4 Certifications to Help You Master Cloud Testing
You need more than certifications to prove that you can actually do the work of a cloud professional. However, most IT pros only touch a subset of services during their day-to-day operations. Self-improvement without guidance can be difficult. In other words, an IT pro could be performing an operation, but inefficiently or incompletely.
This is especially true with regards to cloud testing. Often a team will write a couple unit tests, throw them into a Jenkins build, and forget about them. However, there is far more knowledge that can be gained in this respect. Effective tests reduce production bugs, which can increase revenue. With that being said, let's walk through four cloud-centric certifications that will help you master cloud testing.
1. AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate
The Solutions Architect certification is a prime choice if the objective is to understand cloud testing. Unlike most other AWS certificates offered, this one offers a broad understanding of the entire AWS cloud infrastructure. These are its primary objectives:
Architect a solution for customers based on their input.
Learn AWS best practices and implement them accordingly.
Obtain the knowledge required to design, implement, and secure applications using AWS solutions.
Every one of these bullet points will enhance your cloud testing knowledge. Learning how to design secure AWS applications entails your ability to troubleshoot them. For instance, who better to troubleshoot a leaky roof than a builder of houses? Thus who better to secure a cloud solution than the one who built it? This is the exact kind of experience you will bring to the table by earning this certificate.
Not only will the AWS Solutions Architect – Associate up your cloud testing game, but it can boost your paycheck. On average, a profession with this certification earns over $110,000 a year. That's because the certification requires both a broad and fairly deep understanding of AWS. If a company needs to load test an application, you'll be familiar with the procedure. If they require pen testing, you'll know how to plug those pesky holes in the application.
But what if your company's cloud solution is something other than AWS? Let's take a look at a couple more certificates: starting with the Azure Certified Fundamentals.
2. Microsoft Certified Azure Fundamentals (AZ-900)
One of the best parts of getting a Microsoft certification is that nearly every company uses MS products in some form or another. The second best thing about this certification is you can know next to nothing at the beginning — and be certified by the end. That's because Microsoft designed this certification with the idea that anyone can become cloud proficient. Let's be honest, they want as many professionals as possible to compete against their biggest competitor: AWS. So how exactly does this test increase your cloud testing knowledge? Let's take a look at the AZ-900 objectives.
Understand cloud concepts.
Understand core Azure services.
Understand security, privacy, compliance, and trust.
Understand Azure pricing and support
Having a broad understanding of Azure security and compliance will make your cloud testing more resilient and robust. For example, the AZ-900 will demonstrate how to spin up VM's securely and with the necessary compliance.
One of the most common mistakes made by cloud engineers is keeping ports open that should not be. The knowledge gained in the AZ-900 will show you how to verify all recommended ports are closed. Additionally, as with the Solutions Architect certification, this cert will give you a broad understanding of the entire app, from database to frontend. This sort of knowledge is invaluable to cloud testing techniques such as stress testing.
What is Stress Testing?
Stress testing is a technique that places unusually high traffic on a system. It will determine whether enough resources are allocated to the system. With knowledge gained from studying for the AZ-900, it should be easy to troubleshoot this problem. Is it properly load balanced? Are enough virtual machines spinning up to accommodate the traffic? No one will know except you — and organizations will pay big for that information.
Unfortunately, an AZ-900 certification won't be worth a whole lot if your organization uses Google Cloud. Let's cover which certification is best for cloud testing the Google cloud.
3. Google Associate Cloud Engineer
The Google Associate Cloud Engineer is the go-to certification for those who are fairly new to the cloud and want to prove their chops. The GACE is similar in difficulty level to the AWS Solutions Architect, yet, a bit more advanced than the AZ-900.
However, the more advanced the certificate, the more cloud testing knowledge you'll have. With that being said, let's take a quick look at the certification's objectives and how they will improve your QA strategy.
Set up a cloud solution environment.
Plan and configure a cloud solution.
Deploy and Implement a cloud solution.
Ensure Successful operation of cloud solution.
Configure access and security.
A robust cloud testing strategy is critical to ensure successful operation of a cloud solution. One of those strategies is vulnerability testing.
What is Vulnerability Testing?
Vulnerability testing is defined as using a suite of tools to scan a system for security challenges and compliance issues. Luckily, Google Cloud has a program called the Security Command Center. By the end of the Google Associate Cloud Engineer exam, you'll be intimately aware of what the command center can do.
What is the Google Security Command Center?
The Google Security Command Center scans for threats, security compliance, and vulnerabilities. Once the scan is finished, it will generate a report that outlines the issue, and provides step-by-step procedures for remediation. By earning the Google Associate Cloud Engineer certification, you will have no problem filling the role of vulnerability tester at your organization.
Last but certainly not least, I'd like to circle back to AWS. AWS has a certificate that is critical for any professional transitioning from a manual testing role to a bona fide cloud testing role. Oftentimes, a cloud testing strategy is planned and executed by a software development engineer in test or SDET. Let's look at how the AWS Certified Developer cert can assist a manual tester's transition to an SDET role.
4. AWS Certified Developer – Associate
It is no secret that many manual QA testers are feeling the pressure to transition to a new role. The quicker automated tests can be created, the quicker a product can go live — ergo the quicker a profit can be made. So, if you are a manual QA tester vying for a SDET role, which certification would be best to earn? That would undoubtedly be the AWS Certified Developer – Associate.
In order to pass the AWS Certified Developer exam, a candidate must demonstrate competency in the following areas:
Demonstrate an understanding of core AWS services, uses, and basic AWS architecture best practices.
Demonstrate proficiency in developing, deploying, and debugging cloud-based applications using AWS.
The first bullet point sounds just like the AWS Solutions Architect listed above, but a certain phrase in the second bullet point may catch your attention: debugging cloud-based applications.
The role of a Certified Cloud Developer is to be the go-to employee for any and all cloud related issues. Also, the role will take business requirements and translate them into workable production code. In addition to learning how to functionally test a cloud environment, cloud developers will learn how to integrate automated tests into a CI/CD pipeline. This is an invaluable skill that organizations are looking for everywhere.
Should Testers Get AWS Certified Developer-Certified?
In short: absolutely. Assuming you are a manual tester, then there is a good chance you already have a great understanding of unit testing. Even better, QA testers have a thorough understanding of an organization's specific systems. This is why it is so highly encouraged for manual testers to become SDETs.
The Cloud Developer certification will show you how to integrate those tests and make automated testing the forefront of your organization's testing strategy. By getting this cert, you'll validate the following knowledge and skills:
Integrating unit tests into a build pipeline.
Debugging integration test issues, such as SSL certificate validations and firewalls problems.
Create lambda functions to perform tests when certain events are triggered.
Trigger AWS Inspector via a CloudWatch event.
Cloud testing is an important and sought after skill. A cloud is only as good as the folks who test it. We've covered a broad range of certifications from the three heavy hitters in the cloud world: Microsoft, Google, and Amazon. Whether you are a manual tester vying for a lateral transfer, or a software developer looking to cultivate your cloud testing strategy, any of these certifications can help you succeed in that mission.