Are You Certifiable? Why Cloud Technology Certifications Matter

Nick Chase, Mariela Gagnon, Jens Soeldner - July 5, 2017 - , , ,

There was a time when tech professionals in certain fields could expect to get multiple emails from recruiters — every single day. In most cases, those days are over, so you want to make sure that you build your resume to best advantage. Last month, we talked to Mariela Gagnon of Cre8Hires and consultant Jens Soldners about one of your greatest advantages: technical certifications.

Q: Do employers negatively view certifications for older technologies? Should they not be added to a resume? What are examples of cloud-related certifications that should not be added?

Mariela Gagnon: There’s no such thing as a “bad” certification. Older certifications aren’t likely to prove your qualification for a particular position, but all certifications show that you have the discipline to work to improve yourself, so it’s all favorable. Of course, you don’t want to focus on certifications that aren’t relevant, but you should certainly include them.

Q: At what points in a career are certifications most useful?

Mariela: Certifications are useful at all stages of your career. Early on, when you don’t have much experience, they show that you have the relevant knowledge. When you do have more experience, they show that you have the drive and the self-discipline to constantly improve yourself, and they can help you to get promoted, or even to survive a downsizing.

Q: What is the difference between Mirantis and Red Hat OpenStack certification?

Nick Chase: The major difference is that the Mirantis OpenStack and Kubernetes certifications are completely vendor neutral, whereas the Red Hat certifications are proprietary and focus on their own products. The Mirantis certifications focus on the technologies themselves, so you can use that knowledge in any environment. The Red Hat certifications are specific to their products and may not be as applicable if you’re not in a Red Hat environment.

Q: What is the best way to prepare for Mirantis Kubernetes certification?

Nick: The easiest, surest way is, of course, to take the Mirantis Kubernetes & Docker bootcamp. You can either take the instructor-led or the self-paced version. You can also get a list of the exam requirements at https://training.mirantis.com/kcm100-exam-requirements/ so you can study up on your own.

Q: If I have a large number of certifications, should I list them all or highlight specific ones?

Mariela: You definitely want to highlight the ones that are closer to the task you’re applying for, but it never hurts to have any certifications on your resume. Just make sure that the most recent, the most active, the most relevant ones are closer to the top.

Q: If I am unemployed and use that time to study and earn certifications, can that time be listed as schooling on my employment history?

Mariela: I’ve come across this a lot, especially when the job market wasn’t too great. We’d have candidates who might have a year gap in their resume. So that would be tough, especially when you’re up against candidates who don’t have a gap. So you’re always being asked to explain, “What were you doing for that year?” A lot of candidates, I’ll have them put thier education into that time on their resume so it kind of fills in the void and it also shows that even though I’m not working, I’m still keeping up-to-date on the technologies, so if you get me in this role, I’m up to date and ready to go. So it really adds value and connects to whatever prior experience you have.

Q: Are there essential skills I need to have before starting the cloud certification journey?

Jens Soeldner: Most often, you’re dealing with a Linux environment, so you’ll want to have Linux command line skills, and have a basic understanding of networking. In the case of Microsoft-centric environments, you’d be well served to have a familiarity with PowerShell.

Q: What cloud certification is recommended as a starting point?

Jens: Which cloud certifications to do first are highly dependant on what vendor you’re working with. There’s no common denominator here; some knowledge is transferable, since cloud services are similar.

Q: What types of certifications are not worth getting? Are there any that would give you negative value?

Mariela: There is never a certification that is not worth getting. It is really a personal decision. You want to ensure that you are becoming certified in technologies that you are interested in working with. It will help you target and get hired for the roles you want!

Q: Also please tell us how to go through resume parsers?

Mariela: Resume parsers go off of Keyword searches, or what is known as Booleans, to gather large numbers of resumes that include those keywords. These parsers highlight the keywords in the resume, so make sure that it’s closer to the top and more recent. This process will get more automated as time goes on, as well.

Q: There are so many certifications out there. Is there a specific path of certifications that you would recommend for System Administrators ? It would be good to know must have vs nice to have.

Jens: I teach VMware’s and other classes, and it’s great if the participants have a working understanding of Windows or Linux. Obviously if it’s a Windows-centric position you’re looking at Microsoft certifications such as Microsoft Certified System Administrator for Windows Server 2012 or 2016. In the Linux world, I would recommend to go for any certification out there, proprietary or vendor neutral. Just something that certifies that you know your way around the command line, you can start and stop services, use the vi editor, and so on, just as a baseline. If you want to go a little bit deeper on networking, i would recommend Cisco Certified Network Associate. it’s very widespread and well recognized. If the job involves VMware, then VCP certainly makes sense.

Q: How I could take the Mirantis exam? I’m not in the USA. Can I take it online?

Nick: Yes, we have proctored virtual exams available in either US or EMEA friendly times. Also, the Associate OCM50 written exam can be taken anytime, anywhere.

Q: Are there any Mirantis bootcamps in or around Reading or London in the UK?

Nick: The best thing to do is to check the schedule. We have classes in Europe, and we add new classes on a monthly basis. You can also send a request through http://training.mirantis.com to request a new location.

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