Last year, I was honored to be selected to join the newly created team of Cloud experts at IBM: the Cloud Advisors. Our mission is to help clients find the best path forward in their cloud's journey. In other words, we provide guidance so that our clients have success with cloud.
Depending on the context, the role can be quite different. Sometimes, the Cloud Advisor (CA) works on the cloud strategy to help an organization translate strategic business requirements into technical capabilities (IT-led business innovation, roadmaps, technology adoption). On other engagements, the CA supports a team to define end-to-end solutions which involve cloud technologies (reference architecture, systems integration, hybrid cloud). I see the role as a mix of Enterprise Architecture and Solution Architecture, with a focus on hybrid cloud. Quite often, we are also asked to provide guidance on emerging cloud technologies.
Cloud Advisors all have different background, with years of expertise in their specialty, but there is one thing we all have in common: we all share a passion for cloud, and we are eager to continuously improve ourselves.
A man, though wise, should never be ashamed of learning more, and must unbend his mind.
Given that Cloud technologies are evolving pretty fast, continuous learning is a key aspect of the Cloud Advisor role. To support our growth, IBM has put an education plan in place for us.
When we start as a Cloud Advisor, we need to pass a series of internal tests on Cloud (and no, there is no physical tests yet...;-). This is considered to be the bare minimum, core knowledge for a CA. At this point, we are officially "Cloud Advisors". We can start working with clients.
After these internal tests, it is expected that Cloud Advisors pass an external certification on Cloud Architecture: IBM Solution Advisor - Cloud Computing Architecture V5. To be certified, people are expected to understand the benefits and concepts of cloud computing. It is also expected to have a solid knowledge of IBM Cloud solution offerings. In addition to this external certification, Cloud Advisors must also attend a Cloud Advisor Academy. The academy is a 5-day event, with a lot of training sessions, case studies, discussions. And of course, during this process, CAs keep being engaged with clients and with other IBM teams.
The proven field experience, the training during the academy and the certification on Cloud Architecture is what leads to the Cloud Advisor - Master Level.
To be successful in their role, Cloud Advisors must be proficient with key cloud technologies. A CA is not a theorist. We learn by doing, we experiment things (I remember someone saying " we get our hands dirty"). So the natural next level is a deeper dive on some cloud areas. There are a couple of different options depending on what CAs prefer (Bluemix, Design Thinking, OpenStack, IaaS Softlayer, DevOps...).
At the stage, we can choose from different activities such as boot camps, advanced certifications programs or specific workshops. Once we have successfully completed two boot camps and/or two advanced certifications, then we receive the IBM Cloud Advisor - Elite Level designation.
But it is not over yet, and our learning journey never ends. The mission of the Cloud Advisors is to become a technologically elite group of IBMers with whom clients want to engage. So in addition to their work with clients, Cloud Advisor are encouraged to learn new technologies, participate in hackathons, speak at conferences, or help on internal projects...
Cloud Computing is evolving fast. We don't even know what is coming next, what will be the next Cloud technology to change the world. But as Cloud Advisor, we closely monitor technological developments, and we continuously learn to improve our skills.