At the end of last year, Certification Magazine focused our always-churning Salary Survey apparatus on the realm of cloud computing. At the time, we found more than 70 directly related certs already on the market. That finding would seem to indicate that cloud computing has been established in certification circles for quite some time.
On the other hand, however, 81 percent of those who responded to our survey reported that they had picked up their first cloud computing credential just in the past three years. So while professional and educational interest in cloud computing is clearly picking up steam, the certification game is really just getting going. There's plenty of room (and time) for new players to enter the field.
The latest of those interested parties is North Carolina-based Duke University, which is now offering professional certificates in cloud computing through its Continuing Education arm. The cloud computing program was launched Aug. 3 and features two certificates, IT Foundation with Cloud Computing for newcomers to the field, as well as the more advanced Cloud Computing Professional.
As noted in the introductory materials for Duke's new program, with businesses becoming increasingly reliant on cloud technology, there are already almost 4 million jobs related to cloud computing just in the United States. With its new cloud computing certificates, Duke University is poised to offer training to both IT professionals and workers from other sectors who are eager to change direction and dive into that lucrative employment pool.
The IT Foundation with Cloud Computing program, as its name suggests, is introductory in scope and covers a range of additional topics including computer hardware, security and networking. IT Foundation with Cloud Computing is offered entirely online, and study is self-paced, the better to accommodate the hectic daily schedules of busy professionals. The program is also short and sweet, with completion possible in just a single year (even faster, if you know your stuff). Students who complete the program will be well positioned to take and pass the popular A+, Network+ and Cloud+ certifications offered by IT industry association CompTIA.
The Cloud Computing Professional program focuses more tightly on cloud computing, with particular attention to cloud credentials offered by Microsoft Learning. The Cloud Computing Professional program has five courses (compared to just three required for completion of IT Foundation with Cloud Computing). Students who complete the program will be prepared to take and pass Microsoft's MCSE: Private Cloud certification exam.
Courses in both programs are taught by industry-certified IT educators and provide a blend of educational resources to accommodate. various learning styles. Both programs award a certification of completion from Duke University.
That, actually, may be one of the most career-critical benefits of following this particular path to cloud computing knowledge and skills. There's growing concern among IT professionals that certification programs are increasingly seen by employers as being compromised, eroded by problems like cheating, and underdevelopment of promised proficiencies. In that environment, the legitimacy and prestige bestowed by a nationally accredited institution of higher education could be a key difference maker.
Indeed, Duke is now surfing the leading edge of a quickly-cresting wave, as numerous colleges and universities rush to integrate IT credentials into their computer science curricula. When Certification Magazine conducted a survey of Big Data certifications earlier this year, we included the Certification of Professional Achievement in Data Sciences now offered at Columbia University, Stanford University's Mining Massive Data Sets Graduate Certificate, and University of Delaware's Certificate in Analytics: Optimizing Big Data.
In the evolving landscape of IT education, schools like Duke University may soon play a much larger role than they've already begun to take upon themselves.