How can you get ahead in your information technology IT job, and take advantage of all the career advancement possibilities in cloud computing? Simple -- take a serious look at cloud computing professional certification programs to add key training to your skills, your resume, and CV at a critical point in the development of this technology. While corporate management, executives, and government officials stand by and debate the viability, security, and possibilities of the cloud -- you can be prepared to land a new fascinating job in a rapidly growing field. As boards of directors and executive committees consider the scope of virtualization, remote monitoring, and weigh the debate of private cloud versus public cloud, and CEOs and CFOs scramble to read white papers or executive summaries and understand platforms, software, infrastructure, and analytics as a service - you will be certified that you have the skills to be right in the middle of this global move to utility computing.

Transform Your IT Background to Cloud Computing

Of course you may already have the extensive experience, educational background, and real world accomplishments in information technology, software engineering, and web development and programming to get you the best positions in cloud technology in Silicon Valley, Bangalore, Seattle, Hong Kong, or Hyderabad. But in a rapidly expanding field where some employees simply re-write all of their resume experience to include key cloud computing terms, concepts, and anchors -- if you complete real cloud computing training and earn the certifications now -- you will have valid cloud credentials working in your favor. Combined with your previous performance and successes, you will likely be actively recruited by some of the top tier companies in this burgeoning technology: Amazon, IBM, Google, Microsoft, Apple, Rackspace,, Intel, VMware, Cisco, Hewlett Packard, Dell, and many others. Or perhaps you’d like to get in the ground floor with smaller cloud computing providers, vendors, and companies because of their long term growth possibilities and agility in the new tech environment. Or maybe you would prefer to work in new areas -- bringing the benefits of cloud computing architecture and data center solutions to professionals in a range of other fields -- like health care, education, finance, government, etc.

It's up to you in terms of the direction you can go with your global career. And with rapid change, consolidation, and increasing IT spending in this area, cloud computing may also prove to be -- not only a fun and challenging career move -- but a very lucrative job area for you and your family. Many of the available jobs in the cloud have six-figure starting salaries, competitive benefits packages, and some enticing offers of stock options and other equity compensation.

Professional Certification for Cloud Computing

If you already follow the cloud computing field closely and go to conferences like Cloud Connect, CCGrid, Secure Cloud, Google IO, CloudExpo, IEEE Cloud, the International Conference on Grid Computing Systems, and others -- you know that the industry is scrambling to create training modules and programs to prepare all the necessary workers in this growth field of IT. The Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU Poly, Brooklyn) is one of the first institutions to even offer graduate courses on the subject. Their coursework focuses on IaaS (infrastructure as a service) and PaaS (platform as a service), and uses AWS and the Google App engine. They expect candidates to have prior experience programming Ruby, Java, or Python. 

You will find that Microsoft Corporation has some extensive certifications for cloud computing, virtualization, and hybrid needs built on their well established training models. Their Office 365 and Windows Azure platforms are central components to this training, which is intended for Office 365 Administrators, Cloud Developers, Data Center Operations Managers, or Data Stewards. EMC Corporation has a Cloud Infrastructure and Services course focused on virtualization and ‘infrastructure technology concepts’ that they consider a “cloud essentials” course for IT professionals. Rackspace Hosting has a 10 part series called CloudU that leads to a certificate that is essentially professional development in the area of cloud computing. 3tera has an established Certified Cloud Architect program, while VMware has a ‘VCP’ program: Virtualization Certified Professional. Look at similiar programs from Cisco, IBM, and RedHat as well. Less widely known ZapThink has a vendor neutral program about service-oriented architecture that leads to the designation Licensed ZapThink Architect (LZA).

Although many of these may be focused on largely conceptual issues -- the best of these cloud computing and virtualization training and certification programs will include experiential units that can apply directly to professionals in the field. For many of these companies, this education and certification push is essentially a land-grab in hopes that these trainees and certificate holders will push the platform and systems of their cloud training. The best prepared IT professionals might have to complete a few of these certificate to hedge against being too vendor specific as consolidation continues in the industry, and new leaders potentially emerge. IT managers know this already as they seek workers with a wide set of skills dealing with VMware, AWS, Google Apps, RedHat, Hadoop, Cassandra, EC2, and others.

Who Should Get Cloud Computing Certifications?

If you think you need cloud certification -- then you probably do. If you want to be a Data Center or Certified Cloud Architect, or a Cloud Operator, it’s clear that this training is perfect for web developers, programmers, software engineers, and IT management. But in this fast moving field, where scalability can make SMBs (small and medium sized businesses) very competitive, then it stands to reason that all types of entrepreneurs, sales professionals, business leaders, and executives including CTOs, CIOs, CFOs, and even CEOs, would benefit from some introductory or comprehensive cloud training. Read job postings in IT and you'll see that many companies aren't even really sure what they want or need at this point because they haven't even completely decided on or formulated their cloud strategies. That's why many of the jobs are for Lead Software Engineers or Senior Cloud Network Management Architect or some variation. There is a real opportunity in cloud computing for growth, leadership, and new initiatives. Cloud computing jobs are there for you if you have the skills, training, and expertise -- so these certifications are the perfect next step.