Cloud Credential Council: Stop Trying with Wrong Cloud Computing Trainings – with Marcel Heilijgers

by Mirek Burnejko

Marcel Heilijgers

This is an interview with Marcel Heilijgers. Marcel is the Executive Director of the Cloud Credential Council.

Today we talk about 5 new certification programs:

  1. CCC Professional Cloud Solution Architect
  2. CCC Professional Cloud Developer
  3. CCC Professional Cloud Service Manager
  4. CCC Professional Cloud Administrator
  5. CCC Professional Cloud Security and Governance

In this interview you will find:

  • What are benefits from these programs for you and your employers?
  • How to prepare to these certifications?
  • What combination of cloud certifications can help you to find a great job in 2013?


Mirek Burnejko: It’s a pleasure to have you here Marcel. Tell us first something about you and your role in Cloud Credential Council.

Marcel Heilijgers: Thanks for the opportunity Mirek. For those that do not know me yet, my name is Marcel Heilijgers and I am the Executive Director of the Cloud Credential Council. The CCC is an organization with a mission to accelerate successful cloud adoption through training & certification. I joined the CCC from Microsoft, a company that underwent a tremendous internal transition from a traditional software company to a leading cloud company. A key factor in achieving this shift was the internal training on cloud. Without this training I believe it would not have been possible to change such a large organization so fast, and that is when I realized the value of training can have in driving a strategic business model change.

We are now on a journey to make the Cloud Credential Council the leading global organization in cloud training and certification, and establish the CCC certifications as the de-facto standards in the market.

Ultimately the CCC is going to have the biggest impact on the global cloud certification market you will have ever seen ;-).

MB: Can you describe to my readers your actual programs – Cloud Essentials and Virtualization Essentials Professional?

MH: Sure, Cloud Essentials and Virtualization Essentials were developed on the basis of a request by ING Financial Services to prepare their organization for a transition to the cloud. This resulted in the establishment of the CCC and a joint effort to develop the courses and exams was undertaken together with ITpreneurs, CompTIA, ING, and cloud experts from various organizations such as VMWare, IBM, and others.

The current offerings are intended for individuals in business and technology roles who would like to gain a broad, solid understanding of virtualization and cloud. It is not intended for the expert level, but rather for those who wish to gain that wide perspective. The experts should take the more in-depth Professional level courses and certifications which I’ll cover shortly.

MB: What are benefits from these programs for us (employees) and for employers?

MH: Times are a-changin’, and nowhere is this more true than in the field of IT. Adoption of cloud can have significant impact on an organization, and I would encourage all to prepare and embrace the change, and the best way to do this is to ensure you become a key cloud expert in your organization. I will not claim that expertise can be gained through training alone but training will help accelerate this. The certification is the icing on the cake – the proof of your knowledge.

From the perspective of employers training and certification is just as important. If you are planning to adopt cloud computing, enabling your employees to skill up on cloud will ensure that there is less resistance to change, and the adoption will be faster and better. Cloud adoption can have an exponential impact on business value creation, so every single day that can be gained is a significant $ value gain. I would encourage every organization to initiate broad company-wide cloud training programs.

MB: You are going to introduce 5 new cloud computing programs? Why you decided for this step?

MH: Well, the Cloud Technology Associate certification was an important first step to establish a baseline if you will. For some that will be all that they will need. Others will want to further deepen their knowledge in a particular domain. Our research showed that there is significant pent-up demand for Professional level cloud certifications that cover specific job role domains such as the Solutions Architect, Service Manager etc. So we gathered some of the best minds in the industry and started development on the syllabi. These are being peer-reviewed by cloud experts that work at leading organizations like Microsoft, IBM, VMWare, Deloitte, CapGemini. to ensure all angles are covered. And these will be released to the public shortly.

And this is just the beginning. We are already planning on expanding the portfolio by starting working groups on BigData and Cloud, Cloud Forensics, OpenStack, Cloud for Healthcare, etc. and there will be many more to come. We also believe that as cloud purchasing decisions are in many cases shifting away from IT departments towards business units, there is significant demand for cloud training for business roles as well. All in all, the CCC curriculum will grow into the most complete and in-depth cloud curriculum ever.

Cloud Credentrial Council Certification Framework

MB: First step is Cloud Credential Council Associate. Why the Cloud Technology Associate is required for more advanced certifications?

MH: Well actually to correct you, it is not a requirement. Having said that, it will be a natural progression for many, to start with the CTA and then move up to one of the other tracks, but it is not a requirement. It is perfectly possible for someone with the right background to go straight to the Professional level courses. Someone who is a Solutions Architect today, could go straight to the Professional level certification track Cloud Solutions Architect. We do provide minimum knowledge level recommendations and it will certainly be impossible to pass the exams if you do not have the required knowledge but if you are an expert we will not insist someone go through the basics again.

MB: For me, the most interesting are Cloud Solutions Architect and Cloud Developer. Do you think we should see more job offers that require these certifications?

MH: These are two very interesting tracks indeed and they have been developed by the best minds in the industry, with lead authors that work at leading organizations like CapGemini and Deloitte and development contribution by cloud experts that work at leading technology vendors such as Microsoft, VMWare, and many other organizations large and small. So to answer your question of ‘will we see CCC certifications become an integral part of job offers in the future?’ I certainly believe so because it will facilitate the hiring process. There are a lot of people with cloud in their title but how do you assess the knowledge level quickly? By establishing the de-facto standard around cloud certification this will facilitate the hiring process tremendously on both sides of the table. Furthermore I can also imagine this to become a key component of RFPs in the future for example where ‘x number of CCC certified Cloud Solutions Architects’ could be an explicit RFP requirement.

MB: How to prepare to your certifications? Are trainings required?

Cloud Credential CouncilMH: Yes. Trainings are an integral part of the experience. In order to ensure a high-quality experience throughout we work with CCC Accredited Training Partners, CCC Accredited Trainers and CCC Accredited Courseware. By the way we are looking to expand our partner base rapidly, so any high-quality training partner out there interested in offering cloud training is encouraged to apply, as well as interested trainers and courseware providers. Feel free to reach out directly to me.

At the Professional level, the exam is an integral part of the course. CCC exams are always proctored and the levels are high. The combination of quality material, quality trainers, quality exams are the ingredients to ensure a good high value experience for the candidates.

MB: Can you describe us how a training for your cloud certifications looks like?

MH: For the Cloud Essentials and Virtualization Essentials courses there are various options available: self-paced eLearning, Virtual Classroom, and Classroom type sessions. For the Professional level courses we are looking at Classroom and virtual Classroom at this stage. Trainings are targeted to be 3-day at the Professional level.

MB: What other certifications from other vendors can help us to find a great job in 2013?

MH: Vendor certifications are great. Our philosophy by the way is that our certifications and vendor certifications are not mutually exclusive, but rather perfect yin-yang complements.

We highly encourage candidates to get both certifications: CCC + vendor.

As a matter of fact we will be speaking with many vendors to see how we can provide integrated dual-track trainings. It is difficult to say which vendor certification is more important compared to another vendor certification. What I see is that leading vendors all have an excellent cloud offering that is continuously expanding. Whether an individual chooses VMWare or Microsoft or IBM in addition to the CCC certifications really depends on where the technology need is.

MB: Thank you so much Marcel.

MH: You are welcome, it was my pleasure Mirek.

[This is part of the Interviews with Vendors Series]