Certification Survey Extra: Rating cloud computing certification study materials
Posted on
October 8, 2020
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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 These posts contain previously unpublished Certification Survey data.

Where should IT learners turn to find the most effective cloud computing certification study materials?

Flexibility and convenience are important when studying for a certification exam. Most individuals have other commitments, whether professional or educational, during whatever window of time they have designated to get certified. The challenge is to fit in needed review and/or learning and skills acquisition, which generally has to happen on the fly, whenever opportunity permits.

So it's important to have options. There are many different ways to refresh your understanding, or take in new information and make it your own, and individuals tend to have personal preferences or proclivities. A key element of learning and studying is figuring out what works for you, while also understanding that your own best approach may differ from that of peers or colleagues.

Certification is an ongoing pursuit, of course, so you aren't likely to enter the IT industry, whatever your specialization, with every cert you'll ever need already in hand. For our recent Cloud Computing Certification Survey, we asked certified cloud professionals how they get the best results.

Survey respondents rated the effectiveness, per their most recent certification experience, of various cloud computing certification study materials. As always, those surveyed had the option to mark "Does Not Apply" for study approaches that are foreign to their experience. Here's what we learned:

Method of Study Percentage of Respondents who rate this method
Excellent
Percentage of Respondents who rate this method
Very Good
Percentage of Respondents who rate this method
Good
Percentage of Respondents who rate this method
Fair
Percentage of Respondents who rate this method
Poor
Percentage of Respondents who rate this method
Does Not Apply
Self-study books 21.7 percent 20 percent 18.6 percent 7.6 percent 2.2 percent 29.3 percent
Product Documentation 18.5 percent 25 percent 30.4 percent 6.5 percent 2.2 percent 17.4 percent
Instructor-led training at training center 5.4 percent 10.9 percent 20.7 percent 1.1 percent 3.3 percent 58.7 percent
Vendor-authorized boot camp 6.5 percent 9.8 percent 12 percent 3.3 percent 2.2 percent 66.3 percent
On-the-job training 15.2 percent 19.6 percent 22.8 percent 7.6 percent 3.3 percent 31.5 percent
Practice exams 22.8 percent 21.7 percent 21.7 percent 15.2 percent 2.2 percent 16.3 percent
Online university or e-learning course 26.1 percent 18.5 percent 15.2 percent 6.5 percent 2.2 percent 31.5 percent
Internet mailing lists or forums 3.3 percent 8.7 percent 22.8 percent 10.9 percent 2.2 percent 52.2 percent
Computer-based training or simulations 12 percent 27.2 percent 19.6 percent 4.3 percent [No responses] 37 percent
Community or technical college courses 3.3 percent 4.4 percent 16.5 percent 3.3 percent 3.3 percent 69.2 percent
Brain dumps from web sites 3.3 percent 7.6 percent 9.8 percent 2.2 percent 6.5 percent 70.7 percent

2020 Cloud Computing Certification Survey: Refers to materials used by survey respondents to prepare for their most recently taken exam.

One of the first things that we noticed is that certified cloud computing professionals are apparently a highly good-natured bunch. Very few survey respondents handed out Poor ratings, with just the always dubious brain dumps getting a notably dismissive wave of the hand.

Many certified IT professionals take a lone wolf approach to training, and that trend is certainly borne out here. The three training options rated most highly by a fairly wide margin are online universities (and related online e-learning courses), self-study books, and practice exams, all of which are entirely reliant on the self-motivation of the learner, but also don't require any sort of interaction with others.

The workplace is a key arena of learning for many, as demonstrated by the fact that 65 percent of survey participants have experienced some degree of success in furthering their certification efforts through on-the-job-training. If you know enough to get a job in IT, then you can do work, get paid, and enrich your skill set all at the same time. Other strong options include product documentation and computer-based training or simulations.

We've already noted that very few options were rated poorly. You have to actually try something in order to rate its effectiveness, of course, but it's clear that many certified cloud professionals didn't even contemplate going down certain roads (or at least didn't contemplate it for long):

Community college courses, boot camps and online mailing lists/forums are apparently beneath the notice of many certified cloud computing professionals looking to study up for a certification.

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