I read a very interesting article by McKinsey last week Six practical actions for building cloud talent One statement about cloud certifications stand out
The most valuable cloud engineers and developers in many established enterprises don’t necessarily have loads of certifications. Instead, they bring extensive experience in IT-infrastructure organizations and have at least five years of experience working in cloud, hands-on development skills, and a habit of lifelong learning.
Considering it’s from McKinsey i.e. a reputed industry source and also based on a survey, its worthy of analysis. To be clear. We are not speaking of master’s degrees or a Ph.D. We are speaking of skills bases certifications from cloud providers.
Are Certificates Still Relevant?
There are two sides to this. On the one hand, there are reasons why certificates may not be so relevant. The software industry has always been meritocratic and ability-based: If you can code for the right skills, you have value. This structure has worked well over the years
Additionally, certificates have prerequisites i.e. you need to do A before you do B, etc., This is a good business model for the providers- but painful for practitioners. It can also be expensive since development skills change fast
Are Operations Skills Critical?
Against this Let’s consider the contra argument. For operations certification has been important – indeed mandatory. Consider DBA certifications or Cisco networking qualifications.
So, the question really is
Are all skills in cloud business critical?
There is one more very important point. Cloud-based certification has been a very good way for people to transform their careers i.e. cloud-based certification is democratic and compared to a master’s or a Ph.D. degree – definitely affordable. It is in this context that I find the statement curious i.e. I can see both sides of the discussion but it’s hard to know if this is a one-off or a part of a wider trend
Indeed as the article reminds us – there is a trillion-dollar bet for cloud talent. As per the article, Cloud has emerged as one of the most important battlegrounds for tech talent. Organizations are struggling to capture those benefits because they don’t have the right talent in place. Organizations lack the culture to motivate and nurture the right talent. For industries with complex technical requirements, such as defense or telecommunications, practitioners need additional specialist skills and knowledge
Companies often spend too much time trying to land engineering stars, which delays getting the actual work done. Build an upskilling program that is extensive, mandatory, and focused on need. Build an engineering culture that optimizes the developer experience. To keep top talent from leaving, focus on what motivates them
To conclude, there is much at stake here and no matter how we see it, cloud skills are in great demand and will continue to do so In the quote, I agree with the lifelong learning bit i.e. no matter how the method of certification (or indeed no certification), lifelong learning is a key skill