Entry Level Cloud Certification

About mid-way through 2022 I was looking for the next step in my learning journey. Earlier in the year I had taken on an architecture role and saw it fit to start branching out from purely network infrastructure related concepts. It seemed like a good time to start gaining broader skillsets and knowledge. For me, cloud seemed like the right path to take. To be honest, I would sit in certain meetings and hear phrases and acronyms that would go right over my head. My objective was to gain some base-level knowledge around cloud concepts. Not that there is anything wrong with this, but personally, I didn’t want to jump straight into one of the major cloud vendors learning paths. I wanted that vendor-agnostic approach to get the basics down first. By basics I mean characteristics of cloud computing (what makes something a cloud offering) and hopefully pick up and understand some of this terminology that I was not grasping. That lead me to start looking at some of the CompTIA options. Given the new role I had taken on, I wanted something that gave me a good mix of high level technical and business related concepts. This would hopefully help me “speak the language” when it comes to groups and individuals outside of the IT department. CompTIA has two main options for cloud related studies, the Cloud+ and the Cloud Essentials+ certifications. After a little research, I landed on wanting to prepare for the Cloud Essentials+ (CLO-002) exam.

Reasoning for Cloud Essentials+ Journey
A big reason that I went with preparing for the Cloud Essentials+ exam was that it covers that mix of technical and business principles that I was looking for to start building my knowledge around cloud. This really is an entry-level path and my starting cloud knowledge was practially zero, so I felt this was a really good option for me. The curriculum started with the basics which is what I really wanted. Personally, I typically try to make sure I hit and reinforce the basics when I am learning something new so that I do not miss something important which can make learning future concepts more difficult. You definitely do not have the follow what I do, find what is right for you. I will say that my method typically takes longer when it comes to cerfications, but I am alright with it. One of the early topics that was covered was the main cloud characteristics, as defined by NIST. According to NIST, the five characteristics that a cloud service must have are:

1. On-demand self service
2. Broad network access
3. Resource pooling
4. Rapid elasticity
5. Measured service

This is exactly what I wanted to see early on because I wanted that base level understanding of what makes up a clould service and be able to have somewhat intelligent conversations regarding cloud services. Some other topics that I enjoyed covering were:

  • Cloud Service Models
    • Software as a Service (SaaS)
    • Platform as a Service (PaaS)
    • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
  • Cloud Deployment Models
    • Private Cloud
    • Public Cloud
    • Hybrid Cloud
  • Cloud Migration Types
  • Disaster Recovery Concepts
    • Recovery Time Objective (RTO)
    • Recovery Point Objective (RPO)
    • (The two sub-concepts above are examples of acronyms I would hear out in the wild and not know what they were.)

Preparing for the Cloud Essentials+ Exam
To prepare for the Cloud Essentials+ Exam, I used the following materials:

  • CompTIA Cloud Essentials+ Exam Prep Bundle:
    • Official Study Guide (ebook)
    • CompTIA CertMaster Practice
    • Exam Voucher and Retake Voucher
  • CBT Nuggets course for Cloud Essentials+
  • Pluralsight learning path for Cloud Essentials+
  • Anki cards throughout the entire journey for review as there are a lot of concepts that you should be able to understand and explain.

How it’s Going
I found that preparing for the Cloud Essentials+ exam was just what I was looking for in my intro to cloud concepts journey. I was able to take and pass the exam near the end of 2022. One thing that I have started doing somewhat recently is documenting my learning journey in blog form as I go. I will typically take a concept that I am learning and write up a blog post about it. I find that it not only helps solidify the knowledge, but also allows me to practice writing, which I really enjoy. You can find my Cloud Essentials+ Journey series on my blog site. Happy learning!

Featured image photo credit – A.J. Murray
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Published by Tim Bertino

Systems Architect passionate about solutions and design.

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