What is cloud computing?
Cloud computing is the delivery of computing services — including servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, and intelligence — over the Internet (“the cloud”) to offer faster innovation, flexible resources, and economies of scale. — Microsoft Azure
Many companies today are dealing in petabytes of data (1 petabyte is one quadrillion bytes). Walmart goes through 2 petabytes of data per hour. Can you imagine how much data a company like Facebook or Netflix goes through?
The Business Case for Cloud Computing
Companies are increasingly turning to cloud computing to handle this large data flows. Data security and data modernization are two of the other biggest factors driving executive decision makers to drop legacy in-house data storage solutions and move their data solutions to third party cloud vendors.
Some of the benefits of cloud computing are:
Cost — Companies can drop their expensive and fixed costs for hardware, software, and maintenance costs to run data centers. Expenses tend to be lower with third part cloud providers as they can utilize economies of scale. Business’ expenses will change from fixed to variable as they now only need to pay for what they use.
Security –Cloud computing providers have greater expertise and cyber security infrastructures than many companies would otherwise be able to develop in-house, protecting their data from increasingly common cyber attacks and data leaks.
Reliability — Cloud providers supply data backups and disaster recovery as data is mirrored at multiple redundant sites
Flexibility — Companies have access to technology services such as storage or computing power on an as needed basis from third party providers. This give companies of various sizes opportunities to access the same data storage, computing power, and infrastructure as the biggest fortune 500 companies.
Global Access — Cloud computing providers have global infrastructure allowing companies to access computing resources anywhere in the world they would need
Ultimately, cloud computing infrastructures services allow businesses to focus on their core goals without worrying about something that is not their area of expertise.
Opportunities for Data Professionals
With all that being said, as a data science student and job-seeker who has never worked with a business cloud service provider, but sees this requirement on numerous job postings, how would I get experience? Fortunately many of the top providers have certifications that allows one to learn how to engage with their services and gain professional credibility. I have outlined some summary information for certifications from the top 3 cloud infrastructure providers below.
AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner Certification is recommended for people who are newer to cloud computing. Other options include more advanced certifications such as Solutions Architect, SysOps Administrator, Developer, and DevOps Engineer and specialty certs: Advanced Networking, Security, Machine Learning, Data Analytics, and Database.
AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner Skills Emphasized:
- Basic global infrastructure
- Basic architectural principles
- Key services and common use cases (ex: compute and analytics)
- Basic security and compliance aspects and the shared security model
- Billing, account management, and pricing models
- Identify sources of documentation or technical assistance (for example, whitepapers or support tickets)
- Describe basic/core characteristics of deploying and operating in the AWS Cloud
Exam Cost: 100 USD
Valid For: 3 Years
Google Cloud Certificates
At the Associate level (6+ months recommended experience) there is a Cloud Engineer Certification. Then for more advanced Professional Level Certifications (1+ years recommended experience) they offer certifications in Cloud Architect, Cloud Developer, Data Engineer, Cloud DevOps Engineer, Cloud Security Engineer, Cloud Network Engineer, Collaboration Engineer, and Machine Learning Engineer.
Associate Level Cloud Engineer Skills Emphasized:
· Set up a cloud solution environment
· Plan and configure a cloud solution
· Deploy and implement a cloud solution
· Ensure successful operation of a cloud solution
· Configure access and security
Exam Cost: 125$
Valid For: 2 Years
More info: https://cloud.google.com/certification
The entry level certification is for Azure Fundamentals. There is also Certificates in Azure AI Fundamentals and Data Fundaments as well as numerous options for more advanced certifications
Azure Fundamentals Skills Emphasized:
· Describe cloud concepts
· Describe core Azure services
· Describe core solutions and management tools on Azure
· Describe general security and network security features
· Describe identity, governance, privacy, and compliance features
· Describe Azure cost management and Service Level Agreements
Valid For: 2 Years
Hopefully you now understand why the cloud services and third party cloud infrastructure providers are critical for modern businesses and have some resources for how to gain experience and earn some credibility in this area.