Certification Survey Extra: Cloud certification degree of difficulty
Posted on
May 26, 2022

Certification Survey Extra is a series of periodic dispatches that give added insight into the findings of our most recent Certification Survey. These posts contain previously unpublished Certification Survey data.

There are obstacles in the path of any certification, but what degree of difficulty can you reasonably expect to encounter?

It takes work to achieve many (if not most) desirable outcomes in life. "No pain, no gain." "The only things worth having are the ones you had to work to achieve." "With hard work and effort, you can achieve anything." "Without hard work, nothing grows but weeds." "I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it." Pick an aphorism, etc.

Getting an IT certification is a desirable outcome in many respects, and getting an IT certification also takes, you guessed it, no small amount of effort and dedication. If you're an experienced professional who wants to get certified to validate professional skills, then you can almost certainly look back across years of learning, training, and employment.

If you're a relative IT newcomer pursuing certification as a point of entry to an IT career path, then you can almost certainly look forward to weeks and month of study, review, hands-on practice, and direct exam preparation like practice exams. Lots of people get certified, but almost no one does without making a significant investment of time and personal energy.

For those who like to plan and strategize, it can be helpful to know in somewhat more specific terms what lies ahead. We included a couple of questions in our recent Cloud Computing Certification Survey that address the degree of difficult involved in getting a certification. They don't apply to everyone in the same way, but they can perhaps provde some insight.

The first question that we'll address here has to do with timing. More specifically, how much time should you plan to spend on getting your next cloud computing certification? We asked survey respondents to tell us what it the longest length of time they have ever needed to prepare for and pass a cloud computing certification exam?

Here's what we learned:

Q: From start to finish, what is the longest length of time it has ever taken you to earn a cloud computing certification?

0 to 3 months — 36.1 percent
4 to 7 months — 29.5 percent
8 to 11 months  — 6.7 percent
1 year — 6.5
13 to 16 months — 13.1 percent
17 to 20 months — 1.7 percent
21 to 23 months — [No responses]
2 years — 3.3 percent
25 to 28 months — [No responses]
29 to 32 months — 1.6 percent
33 to 35 months — [No responses]
3 years — 1.5 percent
More than 3 years — [No responses]

Everyone who took the survey is a certified cloud computing professional with at least one current certification. So it's heartening to see that nearly 80 percent of those surveyed have never needed more than 1 year to go through the certification process. Indeed for most in that group it's never taken more than seven months.

So while there are extreme outliers, and this is certainly a discussion with a "your mileage may vary" component, the timeline tends to be fairly compact. If you about to start a cloud computing certification, then there's a strong possibility that you'll be certified in no more than one year from now.

For most people, the thing that probably stretches out the timeline more than any other single factor, is failing the certification exam. Most candidates who don't get a passing exam score probably don't start over from scratch. But you do have to at least consider undertaking a more intensive review process before trying again.

So our second question about the degree of difficulty involved in getting a cloud computing certification deals with failure. How many people who attempt an exam need multiple attempts to pass?

Here's what we learned:

Q: What is the highest number of times you have ever failed while attempting to pass a single cloud computing certification exam?

0 times — 52.5 percent
1 time — 26.2 percent
2 times — 11.5 percent
3 times — 6.6 percent
4 times — [No responses]
5 times — 1.7 percent
6 times — 1.4 percent
7 times — [No responses]
8 times — [No responses]
9 times — [No responses]
10 times or more — [No responses]

It looks exam failure is pretty rare among certified cloud computing professionals — a bit more than half of those surveyed have never experienced it, even a single time. A further 26.2 percent have only needed one extra attempt to pass a certification exam. There have been a handful who have on at least one occasion sat for the same exam two or even three times.

Beyond that, however, it's essentially statistical white noise. If you're considering taking a cloud computing certification exam and you've done the work to prepare, then you probably have a pretty good chance of passing on your first or second attempt.

About the Author

Certification Magazine was launched in 1999 and remained in print until mid-2008. Publication was restarted on a quarterly basis in February 2014. Subscribe to CertMag here.

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