Home Unlocking Cloud Certification – Key Credential for Tech Job Search

Unlocking Cloud Certification – Key Credential for Tech Job Search

In the wake of COVID-19’s economic impact, many people find themselves searching for new work. A bright spot in the job-hunting process is the consistent growth of the cloud computing industry. Here is the key credential for a tech job search.

Unlocking Cloud Certification – Key Credential for Tech Job Search

The cloud computing industry offers opportunities for those with direct cloud skills, and increasingly, for those in non-IT roles.  Non-IT roles include skills in sales or marketing, where understanding the cloud is an emerging asset.

In fact, according to LinkedIn, cloud computing remains a top hard skill companies need most, and analysts at Forrester predict the industry will return to hypergrowth in 2021, opening up even more opportunities.

Various digital and virtual training options are available for individuals interested in upskilling or reskilling for the cloud.

These courses—and dedicated study—can be the launch pad to pursue industry certification credentials. An upgraded credential can help a job candidate stand out amongst other applicants or pursue an internal promotion.

Attaining a cloud industry certification can not only increase chances of securing employment, but research shows certifications pave the way to higher salaries and provide a competitive advantage.

It’s not just the certified individual who benefits; 93 percent of organization decision-makers agree that certified team members add value that goes beyond the cost of the certification (Global Knowledge).

Complete an Industry Certification

If you’re pursuing cloud training with the goal of completing an industry certification, below are five tips to help increase your success in achieving the certification. These tips are based on my decade-plus experience working in the cloud, and developing learning solutions for organizations, partners, and learners.

Tip #1: Plan goals and map them to specific certifications

Before diving into taking online courses or reading technical whitepapers, visualize your goals and what you want success to look like. Then, work backward to understand the necessary steps to reach your goals.

Think about your personal interest in computing and align it to in-demand cloud roles. From there, you can identify the appropriate industry certification that will help validate your skills and allow you to stand out when applying for roles.

For example:

  • Interest: building cloud applications and architectures
  • In-demand cloud role: cloud designer or cloud architect
  • Relevant certification: AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate

Tip #2: Leverage self-paced study materials

Now that you have your goal and certification identified, travel no farther than your computer to access training materials, on-demand and live lessons, and practice tests.

Digital training allows learners to develop skills and knowledge for any cloud domain. You’ll become proficient at machine learning, networking, security, and more. You can gain this knowledge with short, self-paced, and often free, courses from various learning and cloud vendors.

Your prescribed study and learning path

Many training providers offer recommended learning paths that align to the various role – or domain-based industry certifications. Taking the correct path will ensure your study efforts line up with the desired finish line.

You can also look for an official exam guide, which offers detailed and prescriptive guidance about the areas the exam will cover to help you prioritize your study. Research which training provider and training program best prepare you to pass the industry certification.

Tip #3: Find community

You’re not in this alone! In addition to online study resources, there are also myriad communities online where you can connect with individuals who are also gearing up for a certification exam—whether their first or their fifth.

Insider knowledge

These groups can give you insider knowledge about the most important aspects of studying, helpful resources to make the most of your study time. You’ll learn what the testing experience is really like and how to market your industry certification once achieved.

Great places to find community online include LinkedIn Groups and industry-certification-specific Subreddits.

You could also attend a User Group Meetup—or even present at one of the groups.

Tip #4: Establish consistent study habits 

The amount of time needed for coursework and hands-on experience will vary depending on the certification.

A good rule of thumb is to allow yourself 15-20 hours to study and prepare for foundational level exams, and 5x that amount for an associate-level exam.

For a professional or specialty level exam, plan for 5x more time than you prepared for an associate-level.

Achieving success on exam day directly correlates with not only the hours set aside for study — but also the approach you use

Recommended study tips include:

  • Set dedicated time blocks to study. Treat study time like a business meeting that is mandated by a boss—non-negotiable.
  • Find a place that promotes motivation to study and eliminate distractions.
  • Study at the “right” time. Night owls might try a few units when the rest of the house is asleep.
  • Involve others when appropriate. Some courses benefit from social interaction beyond the virtual classroom, and some may find the content resonates more when discussed or practiced with friends or family.
  • Take practice certification exams to increase confidence in the knowledge you’ve retained, and the test-taking process. Generally, practice exams can be repeated as many times as needed to help a learner feel confident in the format of the test and the information that’s covered.

Tip #5: Get “hands-on” experience before test day

Take studying a step further by getting practical, hands-on experience with the technology. Depending on the certification, hands-on experience not only increases the chance for success, but it’s imperative for maintaining your deeper knowledge.

Always do your labs.

Sign up for lab-style training (perhaps offered virtually at the moment, with a live instructor) to familiarize yourself with the technology in real-world scenarios.

Explore access to a free or low-cost version of labs to further experiment with the technology. There are also self-paced tutorials that help you learn to build step-by-step.

Finally, consider identifying a friend or professional mentor who works with the technology and asks how they use it day-to-day. Take the opportunity to understand the individual pros and cons, and ask for advice about success with training and certification.

Reaching your goals

Cloud training and certification programs present a unique opportunity for currently employed individuals and job seekers alike.

Update yourself and your skills

You will want to update yourself by gaining new skills and taking advantage of the growing careers in the cloud.

Validating a demonstrable level of cloud skills through industry certification can provide a clear, competitive edge in the job market.

Image Credit: andrea piacquadio; pexels; thank you!

About ReadWrite’s Editorial Process

The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

Scott Barneson is Director of Learning Products for AWS Training and Certification. Scott leads global curriculum development, product management, and AWS Certification programs, helping individuals and organizations acquire and validate in-demand cloud skills.

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