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5 Questions with Google Cloud Director of Learning Rochana Golani

Thousands of developers and IT pros will flock to Google's annual cloud conference next week in San Francisco, and they'll reskill and upskill with sessions, panels, and hands-on training; some will take Google cloud certifications home with them after it all. ITPro Today had the chance to catch up with Rochana Golani, director of Google Cloud Learning and Enablement this week via email ahead of Google Cloud Next. We asked her about the Google cloud certifications that are available, why IT pros should consider cloud certifications in general, and what to expect from her team at Google Cloud Next. 

ITPro Today: Google introduced new cloud certifications earlier this year. Please tell me more about the new certifications and how your team identifies new areas of opportunity for IT pros to grow their cloud expertise with Google.

Google's Rochana Golani

Rochana Golani: Our team develops training and certifications to support the evolving job roles in the industry that are being driven by rapidly evolving technologies. Looking at the cloud skills gap and the demand for GCP skills, we are going all in to bridge the gap.

In January, the Google Cloud Certification team added four new certifications built for the evolving job roles that organizations need in order to succeed in the cloud. These certifications were created so individuals can exhibit expertise and enterprises can identify talent capable of leveraging Google Cloud technologies.

Professional Cloud Developer: Build scalable, cloud-native applications using Google recommended practices and tools that leverage fully managed services.

Professional Cloud Network Engineer: Knowledge of GCP networking services and the ability to design and deploy hybrid IT network architecture.

Professional Cloud Security Engineer: Design and implement a secure infrastructure on GCP based on general security concepts and GCP-specific knowledge.

G Suite certification: Measures an individual's ability to work, address problems, and manage tasks using G Suite’s comprehensive productivity and collaboration tools in the workplace.

ITPro Today: Aside from running exams and training, what is your team focused on at Next 2019, and how does it differ from previous years?

RG: Like previous years, we are continuing boot camps (immersive technical training) and testing for 6 certifications, which are all generally available now.

This year, we are focused on three areas at Next ‘19:

Providing more benefits for our Google Cloud Certified community: This year, we offered our community members chances to earn special invitations to attend Next ‘19 and have planned some nice perks. Our community members will have access to reserved seating at the keynotes. They will be able to join us at an expanded certification lounge to relax and enjoy refreshments and snacks throughout the day. On Tues., Apr. 9, from 5:00 to 6:00 PM, we are also hosting a happy hour and opportunities to meet with senior Google leaders. Last but not least, all of our members will receive bright blue Google Cloud branded jackets and special medals recognizing their certification achievements.

Offering developers more hands-on Learning Experiences: We are offering many more hands-on learning experiences this year. We are doing this in several different ways. We’ve expanded the size and hours for our hands-on labs space in the DevZone. Developers can try over 375 hands-on labs for free as soon as the event opens at 8 AM, Tues., Apr. 9 to Thurs., Apr. 11. On Tuesday night, we are hosting a special late night labs session until 11 PM. We have also built Showcase Experiments into the DevZone, which are labs where anyone can test out our products in a sandbox environment.

Scaling the hands-on learning beyond Next ‘19: We are also focused this year on online gamified learning, making it fun, engaging, and more relevant to the modern learner. We are excited to launch Cloud Hero online. Last year, we launched Cloud Hero at Next ‘18, as a gamified DevOps challenge with one winner at the end earning the title of Cloud Hero. This year, we’ve expanded on this concept so that thousands of players can play together online. We’ll be doing it live for the first time at Next ‘19 on Apr. 9 from 5 PM to 11 PM. Up to 50 global viewing parties will be joining us and competing live against each other and with players at Next ‘19.

ITPro Today: What are some of the barriers to people working in enterprise IT in getting certified? How does Google help address these roadblocks?

RG: As cloud adoption continues to grow, traditional IT job roles are shifting to reflect a broader mandate that bridges technology and business strategy. We’ve developed a portfolio of certifications that are more role-based and addresses the job roles we consider to be critical for success in the cloud today and in the future. 

We are focused on developing training and certifications that support the evolving job roles in the industry that are being driven by rapidly evolving technologies.

We are also committed to delivering training that is affordable and accessible to all. We want to empower learners to take the necessary steps to expand their cloud and technology education.

ITPro Today: What kind of things is your team working beyond preparing for Next?

RG: We are committed to delivering training that is affordable and accessible to all. We want to empower learners to take the necessary steps to expand their cloud and technology education. We are always exploring and keeping a pulse on what’s interesting, so you will continue to see us introduce more role-based certifications in the future. Within the certification team, we are always looking at trends in jobs and how they are affected by cloud technology. Some innovative technologies actually create new roles that are not yet being hired for. So we should certainly expect updates and new certification that map to future job roles being released soon.

ITPro Today: If someone was on the fence about the value of cloud certifications, for Google Cloud or others, what would you tell them?

RG: I would tell them that there is a massive demand for employees who are well-versed in cloud technology. In a survey of IT managers, OpsRamp found that 94% of the survey respondents said it was somewhat difficult to find candidates with the right technology and business skills for driving digital innovation, much of it in the cloud.

Becoming certified in the cloud, no matter the company is helping to build their career. According to Indeed.com, job searches for cloud computing roles -- such as cloud infrastructure, cloud security, cloud architect, and cloud engineer -- increased 108%.

For IT professionals looking to upskill, I would also refer them to the Global Knowledge IT Skills and Salary Report. Cloud computing certifications make up most of the top five paying IT certifications, with Google Cloud Certified Professional Cloud Architect ranking #1.

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