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Why more than 10% of your staff should be cloud certified

Having too few experts creates an echo chamber that hampers ROI. Meanwhile, creating a "cloud culture" helps you retain talent and spark innovation.

Sep 20, 2023 • 4 Minute Read

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  • Cloud
  • Business
  • Professional Development
  • Team Development
  • Learning & Development

Cloud isn’t just a technology, it’s a culture, and it has a shared language. For example, how many people at your organization could translate the following simple request?

“I need a VPC with an IGW to provision EC2 with attached EBS front-ended with ELB combined with RDS.”

If it’s less than a tenth of your staff, this may be hampering your ability to operate and innovate as a business. In fact, more than 70% of organizations struggle to drive customer value with the cloud, and the biggest culprit is a lack of cloud literacy. 

The easiest solution? Widespread, base-level cloud certification.

Why having only a few cloud experts is a bad thing

Picture an organization with only a handful of cloud-certified experts. The vast majority of the organization don’t understand the “language of cloud.” This creates friction and waste in your workflows, as these experts have to spend time explaining what things like “EC2” and “ELB” are and how they help your organization. All of this is time that could be spent doing rather than acting as your internal cloud translators or troubleshooters.

On top of this, cloud computing is vast. There’s different specializations such as architecture, security, database management, networking, and more. For a handful of experts, this is a lot to keep on top of and manage vendors for. A small team may struggle to keep up with the fast-evolving cloud technologies in every area, resulting in knowledge gaps. This in turn leads to missed innovation opportunities or suboptimal configurations.

Naturally, people want to work where they’re understood and not overworked. These experts start to leave your organization for greener pastures, and just like that, you’ve lost your linchpin experts. This hampers your regular operations, let alone any hopes of larger cloud transformations. 

Commence panic.

How building a cloud culture creates resiliency and innovation

Now, imagine everyone in your organization was certified on your main cloud provider. Would things be different? Of course they would! Now, everyone’s speaking the lingua franca of cloud — a technology that has now become default for most businesses. The burden of communicating and coordinating is distributed, lessening the load.

Your cloud experts are happy because they’re understood, and so you’re retaining cloud talent, not to mention increasing workflow efficiency and buy-in for innovation. They can focus on being strategic, instead of your in-house translation team.

Meanwhile, your wider staff are now part of the cloud culture, able to fluently speak in the lingo and act as change agents in their own right. Instead of cloud innovation being the sole domain of a few experts, it’s democratized, bringing new perspectives and opportunities with critical mass.

Why certifications are the best path to building cloud culture

Learning the language of cloud is part and parcel with passing a cloud certification. These certificates have a very high bar, and are highly regarded in the industry. The certification providers work hard to make sure they are a strong indicator of cloud fluency and job performance.

It’s also fairly easy to sell the value to individual staff. 52% of individuals say cloud certifications expanded their career opportunities, which means you’re empowering them to not only help the organization, but enhance their own value as current and future hires.

Where the “10% or above” target comes into play

If you’re trying to drive greater cloud literacy in your organization, you need a measurable figure (in line with SMART goals). Social consensus can normally be reached by driving beyond the tipping point of having 10% or more committed change agents. Using certification as a marker of committed change is a straightforward approach to both measuring and achieving that.

To create a wider cloud culture, study groups are important

Of course, you can’t just throw a link at your workforce to get certified and call it a day: that won’t produce a culture. Instead, you need to work on creating a cohort-based certification process — having people work together to study and succeed. Members can share their experiences and collective knowledge to help others, such as assisting them with certification preparation advice and hands-on experiential learning (labs and playgrounds).

For a great story on how this can work at a team level, read Evanna Kearin’s article: “How my team took the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner course (and survived!).

Conclusion: Don’t just consume cloud, create a culture

Enterprises are moving beyond the simple consumption of cloud, and are seeking to create value with the cloud. In a similar manner, strategic organizations understand they need to transition from the hiring and consumption of cloud talent and instead focus on the creation of talent using certifications as the catalyst.

Dive into cloud

Dive head first into cloud with Pluralsight’s cloud transformation solution. Our solution is designed with custom learning paths and cadenced learning to get your teams driving towards organizational outcomes.