thereby you can be confident that your business is implementing everything in the right manner.
  • A team of certified professionals working for you can increase your credibility with customers and your business will get access to new international markets.
  • Certified professionals can help to grow your business, as protocols they have learned through the cloud certification course helps them to clearly define, document, and monitor the business processes.
  • Increases your customer satisfaction and trust in business, thereby increasing your leads and reach of your business.
  • The best performance results happen in companies that make a sustained effort to improve operations with qualified professionals, eventually resulting in increased revenues.

Here I’ve designed infographics presenting some cloud certification facts,

data: handpicked from various sources around the internet

Tiers of Certifications

IBM cloud certifications come in various levels based on the increasing degree of expertise.

If you’re new to IBM Cloud you can get started with foundational, which is non-technical, or if you already have some fundamental knowledge and want to have some technical knowledge of the platform you can choose associate certifications. If you have some intermediate knowledge you can directly go for professional, or even advanced certifications. If you are planning to target a specific role, then specialty certifications are the way to go. If you feel like you’re not ready for advanced courses and want to have some transitional knowledge, IBM Cloud offers a lot of intermediate courses which can lay the foundation of different sub-domains of IBM Cloud and Cloud-based technologies in general.

Here is a list of popular certifications offered by IBM Cloud:

Objectives of IBM Cloud certifications

Follow are the main objectives of IBM Cloud certifications.

  • Design effective cloud solutions based on IBM Cloud architectural best practices.
  • Get going with discrete application development stages and formulate appropriate resolutions.
  • Get familiar with different tools and services offered by the IBM Cloud platform.
  • Get hands-on experience in building, deploying, and managing applications on different platforms.
  • Performing periodic health checks and application maintenance.
  • Get expertise on different cloud automation software.
  • Identify the compliance and security benefits of using the IBM Cloud.
  • Familiarize and understand the access control and management system by IBM Cloud.
  • Get the knowledge about how to audit IBM Cloud environments regularly.
  • Learn best practices for securing all types of sensitive information using advanced data encryption methods.
  • Get knowledge about the important steps for managing resources on IBM Cloud.
  • Learn about best policies to protect overall network security.
  • Get in-depth knowledge of IBM Cloud assurance programs.

Which certifications should I get?

The answer depends on a variety of factors, ranging from your background and the experience in the sector you’re currently working (or planning to work), to, your long-term goals and future career prospects. If you’re just starting you can pick fundamentals/foundational course or associate certification. If you already have some basic knowledge you can go for either role-based certifications, specialty, or even advanced certifications. Cloud certifications can be broadly classified into two categories — vendor-specific and vendor-neutral. Vendor-neutral certifications demonstrate that you have foundational knowledge to work with any platform. If your organization is planning to implement its cloud solutions on a particular platform, or if you’re targeting a particular role, then a vendor-specific certification would be the best choice. That’s where IBM Cloud certifications come into play as it offers a wide array of certifications courses allowing you to handle both vendor-specific and vendor-neutral roles. It is always good to have a versatile set of cloud skills as the future trend of Cloud technology is more promising. So, even if you already have some certifications there is no restriction to the number of certifications you can have.

IBM certifications demonstrate your expertise to employers and colleagues. The course curriculum is designed such that you will get access to a minimum of 50+ hours of reading and interactive course content per course including interactive practice exercises and hands-on labs in a virtual lab environment. If you’re looking to fortify your cloud expertise, there are several certifications to consider. Here are I have compiled some of the popular certifications offered by IBM Cloud that would make a worthwhile contribution to your career:

➦ IBM Certified Solution Advisor

This is someone who will engage with clients that are looking to select and design a solution that is based on IBM Cloud. The Solution Advisor can come from a sales professional, architect, consultant, or developer background. They will have an appreciation for the responsibilities of each of these roles and know when to involve them to deliver a successful outcome for their client. They can also demonstrate how the leading industry, Open, and IBM solution offerings can help customers realize these benefits.

➦ IBM Certified Professional Developer

With this certification, you will understand concepts essential to the development and operations of secure Cloud applications. You will get experience in creating and maintaining applications on IBM Cloud. You will understand how to build applications by deploying their code on Cloud platforms and extending them through managed services.

➦ IBM Certified Solution Architect

This is a person who can design, plan and architect a Cloud Solution on IBM Cloud. This individual can perform these tasks with little to no assistance from product documentation, support, or peers.

➦ IBM Cloud Architect

This certification help build the skills and knowledge required to work as a Cloud Architect, using IBM Cloud. You’ll learn to design secure, cloud-native microservices architectures and phased approaches to migrating monolithic applications to IBM Cloud.

