Cloud Computing is an exciting and new paradigm shift happening in technology that is subsequently demanding developers and IT professionals to challenge their existing skills and take on entirely new ones—and the momentum for change is only growing. For example, Amazon recently reported that its revenue from AWS Web Services, Amazon’s cloud service, has now exceeded that of its retail business. Microsoft with its Azure cloud services has recently reported a 73% growth rate over last year and a 90% growth rate the year before that. 

So what are cloud services? Cloud services, at its essence, is about moving some or all of a company’s IT infrastructure out of the server room and hosting it on a partner’s platform, like Amazon’s or Microsoft’s. By moving their infrastructure into the cloud, a company can avoid making large investments in server-grade hardware and software and take advantage of the ability to lease IT services which can then expand and contract on demand over time. 

This can provide huge benefits for companies. For start-ups, the cost of entry is significantly reduced because they can lease a minimal amount of IT services and increase it as they grow. For larger companies, they can more easily manage their IT spending by avoiding the constant upgrading of legacy hardware/software, paying for only the services they need, and offloading many costly IT services onto a trusted partner, like security or regulatory compliance.

But cloud services come with a host of new challenges that affect nearly all roles in IT: administrators, developers, security professionals, and more. A common misconception many have is that how things work in the server room will be the same in the cloud. Although it is possible to move legacy systems straight into the cloud, you run the risk of losing all the scalability and cost benefits the cloud has to offer. To truly take advantage of this new platform, it is critical to re-think your current infrastructure and carefully plan your migration to the cloud.

Migrating to the cloud should be a company-wide initiative where everyone needs to be on board. This means that updating everyone’s skills is imperative even before you begin your migration process. Without the necessary education, it is easy for team members to let old habits creep in that can potentially derail your efforts towards a smooth transition.

Both Microsoft and Amazon have their own certification paths that are perfect for getting your team up to speed. Microsoft’s certification web site can provide you with information and guidance towards choosing the right paths whether you’re a developer, administrator, architect, security engineer, data scientist, etc. Amazon’s certification web site, likewise, has similar paths. Once the appropriate paths are determined, it is critical to then get the right training and instructions so your team can acquire the skills to become certified.

Here, video-based on-demand training can be an excellent option. By leveraging the instruction from a certified trainer who is highly experienced in architecting, building and managing cloud services, you can be confident that your team will be heading in the right direction. Videos allow you to watch as an instructor takes you through, step-by-step, the necessary processes and procedures to configure your cloud architecture that is optimal for your business’s situation.

Both of these certification tracks include a foundational certification. For Microsoft it is AZ-900, Azure Fundamentals. For Amazon, it is the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner. Regardless of which cloud provider you choose, either one is an excellent starting point as you begin your journey into the cloud.

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