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Introducing Skills Assessment for cloud teams

John McKim
John McKim

What’s the first thing every organization must migrate to the cloud?

It’s not servers or data, it’s people: the architects, developers, operations engineers, and so forth who make every other part of your cloud adoption succeed.

But it turns out that those people don’t just magically know everything they need to use the cloud safely and well — even with years of traditional IT experience under their belts. The cloud moves fast, and you need to skill up to stay ahead.

So today, we’re excited to introduce Skills Assessments from A Cloud Guru, available exclusively with Business Plus plans.

Skills Assessment: What you need to know

An ACG skills assessment is a comprehensive test of your team’s current cloud knowledge. You can think of it like a physical checkup: it sets a baseline for the health of your cloud skills  so you can identify gaps, pinpoint places to start upskilling, and track efforts over time. 

Skills Assessments currently measure AWS knowledge across several key disciplines —  Architect, Developer, DevOps, Data, and Security —  and we’ll be adding assessment options for more clouds soon.

And if those disciplines sound a lot like our Learning Paths, you’re thinking like we’re thinking. We want to help you align each team member with the right learning path for success in their role, at the pace of your business.

But here’s the coolest part: You can invite anybody on your team to take a Skills Assessment, even if they don’t currently have a seat on the ACG platform. That lets you incorporate Skills Assessments into your overall skills development strategy. (Don’t have one of those? Our in-house cloud learning experts can step in to help.)

How It Works

Skills Assessment follows a simple three-step process: Invite, Assess, and Report.

First: Invite users

If you’re a Business Plus admin, pop over to skills.acloud.guru and check out the “Invite” tab. This lets you invite as many team members to participate in the assessment as you want — either all together, or organized by logical groups. For example, it might make sense to assess your product developers separately from your SREs or corporate IT team.

Once you’ve added your team members’ email addresses, just click the big blue “Send Invitations” button to speed them on their way. You can also customize how long the assessment period stays open; the default is 14 days.

Second: Take an assessment

Each person you invite receives an email inviting them to take the assessment, along with a direct link to get started in the ACG portal. (Again, remember — no ACG seat is required to take the assessment.)

  1. Self-Assessment

Once the team member starts the assessment, we first ask them to self-assess by defining 1 primary and 0 to 2 secondary specialty disciplines, and to indicate their estimated levels in each. They can also indicate any AWS certifications they possess.

  1. Objective Assessment

Self-assessments are an important tool for understanding where your team is at, but you’ll want some objective evaluation as well. We present each team member with an adaptive 60-minute test that covers their self-identified primary and secondary disciplines.

What does “adaptive” mean? We meet the learners where they are, regardless of their self-assessment. If they are getting many questions right, the question prompts will get harder. If they’re struggling, we’ll make the questions easier until they find their level. 

Once the system has a good view of the team member’s skill level, the assessment is finished and we show the team member their results page, indicating the level they have estimated themselves at and the level ACG estimated for them on each of their selected disciplines.

Finally: Report on Results

Once all participants have completed their assessments, we’ll send an email to the ACG account admin with a link to view the results. You can also access the results directly from the admin portal.

Important note: We aggregate the results so individuals’ privacy is protected. Skills Assessments are a general tool for organization-wide skills development, and should never be used for hiring, firing, or promotion.

The first thing you’ll notice in the results view is a set of five skill classifications: Novice, Apprentice, Practitioner, Professional, and Guru. We use this taxonomy of skill across ACG, and you’ll find a handy breakdown of the levels (along with lots of other helpful guidance) in the Skills Assessment FAQ

Below the top-level results, we break down each discipline by skill level across the organization, making it easy to identify gaps. (Remember, you can make these results as granular as you want by using groups). From there, of course, it’s all about improvement, and we recommend using ACG’s business admin tools to match team members with learning paths, create study groups, and report on learning results. 

How do I integrate Skills Assessment into my overall learning strategy?

Think of Skills Assessment as your first step on the road to cloud transformation. From there, we’ll guide you through a series of best practice actions to raise your overall cloud fluency:

  1. Use learning paths for targeted upskilling

Now that you understand everyone’s baseline level of knowledge, you can move quickly to address key skill gaps across your organization. Is your DevOps team sitting at an “Apprentice” level of knowledge? Drop them into ACG’s DevOps learning path and start working toward the Practitioner skills. 

  1. Measure learning progress over time

Like a physical checkup, measuring your cloud fluency isn’t something you do once and never think about again. We recommend using Skills Assessments periodically, to check in on the growth of your team. They can also be helpful benchmarks to place on either side of a big cloud initiative, like a workload migration. 

  1. Consult our cloud professionals for a tailored learning strategy

With your Skills Assessment in hand, sit down with one of our in-house cloud learning experts. We’ll help you build a customized skills development strategy that works for your entire organization. We’ve helped thousands of businesses get the most out of cloud, and we’re here to make sure you can do the same.

Skills development may seem like a black box, but it doesn’t have to be. ACG Business Plus members can get started with Skills Assessment today.

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