Plan to succeed with certifications in 2023
2023 Aspirational Certifications
So currently I have a number of Certifications that will need to be renewed in 2023. Rather than procrastinate about which to take I actually put some thought into this time around.
In the new year, I will begin the preparation for my 2023 year of study. I typically take four cloud based certifications a year. On top of that I also take numerous other courses, but that is for another discussion. So the question is which certs should I take? The internet has a strong opinion on which will be most beneficial, however the answer is not so simple.
In my personal case, I perform technical activities in the Cloud (Azure, AWS, GCP) therefore I need to get a Professional level qualification. A couple of question naturally pop up from this blanket statement:
- But what about the other levels? Well my base criteria is value for money, career enhancement or applicability to the job environment. These exams are not cheap and if you in the job market, your competition will likely have the Pro level. #justsaying
- But what about folks who are new to the industry and want to upskill? For those folks, do yourself a favour and learn the fundamentals (Linux, Git and a development language) before embarking on a Pro level cert.
- But what about folks who want a job now!? If you have the experience/skillset get a Pro certification, if you don't learn the fundamentals.
Having read that you are probably thinking I am against non-pro level certifications. Actually I am not, I am a big advocate of certifications as they provide a benchmark. There is a big overlap in certs, especially when you take them from the same provider. Objectively if you want to attain the top tier cert and you have the experience/skillset, just go for that.
A case in point is the Google Cloud Associate Cloud Engineer (ACE) exam. Many folks take this as an alternative to the Pro Architect exam. Now what if I told you if you can pass the ACE, you can probably pass the Architect exam. Well great, so whats the catch. Well unfortunately if you take the Architect, you still have a lot of material to cover to pass the ACE.
Check out the official books for evidence, ACE 500+ pages vs Architect 270+ pages.
When studying for Cloud Pro exams, you should quickly realise that the subject matter is huge. A good thing to understand is Cloud Pro level exams offer a wide spectrum of difficulty. That's not to downplay the value, but the knowledge attained in the exam isn’t in of itself sufficient to work in Cloud.
The exams typically cover a small aspect of the content you need to operate in this environment. That's not to say it's not important to take on a certification, it just means you should go into it with your eyes open.
If you have ever taken the CISSP exam, that's a tough exam in which 6 hours pass by in an instant. The point being there are levels to this.
So which cloud based exams will I be taking in 2023?
- Kubernetes Certified Administrator - Renewal
- Google Cloud Professional Cloud Architect - Renewal
- AWS Certified Solutions Architect Professional - New
- Microsoft Certified Azure Solutions Architect Expert - New
The reasoning behind the list is pretty simple. I work in the cloud and it is super useful to understand how each of the cloud providers work.
Kubernetes is now (imho) essential to understand and links to so much of the new technologies. My personal opinion is that it would be foolish to ignore the importance of this platform. Note, Kubernetes is number one on my list, because it's used across the other three Cloud Platforms.
What certifications do you plan to take in 2023 and why?