Until the end of the year, you can sign up for free certification prep with Pluralsight Skills or A Cloud Guru. But there’s a lot on offer, so how do you know which one to go for? If you’re going to invest your time to go for a certification, we want to help you make the best decision.
In this article, we cover which free certification courses you can take, and how to tell which one is right for you. If you’d prefer to watch a video instead of reading, click here.
What free courses can I take during Cloud Happy?
- AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner
- AZ-900 Microsoft Azure Fundamentals
- Google Cloud Digital Leader
- Hashicorp Certified: Terraform Associate
- Certified Kubernetes Administrator
We will start you off with free access to these courses on A Cloud Guru or Pluralsight Skills. And when we say free, we mean genuinely free — we just want you to be #cloudhappy! In addition, we will send you weekly study guides with curated learning programs and resources to prepare you to get certified.
During this time, we will also be running live study groups on our Discord Community hub. You can talk directly to the course authors, ask questions, meet fellow students, and share your feedback.
Choosing your Cloud Happy course
Ever hear of choice overload? It’s anxiety caused by having too many options, like having to choose between a hundred different streaming shows. Let’s lessen that anxiety by going through each certification on offer and whether or not you should take it.
1. Kubernetes — Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA)
Let’s start by diving right into the deep end. Kubernetes manages a cluster of computers to run a whole bunch of container-packaged applications in a resilient way.
If you’re new to technology, then this is NOT the place for you to start. In fact, out of the five learning prep courses on offer, the CKA is the only one that has prerequisites. This is because you need to already understand Linux, TCP/IP, and containers.
If you do already understand these, and you have either a lot of curiosity about Kubernetes or a strong desire to work with it at a detailed level, then this option might interest you.
Kubernetes is a very useful tool, but most people do not need to manage their own Kubernetes clusters. However, if you are already working in an organization that uses Kubernetes — or they have decided to start using it and won’t let the experts at the cloud vendors manage it for them at scale — then this might be the right option for you.
2.Terraform — HashiCorp Certified: Terraform Associate
Next up, let’s look at Terraform. Terraform is a tool to manage Infrastructure as Code. Basically, instead of either pressing lots of buttons in web consoles or using vendor-specific tools, Terraform lets you create, change, and tear down virtual or service-based “resources” (whatever those might be) in an open-source and cross-platform way.
Because you are defining your computing infrastructure in code files, you can use the same principles and best practices from software development here, too.
Terraform is a very valuable tool, and many organizations are either already using it or starting to. So getting yourself the HashiCorp Certified: Terraform Associate certification could be a strong boost to your career.
Right from the get-go, Ned Bellavance starts his course with very accessible “taco” analogies to let anyone come along for the ride — even while he explains “Declarative” approaches and “Idempotency”. Those might sound confusing now, but it won’t be long before you’re able to explain them to your friends!
3. AWS — AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner (CCP)
Amazon Web Services is still the most-used cloud service. Most companies use AWS in some way, and if you’re looking to progress your tech career, you can’t go wrong by learning AWS. Amazon pretty much defined this space — by relentlessly creating and improving new services and features — and they show absolutely no signs of slowing down.
Another reason to take this course is it’s taught by the amazing Kesha Williams. She is often praised for how naturally she explains concepts to learners of all backgrounds, so you can jump into this track with confidence.
4. Google — Google Cloud Certified Cloud Digital Leader
Google is no slouch when it comes to innovation, either. The Google Cloud Platform (GCP) is often given top marks and “Leader” status by research organizations like Gartner and Forrester, especially in areas like Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence.
Even though GCP is trailing behind AWS and Azure in market share, the Cloud Digital Leader certification is the first step on the path to some of the industry’s highest-paid technology certifications.
While all of the certifications on offer represent real skills with valuable tech, there’s a lot of demand for people who really know what they’re doing with GCP.
Should you choose this option, Joe Lowery will be your very friendly guide with his brand-new Google Cloud Certified Cloud Digital Leader course. He’s very engaging and will definitely take care of you on this journey.
5. Azure — AZ-900 Microsoft Azure Fundamentals
Finally, let’s take a look at Azure! Microsoft has been aggressively building out their cloud offering to compete with AWS, and they have made huge progress. They have already significantly narrowed the market share gap and more organizations are adopting Azure—meaning, of course, that they want their employees to know how to use it effectively.
If you are already working in an organization that uses Microsoft technologies, then learning Azure is likely to be an excellent choice for you. The same goes for if you’re looking to apply for a role in such an organization.
Lars Klint’s magnificent approach to teaching our AZ-900 Microsoft Azure Fundamentals course includes lots of easy-to-understand visual analogies. You might even find that his quirky humor and love of LEGO distract you from the fact that you are learning, but this won’t slow you down in the least. Rather, it will help you forge ahead with a smile.
Key Points Summary
So, here’s a tl;dr breakdown of the points above:
AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner
Amazon Web Services is the most-used cloud and a great place to start if you are new to cloud.
AZ-900 Microsoft Azure Fundamentals
Azure is the second most-used cloud service so if your organization or the company you hope to work at uses Microsoft primarily, this is the cert for you.
Google Cloud Certified Cloud Digital Leader
Google’s service is consistently highly ranked as a “Leader” in areas like Machine Learning and Artificial intelligence making it a good choice if that is important to you.
Certified Kubernetes Administrator
This is the only certification prep we are offering that has a prerequisite, so you’ll want to sign up for this one if you want to take your Kubernetes experience to the next level.
HashiCorp Certified: Terraform Associate
Terraform is a very valuable tool that allows you to manage infrastructure as code and is used by many organizations, making this certification a strong way to boost your career.
The best choice is to make a choice
All of these options are good for you, so the only mistake would be to not make a choice at all! When your approach is to keep learning, you will never get farther away from the destination of self-improvement.
Ready to get started? Click here to choose a course and make yourself that little bit more awesome.