The COVID-19 pandemic has proven the value of cloud investments for organizations seeking flexibility. As companies looked to support their remote workforces during COVID-19, most found their existing tech stacks insufficient and have budgeted more toward cloud services.
The cloud market is expected to grow from $233 billion in 2019 to $295 billion by 2021. This investment means there will be a tremendous need for skilled employees, which the industry has already been experiencing a shortage of in recent years. Cloud-native skills and software engineers are at a premium in the industry, which raises questions about how companies will staff their IT departments to ensure they have people who can work with cloud applications.
However, premium IT talent may exist within the IT department itself. By dedicating resources to professional development, organizations are better positioned to attract talent from outside the business. But the right development strategy can also create opportunities to nurture talent within the organization’s own ranks. A cloud certification program, for example, is a tactic that can help an IT staff get ahead in the current era of remote work.
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How cloud certification programs benefit your organization
By investing in a cloud certification program, you are not only adding value for your employees through professional development opportunities, but your business is avoiding the challenge of hiring qualified workers from outside the organization — all while building a strong relationship with the cloud provider because you are further investing in their products and services. Here are three reasons why your company should invest in a cloud certification program.
1) Professional development
While computer science and software engineering degrees from traditional colleges were long viewed as the norm, professional certifications have emerged as another option for bypassing the conventional career launch point and diving right into the world of cloud technology. These certifications are built to deliver the skills and software that IT professionals will work with, and they remain current with all the latest innovations in cloud computing. As a result, professional certifications hold more value in today’s market, perhaps even more than a college degree.
There are a few key benefits of investing in your own staff, and during a time when the industry is already facing a shortage of qualified professionals, professional certifications not only increase employee engagement and retainment but can also reduce hiring and onboarding costs by empowering existing team members to fill open roles.
With four out of the ten highest-paying IT certifications being cloud-related, hiring outside talent can get costly because these are some of the most sought-after certifications. Instead, you can redirect those costs to developing a professional development program that not only shows your employees that the company values their growth but also ensures your staff holds the latest Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) certifications.
2) Closing the skills gap
As companies continue to struggle to land qualified tech experts, professional development should no longer be viewed as a work perk. Rather, it’s a way for companies to navigate finding qualified employees by upskilling their own workers to fill tech needs. For example, if your company is looking for an expert-level cloud architect — which is hard to find on the open market because it’s such an in-demand skill — it would be easier to work with an intermediate-level cloud architect who you might already have on staff to build up their skills.
As cloud providers like AWS, Azure, and GCP continue to build out their products, they are also developing certification courses for IT professionals to ensure that they are up to date with the latest advancements and can work with their services. With every new certification that is created, it becomes harder and harder to find potential employees with those certifications. That's why it has become increasingly important for cloud management companies and managed service providers to continue building up their internal staffs' skills to remain current with the latest technology and certifications, and to remain competitive on the market.
3) Strengthening cloud partnerships
The key to building a strong professional development program around the cloud is to work closely with cloud providers like AWS, Azure, and GCP to ensure your staff can work to earn new certifications. Joining cloud providers' partner programs is a good first step because your company will have access to exclusive summits offering one-on-one opportunities to interact with the company's leadership, gain firsthand knowledge of accreditation programs, and have the opportunity to work with the cloud provider on joint marketing campaigns.
It’s important to get involved in a partner program and build a good relationship with your cloud provider to boost your company’s chances of securing key training opportunities. And the more certifications your staff holds, the more likely a cloud provider will be to point potential customers in your direction because they know your staff can adequately assist work on the cloud provider’s platform.
As cloud technologies continue to evolve, professional certifications will continue to gain value. In addition to ensuring your team has the required knowledge to work with the most advanced cloud technologies, certification programs help close the industry skills gap and reduce the need to shop for talent on the open market. Just as importantly, these programs strengthen your organization’s relationships with cloud providers, elevating your company’s visibility in the marketplace.
Adam Kranitz is senior director of marketing at CloudCheckr.