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Interview: CompTIA Cloud Essentials

Cloud computing is a vital part of IT's long-range forecast. For those just pulling out an umbrella, CompTIA's Cloud Essentials cert can help you get your head in the cloud.

Whether you feel “the cloud” is just a trendy term for software hosted on someone else’s server or an entirely new computing paradigm, one thing is certain: The IT forecast is growing increasingly cloudy. It’s only natural that IT pros are interested in this new arena. As usual, IT certification stands ready to serve as either a blueprint for learning, or a way to va;idate cloud expertise already in your toolkit.

There are more than a dozen cloud-related credentials to choose from, certifying skill levels ranging from foundation to high-end expert. CompTIA’s Cloud Essentials certification is one of the most basic, and a good potential starting point for IT workers just entering the world of the cloud. CompTIA collaborated with ITpreneurs to create this credential, which requires passing a 50-question exam concerning various technical and business aspects of cloud computing. To get a peek at what’s under the hood of the exam, we tracked down Dimitri van den Broek, co-founder of ITpreneurs. Here’s what he had to say:

GoCertify: Who should consider earning CompTIA Cloud Essentials certification and why?

Dimitri van den Broek: The CompTIA Cloud Essentials certification is a good introduction to cloud computing as an emerging technology for a wide range of professionals. For someone in project management, IT management, consulting, technical sales, or in a decision-making role, this certification really is “essential.” It offers individuals the opportunity to master Cloud concepts and terminology, and get the big picture of the impact of Cloud on ITSM, security, legal and governance issues.

It is also a great starting point for follow-on Cloud training directed at specific job roles. For example, for those who want to go on to a certification as a Professional Cloud Service Manager, Developer or Security Manager.

GoCertify: What topic do exam candidates typically find the most challenging and what tips can you offer for mastering it?

Dimitri van den Broek: Our training partners have told us that it very much depends on the background of the participant. If people have an IT background, the technical module is usually easy, while the business module is more difficult. Vice versa for the business folks. The introduction module is one that everyone understands!

GoCertify: How much time would someone with no cloud computing experience need to prepare for this exam?

Dimitri van den Broek: Our training partners typically schedule two-day courses for Cloud Essentials, which shows good exam results. ITpreneurs has structured the vendor-neutral Cloud Essentials course either as this two-day classroom course or as a 12-hour eLearning course.

GoCertify: What would be a good next career/certification step after achieving CompTIA Cloud Essentials certification?

Dimitri van den Broek: The CompTIA Cloud Essentials certification opens up a variety of paths for those who want to make their career in the cloud. The Cloud Credentials Council has introduced Professional-level certifications, including those for Professional Cloud Solutions Architect, Professional Cloud Services Manager, Professional Cloud Security Manager, Professional Cloud Developer, and Professional Cloud Administrator. Also, depending upon the existing role and career aims of the individual, other trainings delivered throughout partners could be useful.

For example, for someone with architecture as their main aim, TOGAF plus the Professional Cloud Solutions Architect certification could be a consideration, or for someone with a service manager background, ITIL certification with the Professional Cloud Services Manager. And of course technical vendor specific courses are a good follow-on; we’ve seen training partners combine Cloud Essentials with an introductory vendor course.

GoCertify: What additional resources do you recommend candidates use when prepping for the exam?

Dimitri van den Broek: If you want to self-study, there are various options to choose from including exam preps, books, eLearning courses and other resources. It’s really up to the person prepping for the exam what he/she likes to use best.

GoCertify: What further advice do you have for individuals considering pursuing this certification?

Dimitri van den Broek: Of course we would encourage taking a class with one of our training partners but the real advice is the same for every certification: Pay attention in class, study well and go to bed early. Further, the CompTIA Cloud Essentials Certification is key for individuals (and their organizations) who want to be able to access and leverage the tremendous power and potential of the cloud in an informed way. It is crucial for professionals who want to succeed in a cloud environment, a career-building move.

We see that over 80 percent of Fortune 1000 companies are adopting a cloud operating model — it’s only a matter of time before the majority of organizations will be embracing cloud. The Essentials Certification enables professionals to join the future of business by taking on key cloud competencies and understanding.