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Cloud Foundry Foundation Launch Cloud Native Developer Certification and Training Program

| by Daniel Bryant Follow 800 Followers on Apr 25, 2017. Estimated reading time: 4 minutes |

At the CloudNativeCon, held in Berlin, Germany, the Cloud Foundry Foundation announced the creation of a Cloud Foundry Certified Developer (CFCD) training and certification program which is community-based, independent and vendor-neutral, and aims to train and verify job candidates have practical experience working with any distribution of Cloud Foundry and creating cloud-native architectures.

The CFCD program will be delivered in partnership with the Linux Foundation, which has trained more than 800,000 students in over 215 countries on critical skills and certifications around Linux development, systems administration and OpenStack since 2003. The primary focus of the certification is to address an "impending shortage of [cloud-native] developers", and to help developers set themselves apart when looking for a first job or upgrading their current role.

InfoQ sat down with Abby Kearns, executive director at Cloud Foundry Foundation, at CloudNativeCon and asked about the motivation for creating the CFCD program:

Organisations are looking for platforms, such as Cloud Foundry, that facilitate digital transformation, and we are increasingly finding that companies are looking to train internal teams, rather than outsource. [...] We believe the CFCD program will help to enable developers to create effective cloud-native applications running on Cloud Foundry.

The full Cloud Foundry Certified Developer program suite includes:

  • A free introductory Cloud Foundry course offered via the edX platform.
  • A commercial self-paced eLearning Cloud Foundry Developer course.
  • A training partner program which includes licensed materials for in-person Cloud Foundry developer classes.
  • Cloud Foundry Certified Developer certification, which is awarded to individuals who pass a performance-based exam.

Kearns discussed how organisations of varying scale are leveraging Cloud Foundry to provide a consistent developer experience across a range of underlying infrastructure, and potentially across various Cloud Foundry distributions:

Cloud Foundry is being used within organisations such as HSBC, Fidelity, Citibank and Allianz, where the business is looking to support their developers and give them freedom to create code with a consistent experience of development and deployment. With the CFCD program we are looking to provide and verify developers have the required skills to work effectively with any Cloud Foundry distribution.

The CFCD website states that Cloud Foundry Developer Certification is community-based, independent and vendor-neutral, and aims to verify job candidates have practical experience with any distribution of Cloud Foundry, including the currently certified platforms: Huawei FusionStage, IBM Bluemix Cloud Foundry, Pivotal Cloud Foundry, SAP Cloud Platform and Swisscom Application Cloud. The certification is valid for 24 months from the date that the program certification requirements are met by a candidate. Certificants must meet renewal requirements prior to the expiration date of their current certification in order to maintain active certification.

Kearns was keen to stress the importance of the certification to demonstrate both development and operational competence with the Cloud Foundry platform:

Organisations are increasingly looking for a platform to provide guardrails to manage security, data governance and change management, so that developers can focus on coding and adding value through the delivery of software [...] and cloud-native developers must be aware of core cloud architecture and operational principles.

Candidates for the certification exam should have hands-on practical experience building software that runs on Cloud Foundry. The exam has a maximum completion time limit of four hours, and consists of a set of performance-based questions in which developers will use a Bash-like command line interface (CLI) running within a browser to interact with a Cloud Foundry environment, as well as a set of multiple choice questions. Topics covered in the exam include:

  • Cloud Foundry basics
  • Cloud-native architectural principles
  • Cloud-native application security
  • Working with services in Cloud Foundry
  • Application management on Cloud Foundry
  • Container management within Cloud Foundry
  • Troubleshooting applications on Cloud Foundry

Several of the performance-based questions will require "modest amounts of coding" to complete, and for each such question a developer can choose to do this work in any of the three supported languages: Java/Spring, Ruby or Node.js. The question requires an answer using one language in which the developer is competent, and there will be no additional points awarded for completing a given question in more than one language. During the exam developers will have access to the open source web-based editor Eclipse Che, as well as Vim and Emacs text editors.

Kearns discussed that although technical competence is extremely valuable, it is not a panacea for organisations struggling to embrace agility:

Clearly, culture is the hardest thing to change, but the Cloud Foundry platform can be a good catalyst to drive technical change. This in turn can drive change and innovation within an organisation.

Developers can register for a free introductory course offered via the edx.org platform in early May, and the self-paced eLearning course "Cloud Foundry for Developers" will be available to the general public on June 13 at a cost of 500 USD. The Certification exam takes up to four hours to complete and can be taken online for $300 USD. The exam will also be offered in-person at the Cloud Foundry Summit Silicon Valley event on June 13-15, 2017.

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