➦ IBM Cloud Developer

With this course, you should be able to perform cloud development and operations (DevOps) functions using IBM Cloud services and APIs, which include Artificial Intelligence, cloud databases, and cloud security. Explore the learning plan and the learning assets included to help prepare for your professional-level certification.

➦ IBM Cloud Developer

The IBM Cloud Satellite Specialty interactive learning path is an extension to professional-level, role-based IBM Cloud learning paths. You will learn about the business drivers, differentiators, and components of IBM Cloud Satellite, customer infrastructure requirements, and IBM Cloud Satellite security. Modules discuss how to configure, deploy, monitor, and debug IBM Cloud Satellite solutions.

␥ Getting Started

You can try out different strategies and find the best one that works for you to complete an IBM Cloud certification course successfully. If you’re looking for a more organized and standard way of proceeding with a certification course, then the following steps which are more straightforward can help you out with that.

Step 1

Do some background research and choose the certification course you like to proceed with from the catalog of courses offered by IBM Cloud that best fits your needs.

Step 2

Find the best period that is appropriate for you to get started with and get enrolled for the selected course. You must schedule your time accordingly such that you have enough time to focus on the course modules each day.

Step 3

Proceed progressively with each modules. Don’t jump back and forth in between modules. Review all the available study materials and exam guides related to selected current module you are learning.

Step 4

Daily practice of core practical modules can give you hands on experience on different topics covered. Completing a practice test can help you to assess you progress each day.

Step 5

Schedule the final round of IBM Cloud certification exam once you feel you are ready for it. On average it will take only ~<150 hours of practice and studies to get prepared for the final exam and it varies based on your prior experience and course you have selected.

How you can develop further?

After receiving a cloud certification from IBM Cloud you can get an advantage over candidates who have experience through enhancing your profile further by doing the following:

1. Build a Profile

Building a strong profile with all your qualifications can help you get more jobs faster. This can help you network with professionals already handling roles and keeps you notified of all the updates happening in the job markets. You can start one on LinkedIn, AngelList, or Hired.

2. Build a Portfolio

If you are a developer you might already have a portfolio, or if you don’t have one, no worries, you can create one easily. Present the works you have covered during your training period, personal projects, contributions as well as products that you have developed for your direct clients on the portfolio in a creative manner. This easily catches the attention of your recruiter.

3. Get references and recommendations

References and recommendations from reputed institutions or authorities can strongly influence your career. Compile a list of former or current supervisors, mentors, and colleagues, who can vouch for your knowledge, character, work ethic, and drive.

4. Network with kindred spirits

The ability to communicate without any hassle and networking with peers in the community is essential these days as this can enrich your experience and expand your consciousness. This also helps you grab a sense of what potential jobs might be like.

5. Contribute to Projects

Contributing to open-source projects can build your GitHub profile. This indicates you are strongly committed to work. It proves your hands-on experience and communicates with prospective employers that you take initiative and care about your community.

6. Temporary roles

Offer free service to a non-profit organization seeking extra help and this helps you to build your portfolio further giving a sense to the interviewer that you are not money-minded and you work for the growth of an organization that you’re in. This helps you to gain unmediated experience in a professional environment and give your more references.

7. Play around with new technologies

Cloud is constantly evolving and more and more services are getting added to the collection every year. You must learn to quickly adapt to these changes by playing around with all those coming up technologies. Technologies that are currently in state-of-art mode may become mainstream tomorrow.

⬌ Never stop learning

FINALLY, you should continue learning and acquire skills that are directly or indirectly related to the cloud computing paradigm.

Conclusion

Cloud has become the new normal. This piece of technology has a promising future as its growth is evident from recent trends. Top companies that are already on the cloud are seeking qualified individuals for handling professional roles. Most of those organizations tells that it has been very difficult for them to hunt for certified cloud computing professionals, suggesting that cloud-based jobs are in demand now. A cloud certification can make a huge difference in a cloud professional’s career. They can make resumes stand out during the hiring process and resulting in larger paydays.

There are always things you can learn only by doing or handling a role, and therefore experience often speaks louder than certifications. Having an IBM Cloud certification gives you an operational and competitive advantage over applicants applying for similar roles. Any certification offered by IBM Cloud strengthens your resume and verifies you have a minimum level of knowledge.

Cheers 🥂

Happy Learning!

Attributions

Illustrations: Handdrawn | Freepik | unDraw

Icons: Flaticons

Infographics: Custom made with Vecteezy

Images: Pexels

Footages: Pexels | Pixabay

Music: Youtube

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