Amazon Web Services apparently feels there's a shortage of talent when it comes to cloud computing professionals that work within its public cloud environment. The result: Amazon has launched the AWS Certification Program and the first of several exams it intends to release throughout 2013.

The way AWS explained the need for the new certification program is that as adoption of AWS cloud computing accelerates, organizations are looking for ways to identify IT professionals and consultants with demonstrated knowledge of AWS best practices. And that's what the exams are intended to provide.

For channel partners that make AWS a critical part of their businesses -- or for those who plan to do so -- the certification could provide a key point of differentiation in the near future. Cloud computing has caught on big time, but in all aspects of cloud, there seems to be a shortage of integrators and consultants with demonstrable knowledge and skills to do the work.

The first available exam is the AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate Level certification, which tests skills for technical professionals and solutions architects that design and develop applications on AWS. It's a start, anyway, and several more exams will follow before the end of the calendar year, including certifications for systems operations administrators and developers. Amazon did not provide a list of the forthcoming exams.

"The AWS Certification Program helps organizations identify that the employees, partners and consultants they depend on for their AWS solutions are well-versed in the best practices of building cloud applications on AWS and have the skills to help them be successful," said Adam Selipsky, vice president of Amazon Web Services, in a prepared statement.

AWS listed several benefits to the certificatin program, including:

  • Helping organizations to identify engineering and IT staff that can build and maintain AWS cloud applications.
  • Testing individuals' IT skills and technical knowledge to ensure they're in alignment with AWS architectural best practices for building secure and reliable applications.
  • Increased differentation for AWS Partner Network members.
  • Enabling certified IT professionals to develop, certify and advertise their expertise with AWS cloud computing.

Meanwhile, there has also been growing demand for OpenStack-oriented cloud education and certification. OpenStack is an open source platform for building public and private clouds. Backed by Rackspace, IBM, HP and more, OpenStack is widely viewed as an open alternative to AWS.