Amazon offers cloud certifications; more proof that AWS is all grown up

Over the past year, we’ve seen more and more evidence that Amazon(s amzn) sees Amazon Web Services as a real business — not a sideline or distraction. And, as AWS tries to build credibility among enterprise accounts, it’s started to mimic its IT elders by launching a formal partner program and a bona fide conference called AWS: Reinvent. Now it’s drawn up AWS certifications that would, in theory, show that a person has the skills needed to spec out, build, run and manage AWS implementations.

Here’s how AWS lists the three broad job descriptions covered by the certs:

  • Solutions Architect: a technical individual who is skilled at designing distributed applications and systems on the AWS platform. A Solution Architect generally has knowledge across a broad array of disciplines, including distributed application architecture, networking, infrastructure, and security.
  • SysOps Administrator: a technical individual who is responsible for the operational health of an application on the AWS cloud. A SysOps Administrator has in-depth knowledge of the application or service they operate, including how the application is constructed, deployed, and automated, as well as the controls and monitoring points available.
  • Developer: a technical individual who has designed and built an AWS-based application. A Developer has involvement with or responsibility for operating the application on the AWS platform.

Older tech companies — Microsoft(s msft), IBM(s ibm), VMware(s vmw), Cisco Systems(s csco) — have long relied on certifications as a way for people — either those inside IT shops or at third-party VARs and integrators (and those seeking jobs in either camp) — to show that they have what it takes to succeed working with specific technologies. As with those programs, AWS candidates must pass an exam to get their credentials. Testing will be administered by Kryterion.

Some of the more valuable certs in recent years include the VMware Certified Professional (VCP), Cisco Certified International Expert (CCIE) and Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP). And Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), a more vendor-agnostic certification, is also a top draw for potential hiring companies.

In another nod to the IT concerns of enterprise accounts, AWS also launched a security blog this week. The news comes just after Microsoft opened up Infrastructure-as-a-Service capabilities in Azure that are more directly competitive with AWS and Google gears up for the public release of Google Compute Engine, which I expect will happen at Google I/O in May. While AWS dominates public cloud infrastructure by virtue of its head start, many enterprise customers in particular will likely test out these rivals as well — nobody wants cloud lock-in.

Still, given the traction AWS has among startups and increasingly at bigger businesses, I’d expect to see these certifications cropping up in lots of job postings going forward.

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