Cloud certifications, does it really help?

Knowledge you might gain when starting your studies with the cloud.

Knowledge you might gain when starting your studies with the cloud.


Cloud became a new need for many enterprises and companies for which they’ve integrated their projects into. We do know of its grand advantages and disadvantages, yet as tech enthusiasts we are eager to learn more about it.

Our question is: Do we really need to confirm our knowledge with Cloud Certifications?

Photo by Unsplash

Photo by Unsplash (source)

Since I finished college, most of my jobs afterwards simply involved front-end and back-end development. Ignorantly I thought I had everything in the bag and was a total expert in all things related to development.

Good thing I was wrong (Humility helps put things in perspective).

Later in my career they requested me to obtain the Azure Fundamentals & AWS Cloud Practitioner certifications since we were about to integrate our ongoing projects to the Cloud.

The following topics are what opened my eyes to what knowledge you gain about the cloud when studying for these exams:


Infrastructure

In my experience when it comes to infrastructure like many developers, we mostly work with server configuration to simply deploy our code (IIS, tomcat, etc.). Once I began studying for these exams, I saw the importance of considering the underlying factors that make up the infrastructure like:

Disk drives, Network interfaces, RAM, Backup process, Operating systems, and so on.

It founded a new perspective on what I should consider when preparing for new projects or modifying existing projects.

Of course, whenever you start learning something new it’s good to get hands-on experience, Specially with Infrastructure-As-Code (IaC) which really helps developers gain perspective on how to manage infrastructure while still doing what they love (At first it will make your eyes a bit sore).

Azure: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/azure-resource-manager/management/overview
AWS: https://docs.aws.amazon.com/AWSCloudFormation/latest/UserGuide/Welcome.html


Security

Hopefully I’m not the only developer with this mindset, but we rarely care about handling our security responsibilities. We just care about coding, launching our apps and hoping it doesn’t present any inconvenience to anyone (Specially the supervisor).

As I was studying for these exams, it brought all these factors that we should start considering and implementing for each project we launch:

Vulnerability scanning, Standards & Best practices, Alerts, Threat detection, DDOS, Auditing, and so on.

I’m still not a big fan of Security, but now I consider these factors through the lifecycle for each of my projects. Each cloud service provides many solutions for these factors in their services and gives developers the ability to do so in a way we love, which is to automate its implementation and getting a big alert saying what we need to fix (That last note was meant to be sarcastic, sorry).

Azure: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/security/fundamentals/overview
AWS: https://aws.amazon.com/security/


Network

This subject really blew my mind and now have a better understanding on why certifications related to networks and its administration are so expensive and their salaries brings jealousy to my self-esteem (Who wouldn’t?).

It shows in detail different types of protocols, structures and procedures that gets you from point A to point B in an efficient manner. It’s like traveling to a new country and you decide to drive all alone, you’re bound to get lost even with google maps or waze by your side.

Luckily for these foundational cloud exams you only need to know the basics, but once you decide to continue with the Solutions Architect or the Advanced Network Exams, then you must go a bit deeper with these subjects. You will see the effort it requires to grasps all the network structures and protocols (Love a challenge, go for it!!!).

Azure: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/product-categories/networking/
AWS: https://aws.amazon.com/products/networking/


Data

Past companies I’ve worked with, the required skills they desire of the developers are to work mostly with Structured databases (Oracle SQL, MySQL, etc.). Later, throughout the years new structures and formats have appeared:

Semi-structured databases, Unstructured databases, Data lakes, Big Data, ETL, Data warehouse, etc.

Most are stuck in their old ways of handling data, which is not bad, but we should give these new formats and structures a fighting chance.

I know there a lot of ways to manage your data and its responsibilities belongs mostly to Database Administrators, Backup Administrators and Data Engineers, but I highly recommend grasping these topics if you’re going to work in the cloud. Of course, not to their full extent, but enough to appreciate the benefits it brings to your projects.

Azure: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/product-categories/databases/
AWS: https://aws.amazon.com/products/databases/


Serverless

The title is not as it seems, our code still needs a home (server), but you still desire this home to take care of the cleaning & arrangements by itself.

https://www.infoworld.com/article/3406501/what-is-serverless-serverless-computing-explained.html

You will appreciate how your shoulders will relax when you just simply upload your code, add a few simple configurations, and execute your project without worrying about much about the server’s complex configurations.

This may seem too good to be true, but I do advise to revise the desired serverless service documentation beforehand considering that like every other tech, there are limitations.

Azure: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/solutions/serverless/
AWS: https://aws.amazon.com/serverless/


Conclusion

Thanks to these certifications it provided me a gateway to grasp many new concepts, technologies and strategies which provided a helping hand on my professional goals.

Ready yourselves for a new journey (No R2-D2 involved).

Mostly this is an overview on what I’ve learned of the Cloud through these certifications, but there are more concepts and technologies provided by the Cloud, but this are the ones I’ve learned when I started out and had a great impact.

This is my first blog, feel free for any comments regarding my writing. Later, I will be posting recommendations on where to start your cloud journey.

Thank you and Gracias!!!

Love and appreciation from your lovely and Dad joke filled Puerto Rican.


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Jean Velez Torres

Cloud Solutions Architect, Evertec, Inc.

@jeanvelez2
Hello Everyone! I'm Jean Velez, Cloud Solutions architect from Puerto Rico who wants to start out blogging. Always loved to teach others (not the best teacher, but still enjoy it). Works with AWS and Azure, and also a python enthusiast.
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