Cloud success goes beyond certification programs

The recent addition of Amazon Web Services certification steals focus from the real need in cloud implementations

The new Amazon Web Services (AWS) Certification Program is a response to organizations screaming for some way to both validate and train employees on the use of AWS public cloud technology. Indeed, AWS Certifications help to recognize the skills, knowledge, and expertise in the AWS public cloud platform.

To earn an AWS Certification, individuals must demonstrate their proficiency in a particular area by passing an AWS Certification Exam -- akin to getting your driver's license but instead of road signs, you're tested on API error messages.

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This is much like past certification exams from Microsoft, Novell, and Cisco. I'd go so far as to say that those with AWS Certifications are poised to earn decent money, considering the large number of AWS jobs chasing after a limited pool of candidates these days.

As this program becomes successful, count on emerging or existing certification programs from Microsoft, HP, Rackspace, Red Hat, and others to become more important to companies seeking cloud computing talent. However, this also indicates we're moving in the wrong direction.

These days, I find enterprises aren't really focused on creating a business case, core requirements, and a well-defined cloud architecture with an implementation road map. They are seeking wholesale cloud computing implementations, typically around a service or technology provider they've pre-selected, usually based on hype.

This often leads to picking the wrong set of cloud technologies. Thus, many first-generation cloud computing implementations fall on their faces, due to a lack of  strategic guidance and planning. They toss technology at the issue and hope for the best. If that doesn't work, the money pit follows. If that doesn't work, they blame the technology.

My fear is that as we concentrate more on the enabling technology and its accompanying certification programs, the strategically challenged will find more excuses to ignore the larger issues. While certification programs have their place, they do not replace a larger understanding of the technology you're looking to implement or an honest assessment of your business issues.

I wish they had a certification program for that.

This article, "Cloud success goes beyond certification programs," originally appeared at InfoWorld.com. Read more of David Linthicum's Cloud Computing blog and track the latest developments in cloud computing at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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