The use of the cloud continues to grow as private citizens and businesses see the benefits of offsite storage and shared services. Many companies are coming to rely on this technology, as it allows them to scale resources and allow remotely-located employees to access applications and work via the Internet.
Many options are available today to support the most varied needs: Cloud service models (SaaS, PaaS or IaaS) and deployment types (private, public, community or hybrid) can be chosen according to the business configuration, mission and legislative requirements. The growth of this IT field also means that there is a need for skilled cloud professionals well-versed in this technology and able to create the proper infrastructures and security measures in support of it.
More and more employers are in search of cloud talents who are able to fill this role. In many cases, there is a shortage of specialized, knowledgeable practitioners that are not only able to help an organization migrate effectively to the cloud but also mitigate the risks inherent to such a move. This is where certifications become key.
Among the certifications available for cloud computing pros is the Cloud+ credential, sponsored by the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), a non-profit trade association that issues professional certifications for the information technology (IT) industry. CompTIA Cloud+ guides a skilled cloud professional in the mastering of all knowledge needed in a data center and to implement and secure virtualization. It also verifies the professional’s ability to analyze the system requirements prior to migrations to the cloud, as well as manage the switch by allocating cloud resources properly, making appropriate system adjustments according to the organization’s needs.
A CompTIA Cloud+ certified professional gives assurance to the employer that he or she has the theoretical and practical technical knowledge to ensure a safe, efficient but secure cloud environment.
CompTIA Cloud+: About the Certification
CompTIA Cloud+ is a mid-level career certification designed for the technical professional filling a multi-disciplinary role. CompTIA Cloud+ is for IT practitioners looking to advance their already-established cloud career and have at least two to three years of hands-on experience with IT networking, storage or data center technology. The certification is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) as meeting the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 17024 Standard. What differs it from other available certifications – e.g., Microsoft MCSA Cloud or (ISC)2 Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP) – is that CompTIA Cloud+ is job-role-based and covers cloud technologies across all vendors and solutions. What’s more, it features performance-based questions in the new Cloud+ exam (CV0-002).
It is worth noting that CompTIA also offers an option for non-technical pros who will benefit, instead, from a business-like orientation. This is the CompTIA Cloud Essentials, an entry-level, vendor-neutral certification that focuses on implications of cloud technology as essential element in a company’s IT strategy. To compare these two CompTIA certifications even further, a credential holder of the Cloud Essentials certification will work in areas related to cloud technical sales or business development, while CompTIA Cloud+ holders typically work as cloud specialists, developers or system and network administrators. Cloud Essentials certificate holders also do not need to recertify, while the Cloud+ that requires renewal every three years from the date of examination.
Getting Cloud+ Certified
So you want to get Cloud+ certified? In order to take the exam, CompTIA recommends having already the Network+ and/or Server+ certification; however, this is not a requirement. Candidates should also be familiar with hypervisor technologies. Recently, particular emphasis was placed on the required amount of work experience needed: candidates must have two to three years of system administration experience to be eligible for the CV0-002 exam, which focuses on configuration and management.
The CompTIA Cloud+ (CV0-001) retired on August 1, 2018 (English version only; the Japanese version is still valid). So what is in the new version that was released in February 2018? The new Cloud+ infrastructure certification exam (covering hybrid cloud, virtual system administration and deploying network storage resources) has five domains rather than the seven objectives tested in the previous version.
The CV0-002 EXAM OBJECTIVES (DOMAINS and PERCENTAGES) are as follows:
- Configuration and Deployment (24%)
- Security (16%)
- Maintenance (18%)
- Management (20%)
- Troubleshooting (22%)
CompTIA states that the “Cloud+ certification addresses the increased diversity of knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) required of today’s systems administrators and systems engineers and validates what is currently necessary to perform effectively on the job.”
