In the press

Why has the global pandemic increased demand for certifications in cloud computing?

India — September 13, 2021

By Divyalok Chetan Sharma, Vice President, India and SAARC at Pearson VUE

Certification continues to create value in the global IT industry and just as the global pandemic has accelerated the adoption of cloud computing across many different sectors, credentials in these technologies are becoming more coveted than ever before. Many companies in India and all around the world, transitioned to a work-from-home model at the start of the COVID-19 crisis last year, meaning many key business operations had to be carried out on a virtual platform (perhaps even for the first time). Companies adapted to their new operating environments by investing more in popular cloud infrastructures such as Google Cloud, Amazon Web Services, and Microsoft Azure to ensure ‘business as usual’. Without the right technology solutions in place, many industries risked coming to a screeching halt at the start of the pandemic. Yet even before COVID-19, cloud computing was established as a driving force as businesses focused on investing in innovation, reducing their operating costs, and becoming more efficient in their working processes.

Fast forward to now and technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR), and virtual reality (VR) are accelerating demand for cloud computing across many industry sectors. Underpinning a vast number of business systems, cloud-based applications such as software-as-a-service (SaaS), platform-as-a-service (PaaS), infrastructure as a service (IaaS), and desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) have helped many businesses keep running during the pandemic. Additionally, these tools have been utilized more in areas such as telemedicine and virtual health (where there has been more demand for these services over the last year). Many providers have developed innovative new cloud offerings aimed at improving the safety, quality, and efficiency of healthcare, in response to some of the challenges which the sector has been tackling around COVID-19.

According to Gartner, a leading global research and advisory firm, in the aftermath of this global health crisis, worldwide end-user spending on public cloud services is forecast to grow 23.1% in 2021 to total $332.3 billion 1. The increased adoption of technologies enabled by cloud computing, has shown that regular investment in a company’s training and certification programs is needed. IT teams require relevant credentials to keep up-to-date with the latest advancements in their field and to solve real business as well as ‘real world’ challenges.

Technology experts know that cloud certifications help boost careers

A recent global survey by Pearson VUE revealed that of all IT certifications earned in 2020, 28% were in cloud computing, representing a 164% growth from the year before 2. Furthermore, 38.6% of respondents from India agreed that the pandemic had influenced them in obtaining an IT certification. Increasing numbers of IT professionals are seeing the range of benefits that certification brings; by validating their expertise with an industry-recognized credential, they can demonstrate that they have the relevant skills to lead on initiatives for their organization (in specialisms such as cloud computing).

With the changes that businesses have had to navigate through the course of the pandemic, so have their expectations around certification shifted also. New certification programs are emerging from many well-known companies in areas such as IT governance and IT risk in response to some of the new priorities that the pandemic has introduced such as remote people management and business continuity around workplace sickness. Increasingly, we’re seeing role-based cloud computing certifications alongside certifications in a very specific or niche area of technical expertise.

Keeping up with advances in technology is what our survey showed really motivates professionals to get certified in a specific area (such as the latest cloud computing technologies). 73% of candidates pursued IT certification to obtain necessary skills and enhance job performance. The increased reliance on technology caused by the global pandemic has created a sense of urgency for IT skills and drove an additional 30% of candidates to pursue certification.

61% of candidates who hoped to advance or to be promoted as a result of taking their IT certification exams received a promotion by the time they had completed our survey. When asked whether they had achieved their goal of certification, candidates most concerned with upskilling (82%) had the highest rate of success.

Cloud computing only set to increase in popularity post-pandemic

When candidates were asked about the likelihood of re-certifying over the next 12 months, 60% of candidates in India responded with ‘very likely’. The specialties which had the greatest level of interest are cloud computing, networking and wireless, virtualization, cybersecurity, security, and servers. In fact, the research revealed that by 2022, cloud computing certifications are forecast to grow by 78%.

Cloud computing has been increasing in popularity as one of the most crucial skillsets in the IT industry in recent years and the global pandemic has only accelerated more widespread adoption and better recognition of the value certifications in this area provide. According to Gartner, continued remote working in 2021 will lead to increased spending on DaaS and IaaS. It predicts that both of these segments will grow by 47.7% and 52.2% respectively this year 3.

With many businesses migrating over to cloud-based applications to manage complex workloads as well as remote working during the pandemic, these organizations have seen first-hand what is required to quickly scale up this effort - professionals with expertise in this field and a desire to upskill. The increasing demand for secure, scalable, cost-effective, and reliable technology solutions has resulted in significant investment in cloud infrastructures. Specialists in this field have already proved their value but have many evolutions of technology to benefit from in years to come, as they offer their skills to address increasingly complex ‘real world’ challenges.

a version of this article was published in ‘The Hindustan Times’ in August 2021

1 'Gartner Forecasts Worldwide Public Cloud End-User Spending to Grow 23% in 2021', April 2021

2 Compared to previous Pearson VUE ‘Value of IT Certification’ report

3 Gartner forecast, ‘Gartner Forecasts India Public Cloud End-User Spending to Total $4.4 Billion in 2021’, April 2021