Take the Leap - Grow Your Skills with the CCNP Cloud CertificationThe Certs and Labs team last wrote about “The Evolution of Cloud Computing” in November 2015. At that time, we had launched our new CCNA Cloud certification in June of that year and also offered a Cloud specialist certification. The Cloud certification portfolio continues to grow as we now offer the CCNP Cloud certification as well. The growth rate of Cloud certifications is a direct reflection of what we are seeing in the industry today as Cloud technology and its vast amount of possibilities continues to expand. So, why is it important to be a part of the movement? How can you take advantage of the growth of the Cloud industry? What type of background do you need to get started? These are just a few questions we will address in addition to providing resources that can help you earn your Cloud certification.

 

How Cloud is Growing in the Industry

The Cloud offers enterprise customers many benefits. It is very common for an enterprise to adopt cloud-based services to increase their network infrastructure’s agility, provide on-demand services and rapid deployment for computing resources as well as be able to reduce physical infrastructure budgets. The virtual service provided and automation through a company’s Cloud-based provider enables them to have full network functionality in conjunction with or in lieu of their physical data center or network infrastructure. There are almost endless possibilities of how the Cloud can be configured and leveraged within a network. Use in the public sector also continues to grow significantly as more people utilize the Cloud for unlimited virtual storage. Unfortunately, there is an industry skill gap as the rate of cloud deployment outpaces the availability of skilled cloud engineers and an even smaller availability of certified Cloud engineers.

 

How Can You Take Advantage of the Shift in the Industry?

Although “the Cloud” has been around for a few years, its uses have steadily grown, and developers are always finding new ways to leverage Cloud technology for new applications. The Cloud touches and utilizes a multitude of technologies. These can fall under virtualization, security, design, infrastructure, automation – coding, scripting – and so much more. As per Cloud Exam Program Manager Deneb Dollinger, one of the trends we are facing is that there are many (potential) certification candidates who are intimidated about moving into this emerging field. Some engineers want to continue on a path that focuses on mature technologies such as security or networking. However, these same candidates would benefit from developing these skills within the Cloud portfolio. Cloud developers, Cloud security, network planning and many more job roles need and require candidates who possess backgrounds in infrastructure, networking, security, virtualization or any of the other technologies that would help continue to evolve this emerging technology. Many candidates’ existing skills are directly transferrable, especially those with a Data Center or Routing & Switching background, and can be used as a foundation to get certified and become a subject matter expert in Cloud technology.

 

Next Steps

As mentioned before, as cloud technology grows, so does the need for qualified engineers to get Cisco certified and become leaders in the field. This is the prime time to pursue your Cloud certification. The CCNP certification goes beyond the fundamentals, but because it is so new, it is highly recommended that, regardless of your background, earning the CCNA Cloud should be your first goal. This certification consists of the CCNA Cloud Fundamentals (CLDFND) and CCNA Cloud Administration (CLDADM) exams. Getting proper training and learning these fundamentals provides a solid beginning on your certification journey. Following up with your CCNP can then give you room to grow into the specific areas of Cloud like security or other technologies as it doing similarly in other multi-disciplined technologies such as the IOT field.

 

We are always looking for qualified Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to assist with continued exam development, so if you have solid experience in the field, we encourage you to get certified in CCNA and/or CCNP Cloud. The Cloud landscape is constantly changing and evolving, and some products that were utilized just two years ago are no longer supported. Keeping up with the pace of evolution requires engineers with on-the-job experience who can provide real life examples of what an Associate or Professional level engineer will experience in the field and which technologies they need to have a solid grasp on. That’s why we invite those with experience to register to become a SME for Cloud exam development. We want all of our exams to test current knowledge, skills, and abilities and stay ahead of developing industry trends.

If you are ready to take the next step, review the information on the Cisco Learning Network, join the discussions, and/or register to become a SME. There is ample reference material available like we mentioned in the previous Cloud Computing blog, and below are a few examples to get you started:

 

 

An excellent book from Cisco Press that covers a range of the Cloud Exam Topics’ objectives:

 

See also the following video:

 

And below is the source of many standard cloud computing definitions:

 

These are just some of the many available resources out there. So what are you waiting for? Start studying to earn your Cisco Cloud certification, and join us in closing the skill gap for this exciting and evolving technology.