CV0-002’s focus is on hybrid and multi-cloud environments, testing the professionals’ ability to design the proper configuration for a business by interconnecting different solutions. Test takers will also find fewer questions on the exam; in fact, there are 90 performance-based and multiple-choice Q&As. In comparison, the CompTIA Cloud+ CV0-001 exam consisted of 100 multiple-choice questions that covered one’s competency in cloud models, virtualization, infrastructure, security, resource management and business continuity. However, like the former exam, it must be completed within 90 minutes, the passing score is 750 (on a scale of 100-900) and the cost is $319 USD. To attempt the exam, you will need to purchase a voucher and contact a testing location to schedule the test.
What Is the Best Way to Train for the Cloud+ Exam?
When preparing for and prior to taking the exam, professionals have many options available. CompTIA Cloud+ Certification Training is instructor-led, but those interested in self-study can read the Official CompTIA Cloud+ Study Guide (Exam CV0-002). If already knowledge-ready to take the certification exam, they can get access to the set of practice test questions for CompTIA Cloud+ with Virtualization that cover multiple topics and can give a good idea of what kind of subjects will be covered. All testers should use the exam objectives to make sure they are covering all test areas.
Students have many other opportunities to prepare for the test with other valuable online resources. For example, they can peruse the InfoSec Institute site for cloud-oriented certification education and for a complete offer of training to fill any void in their IT knowledge and skills.
How Can I Earn CPEs or CEUs to Maintain My Cloud+ Certification?
Cloud+ Certification holders have many renewal options. They can attend a live webinar or conference, complete various college or training courses and apply them toward their CPE credits by submitting certificates of completion. CompTIA’s Continuing Education (CE) program allows the Cloud+ credential holder to extend their certification in three-year intervals.
Professionals can receive one CEU per one-hour session for watching CompTIA Plus Conference sessions. For example, one item on the agenda is “Datacenter to Cloud: Lessons Learned from an ERP Migration.” And there’s “Virtualization Best Practices”; both sessions are CEU-approved for Cloud+ certification. 50 CEUs are required for certification renewal.
(Note: There is a limit on the amount of CEUs that can be earned within a three-year cycle for webinars. CompTIA Cloud+ = 10 CEUs.)
There were also CEU-approved credits for Cloud+ for those attending the instructor training sessions of “Building Your Course Environment for the Clouds” at CompTIA Partner Summit 2018. Opportunities to earn CEUs are constantly being offered.
Skillsoft can also be considered for Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for renewing a CompTIA Cloud+ certification. (See: Pre-approved Training for CompTIA Cloud+ CEUs.) Once courses are completed, professionals need to log into their certification account to submit completed activities and receive CEUs.
Another option might be earning or renewing a qualifying non-CompTIA IT industry certification.
Is the Cloud+ Certification Worth the Effort? Salary and Job Outlook
As cloud technology becomes more of a trend with a widespread adoption, there are companies that struggle to find resources with the needed technical expertise. Cloud computing is among the hottest skill sets currently, and the job market is expected to reach a staggering $270 billion by 2020. It’s definitely a good time to be in a cloud-related career.
The cloud professionals that are currently in demand from employers include:
- Cloud Integration Specialist
- Cloud Developer
- Cloud Security Expert
- Cloud Technology Professional
- Cloud Architect
- Cloud Engineer
- Cloud System Administrator
The CompTIA Cloud+ certification is suitable for the roles above, as well as for:
- Cloud consultants
- Business analysts
- Project managers
- Data center admins
- Storage/networking professionals
- Network Administrators
- Network Engineers
- Computing Services
From a salary perspective, someone in cloud computing could earn up to $118,000.
Professionals certified in cloud technologies tend to have salaries significantly above the norm. The shortage of talent to fill those jobs motivates employers to offer top salaries to such candidates. In a 2016 IT Skills and Salary Survey, for example, IT decision-makers identified skills in cloud computing as being high in demand; one in five described the difficulty in filling cloud-related job roles. The 2017 survey showed that 28% of the respondents believed cloud computing still poses a hiring challenge.
In today’s day and age, cloud-based implementation continues to get a lot of attention, and so do those individuals with the CompTIA’s Cloud+ credential who possess the knowledge and skills required to work in a cloud environment. And as the cloud computing market continues to grow, the Cloud+ certification is sure to be of interest to a lot of cloud professionals, especially when there’s a need for more experienced job applicants.
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