Certification an age old tactic

Will 3Terra's cloud certification help organizations better use cloud computing?
Written by Dan Kusnetzky, Contributor

Certification programs have long been used to create in-house experts and, if the truth be known, internal sales representatives for IT products. 3Tera is making the attempt to use this tactic in the world of cloud computing. Will it successfully make 3Tera a household name? Regardless of the quality of the training and testing, I have doubts about the short term success. Long term, however, this is likely to be seen as a good move by the company.

Here's how 3Terra describes their new certification programs

3Tera®, the leading developer of cloud computing platform software and utility computing services, today announced  new educational and certification programs to provide customers with expertise in building world-class cloud computing services and solutions. Initially, two certification programs are available, Certified Cloud Operator and Certified Cloud Architect, designed to address the needs of cloud computing professionals.

Currently, two cloud computing certification programs are available:

  • The Certified Cloud Operator program is targeted toward service providers, enterprises operations professionals and systems integrators, responsible for the deployment and operation of cloud services. The program covers the process of installing, configuring and maintaining the computing fabric used for building cloud computing services. Emphasis is placed on hardware requirements, service configuration, hardware failure troubleshooting, provisioning of customers, and configuration of virtual private datacenters.
  • The Certified Cloud Architect program is offered for system architects, IT operations professionals, application developers and systems engineers responsible for the design, integration, provisioning, deployment and management of distributed applications. Participants learn the architectural concepts of the AppLogic cloud computing platform, step-by-step procedures for deploying, operating and managing applications in the cloud, best practices for security, testing and scaling applications, and how to architect for business continuity.

Snapshot Analysis

Many organizations are highly risk averse They are more comfortable hiring people who appear to have a greater level of reliable expertise than others who do not have training and certification. The truth, of course, is that a battle hardened veteran staff member may have higher levels of useful expertise than a green-but-certified newcomer.

Staff members in the world of IT like certifications too. Those who have successfully become certified often experience better levels of compensation.

The key question in my mind is whether a certification from 3Tera, regardless of the quality of the curriculum or testing process, will make a person more valuable and employable than a similar certification from a larger supplier, such as VMware, Citrix, HP, IBM, Oracle, or Red Hat. I suspect the answer is "no" unless an organization is already heavily vested in 3Terra products.

What is clear is that cloud computing is rapidly evolving. Training on what is and isn't cloud, what applications are likely to be happy with a cloud implementation and helping IT staff understand the regulatory and security requirements of cloud solutions could only be helpful.  Starting with a good framework, such as that presented the Cloud Codex developed by 451 Research and Tier1 Research analysts would be helpful as well.

Unasked for, shoot from the hip advice

3Terra, I think that this approach is a good one.  I'd suggest that you keep enhancing this program by adding new modules and then present case studies showing how certified staff members were able to help their organization save money, prevent failures or some other benefit. Over time, the value of your programs can be proven.

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