From Horizon to Horizon
Certification Magazine|October 2020
No matter where you look, cloud technology is blanketing the IT industry
CODY CLARK

It’s generally accepted that American novelist and humorist Samuel Clemens made a famous comment about the weather in New England. To wit, Clemens remarked that anyone finding the current presence (or absence) of rain or snow, of a cooling breeze or muggy heat, not to their liking should simply wait briefly and it would change.

Clouds, as we conceive of them in information technology (IT) terms, do not more or less directly determine weather the way that atmospheric clouds do — but there is a sense in which Clemens’ observation could be applied to them: Cloud technology is expanding so rapidly, and being put to such a variety of uses, that if it’s not available to affect something that interests you, well, just wait a few minutes.

The rate of change and growth in cloud computing has certainly been dizzying. Cloud computing as most people think of it — which probably lags a few iterations behind how many businesses already use it — has been with us for about 10 years. Amazon Web Services (AWS) had barely crested the horizon by the end of 2006, and Microsoft’s competing Azure service didn’t show up until 2010.

The paradigm is already shifting, however, from the mental image many people have of cavernous server rooms remotely managing everything from data storage to business software distribution. Experts predict that distributed cloud computing, which involves cloud service providers scattering their computing load to far-flung “micro data centers” geographically closer to customers, will become both figuratively and literally widespread by 2023.

Tech Roots

What area of IT were you most heavily involved in prior to pursuing cloud computing?

Information Security — 32 percent

Systems Administration — 24 percent

Software Development — 8 percent

Virtualization — 8 percent

Data Storage or Management — 5 percent

Programming — 4 percent

Systems Maintenance — 3 percent

All Others — 16 percent

Why Certify?

People get certified for a variety of reasons. Two of the most common are to gain knowledge (education) or to improve compensation (salary). There are other rationales, however, for earning and maintaining a certification. We asked survey respondents to choose two that have been most influential in guiding their certification decision making.

1) Gain qualifications for a future job — 67.7 percent

2) Gain greater confidence in my own skills — 55.2 percent

3) Improve or confirm my qualifications for my current job — 43.8 percent

4) Gain prestige and recognition among colleagues — 31.3 percent

5) Become eligible for positions of greater responsibility with my current employer — 27.1 percent

6) Gain advanced access to technical data — 22.9 percent

7) Enjoy belonging to a community of certified professionals — 21.9 percent

8) My employer requires this certification — 10.4 percent

9) Enjoy receiving increased support from IT vendors — 4.2 percent

The All Things to All People malleability of cloud technology means that we’re probably only scratching the surface of what “the cloud” can be and do, and certainly still on the rising slope of an employment curve that could eventually encompass nearly all IT disciplines. There are already cloud certs specific to networking, security, data storage, Linux, and more.

If you don’t have a cloud certification already, then there’s probably never been a better time to get one. And if no one is offering a cloud credential that aligns well with the career path that you’re already following, well, Sam Clemens might have some advice to offer about that.

Storms ahead

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