Google is moving to address a chronic shortage of cloud skills necessary to advance DevOps.
Specifically, Google plans to add Professional Cloud Developer (GA), Professional Cloud Network Engineer (Beta), Professional Cloud Security Engineer (Beta) and G Suite certifications (GA) alongside Professional Cloud Architect, Professional Data Engineer and Associate Cloud Engineer certifications that already exist.
Google also plans to localize its cloud learning and certification programs in Japanese, French, German, Spanish and Portuguese to make them accessible to more people.
Rochana Golani, director of Google Cloud learning and enablement for Google, said Google is trying to increase the number of qualified engineers available to manage IT infrastructure as code. Most of the IT operations community is made up of IT administrators that don’t have much in the way of actual programming skills. The Google cloud certifications are all steeped in the site reliability engineer (SRE) principles that Google defined in 2003. As a more prescriptive instance of a DevOps practice, the goal is to make the skills needed to successfully transition to DevOps more widely accessible, said Golani.
Google is especially keen to increase the number of networking and security professionals that have demonstrated cloud skills, as the critical role these functions play in cloud application environments is often underestimated, added Golani.
Those challenges likely will only increase as organizations increasingly embrace microservices based on containers running on Kubernetes clusters that eventually will be tightly coupled to serverless computing frameworks. In fact, the first era of the cloud was defined by a comparatively simple replacement of virtual machines from on-premises IT environments with similar virtual machines residing on a shared public infrastructure. The next wave of the cloud is being defined more by so-called cloud native applications constructed using microservices. That approach is inherently more flexible from a business perspective, while paradoxically being more difficult to manage from an IT perspective.
On the upside, however, DevOps in general and SRE disciplines more specifically enable IT organizations to operate more hand in glove with the business as it grows and evolves.
Of course, none of that is achievable without the skills required to achieve that goal. Savvy IT professionals naturally will pursue certifications that enable them to earn higher salaries. But organizations that encourage their personnel to achieve those certifications should be able to at the very least engender more loyalty among IT professionals they help advance their skills.
In the meantime, it should be apparent that transformation is all but inevitable. Not every workload will move into to the cloud. But the principles applied to managing workloads in the cloud will be increasingly applied within on-premises IT environments. Those on-premises IT environments may not be as programmable and resilient as a public cloud, but the need to process data locally is not going to go away anytime soon. The challenge IT organizations are facing today is how best to define a set of best DevOps practices that can span both environments.