Cloud Certification for Managers

A couple of years ago I started working with teams at Twitter working on making public cloud offerings available to our developers, and as part of my ramp up, I started taking Google’s Cloud Architect training classes for certification. I recently participated in a webinar about certification where I particularly focused on the value it provides for managers. Here are my prep notes, followed by a link to the webinar to view.

Tell us a bit about your daily role? What are the types of projects you are working on?

I lead a group of teams in Twitter’s Platform organization called Infrastructure Automation. We focus on scaling and automating Twitter’s hybrid cloud infrastructure. 

In my role, I spend a majority of my time on technical and organizational strategy. We are working on standardizing our on-premise fleet automation to provide a more cloud-like developer experience, while also providing our engineers access to cloud native solutions for certain workloads. 

How would you encourage someone new to Cloud to set a goal of achieving a certification?

If you’re new to Cloud, you’re probably stumbling on various technologies as you experiment, but you might not be aware of the full breadth of options available, so you might not know there’s a better solution for the problem you’re trying to solve, but you’re just using the thing that’s familiar, or right in front of you. I think working toward certification helps you see the big picture of how all the technologies fit together, and which solutions are optimized for which problems.

From a recruiting perspective, we receive 100s of resumes for our open roles, so certification is certainly something that can make you stand out from the crowd.

Why did you choose to get Google Cloud certified? 

As Twitter increased cloud investments a few years ago, I knew that for me as a leader I needed to deepen my understanding of cloud offerings across vendors. I am often in the position to review and approve proposals for various technology solutions, and so I knew I would need to invest in gaining architectural knowledge regarding how the pieces fit optimally together. 

We often think about providing skill building opportunities for engineers doing the hands on work. But engineering managers and leaders also need to be continuously developing new technical skills and awareness of technology offerings through training and workshops. It’s probably even more important for managers to do immersive hands-on training like this because we tend to have so little hands on time in our day jobs. That was a highlight of the certification classes – we used QwikLabs to actually spin up instances and run gcloud commands.

Another thing I gained from the classes was a better understanding of how cloud products are grouped, which mirrors the organizational structure and design of a platform engineering organization. It helps to think about what technologies need to integrate, which leads me to think about different ways our teams need to work together at Twitter.

Why do you want to get recertified? What do you think is the value of recertification? 

GCP is always building new features. It’s important for me to stay up with the trends as we decide what we need to build in house, and what we can leverage from a cloud provider. 

Why would you encourage your team to consider Google Cloud certification? 

We first made certification classes available to our Cloud Acceleration team (the team in my group that makes differentiated cloud offerings from public cloud providers available as part of Twitter’s platform organizations’ offerings).

I encouraged team members to take the training and several have been certified. When developers at Twitter want to use a particular cloud product, our team can help them apply the right solution for the problem they want to solve and think holistically about our overall architecture and what cloud offerings we want to support across teams. 

We also encourage partner teams to take the training – for instance, our networking engineering colleagues. Our platform teams are expanding beyond supporting on-prem environments to support our hybrid cloud strategy, which means everyone needs to develop skills to support working in the cloud.

As a team leader, how do you view certification for your team at Twitter? 

I think it’s valuable for making sure we have the best and most up to date understanding of cloud offerings. It’s also something we can offer engineers – access to the training, time to take the training during work hours, and coverage of the cost of the exam. It’s a way we can demonstrate how important continuous learning and a growth mindset are as part of Twitter core values. 

You can watch the webinar on-demand here:

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