It is often suggested that that there is a global shortage of software engineers, developers and related disciplines such as data scientists, database administrators and data analytics professionals. Even if there’s not a ‘global’ shortage, it is perhaps reasonable to suggest that there are national and regional imbalances, which often lead to a perceived shortfall.
“According to one study from Michael Page recruiters, “The top five most in-demand professions in the world are software engineers and developers, followed by electronics engineers, mechanical engineers, nurses and doctors.”
Software skills gap
To put it simply, it’s not hard to find reports relating to the software skills gap and the efforts being made by learning institutions worldwide that are attempting to address the issue. But shouldn’t the IT vendors themselves take more responsibility here? Yes, obviously, but the potential problem there is that every vendor will typically be keen to promote its own agenda, own methodology and approach to implementation and (perhaps most restrictively of all) its own proprietary platform and tools.
Attempting to provide a completely vendor-agnostic approach to learning the cloud analytics trade are a group of IT firms who have come together to form the Cloud Analytics Academy. But is this really a fully blown training and certification program that professionals would want to list on their resume, or is this more vendor spin and marketing?
The names behind this new ‘school of cloud’ training and certification program are data warehouse specialist Snowflake Computing, data warehouse automation firm WhereScape, open source data integration player Talend, business intelligence software and big data analytics company Looker and one other cloud company you may have heard of called Amazon Web Services (AWS).
Three training tracks
The academy exists to provide online training courses for technical workers but also more commercially focused managers, analysts and business intelligence professionals. Three training tracks are offered, with anyone who completes all three levels being awarded the lofty accolade of the ‘Master’ certification. The tracks break down as follows:
- Executive Fast Track – Learn the key technologies and techniques to foster an effective cloud analytics team.
- Cloud Foundation Track – Become proficient with the fundamental building blocks of cloud analytics.
- Modern Data Analytics Track – Learn advanced technical concepts to propel your cloud analytics.
Snowflake’s chief technical evangelist Kent Graziano is also on the curriculum design team for the Cloud Analytics Academy itself. Graziano insists that he has seen the the demand for cloud data analytics professionals growing at an astounding rate. He suggests that companies realize that they are using IT, leveraging the cloud model and so logically owning data — but that that, today, these same companies also want to extract ‘business insight’ out of that data.
“Organizations of all sizes now face enormous pressure to deliver analytics faster and at a lower cost than ever before and many are looking to the cloud to address these challenges,” said Mark Budzinski, CEO of WhereScape. “We are excited to partner with Snowflake to help data professionals gain the knowledge needed to maximize the benefits cloud data warehousing offers, and understand how automation can help IT be more agile in their development and operational efforts to deliver value to the business faster.”
The Academy curriculum features experts from Snowflake, AWS, Talend, WhereScape — and also Duo Security, Age of Learning, Sharethrough and content management specialist YellowHammer.
As we have explained before on Forbes, a data warehouse is a central federated repository of integrated data from one or more disparate sources. Firms might use a cloud data warehouse to store both current and historical data from various enterprise systems in one central space. Onward from the data warehouse we break out in ‘data marts’, which are dedicated chunks of data specific to a particular job or department.
School of cloud, does it rock?
We asked above whether this was contrived vendor spin or a fully blown training and certification program to list on your resume? The answer is probably no… and maybe.
The training courses are available to watch anytime online and registration took just 30 seconds. Each module or track is presented by one or more speakers looking impartially at a real subject such as: why do cloud analytics, understanding cloud infrastructure for data analytics and so on.
Each track is composed of four to five 20-minute courses. To ‘pass’ each course you need to complete the corresponding quiz at the end of each one. Each user is then invited to, “Share the certification with your peers, your managers and on social media such as LinkedIn.”
So, this is not quite an MIT accredited certification, but it is vendor-agnostic ‘learnings’ offered, for free… and so is well worth a look.
Written by: Adrian Bridgwater
10th December 2017