Your Cloud Career: Is 2019 the Year of Azure?

You probably don’t need us to tell you there’s a world of opportunity in a cloud computing career, because the cloud is everywhere—literally and figuratively. You’re probably connected to the cloud in some way as you read this, and maybe you are even considering a cloud career move as well.

If so, there’s one question you’ll  be asking yourself: “Should I focus on AWS or Azure?”

Welcome to the ongoing debate of beginning cloud computing professionals! Although AWS (short for Amazon Web Services) and Microsoft Azure are not the only two cloud computing options, these two service providers dominate the scene. Most people entering the cloud computing space choose to learn one or the other to start their careers. And if it were an easy decision to make—choosing between AWS and Azure—there wouldn’t be any debate, right?

However, that’s not the case. Each brand and its offerings have pros and cons, and it’s worth your while to get familiar with both before deciding which one to focus on. That said, Azure is gaining ground and is showing growth potential—but more on that below.

Why Cloud Computing?

If you want to know why you should pursue a career in cloud computing, we can sum that up in one word: opportunity. There are simply more jobs than there are skilled people to fill them, and 46 percent of firms see the skills gap growing primarily because 96 percent of workers lack advanced skills. This skills gap is hurting businesses where it hurts most: the bottom line. Missing cloud skills are costing businesses over $250 million in lost revenue annually.

Although businesses need employees with advanced skills, they also need entry-level employees, and it doesn’t take a college degree to get started in cloud computing. The CEO of IBM, Ginni Rometty, wrote in an opinion piece for USA Today, “What matters most is that these employees–with jobs such as cloud computing technicians and services delivery specialists – have relevant skills, often obtained through vocational training.”

Rometty calls jobs like cloud computing technician “new collar” jobs: tech jobs that require certain skills, but not a degree.

Should You Choose AWS or Azure?

Even if moving into cloud computing as a career doesn’t require a college degree, it does require training. So which one is best suited to the market and your career ahead - AWS or Azure?

It used to be easier to choose, because AWS used to dominate the cloud space until recently. In the second quarter of 2018, AWS dominated the public cloud market with revenue growing at 49 percent. However, in the fourth quarter, Azure revenue grew at 89 percent compared to the first quarter of 2017, a growth rate that’s nearly double that of AWS.

That’s not the only difference. Azure is beating AWS even in enterprise adoption. According to the 2018 State of the Cloud Survey conducted by RightScale, Azure is catching up to AWS, especially in larger companies. Among the survey respondents, Azure adoption grew from 34 to 45 percent, while AWS only grew from 57 to 64 percent. Yet adoption grew more among enterprises: Azure adoption went from 43 percent to 58 percent while AWS adoption went from 59 percent to 68 percent.

You also might choose Azure if you’re interested in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning. According to an article at TechRepublic.com, Microsoft aims to have Azure thought of as the Machine Learning cloud.

In addition, Microsoft seems to be leading in the hybrid cloud space, as pointed out in this list of seven reasons Azure is better than AWS explains. While AWS is playing catch up on hybrid, Azure is already there, seamlessly connecting data centers to the cloud, as well as enabling “easy mobility” between on-premises and public cloud, and offering more types of hybrid connections.

As a result of all this momentum, plenty of tech pundits see Azure rapidly gaining ground and even pulling ahead. An article at Forbes.com gives insight into 10 reasons why Amazon won’t be able to keep up with Microsoft in the cloud. Did you catch that?

Azure Certifications Are Changing

While Microsoft charges ahead to capture more of the cloud computing market, they are also updating their certifications, with some older ones discontinued starting in January 2019. Microsoft has announced three new Azure certification paths for administrators, developers, and solutions architects. Each certification will have two exams.

And of course Simplilearn is keeping pace with the cloud computing contender, with new courses to help you earn these new certifications:

  • The Microsoft Certified Azure Developer Associate (AZ-203 = AZ-200 + AZ-201) Training Course will prepare you for the latest 2019 edition of Azure Developer Certified Associate exam AZ-203. After completing this course, you’ll be able to select, develop and implement Azure solutions, including cloud storage, Platform as a Service (PaaS), cloud security and cloud integration. You’ll also be ready to develop Azure Cognitive Services, Bot and IoT solutions.
  • The Microsoft Certified Azure Solution Architect (AZ-300 and AZ-301) Training Course will help position you as an expert Azure solutions architect. It’s aligned with exams AZ-300 and AZ-301. With this course, you’ll learn to configure infrastructure, implement workloads and security, create and deploy apps, secure data, determine workload requirements, architect data platform and cloud solutions, create continuity and infrastructure strategies, and execute deployment, migration and API integration. 
  • The Microsoft Certified Azure Administrator Associate (AZ-100 and AZ-101) Training Course will prepare you for the latest 2018 edition of Exam AZ-100 and Exam AZ-101. With this training, you’ll learn everything you need to know as an Azure administrator, including managing subscriptions and resources, implementing storage, deploying virtual machines and networks, managing and securing identities, migrating servers to Azure, and managing app services.

No matter the path you choose, you’ll succeed if you choose cloud computing, because of huge need for skilled workers. But it’s your career, and you want to choose the path that’s the best fit for you. So maybe 2019 is the year for Azure?  

About the Author

Stuart RauchStuart Rauch

Stuart Rauch is a 25-year product marketing veteran and president of ContentBox Marketing Inc. He has run marketing organizations at several enterprise software companies, including NetSuite, Oracle, PeopleSoft, EVault and Secure Computing. Stuart is a specialist in content development and brings a unique blend of creativity, linguistic acumen and product knowledge to his clients in the technology space.

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