We continue with our discussion with Brad Johnson who manages Apache Hadoop certification at Cloudera University and recently completed the testing upgrades to CDH 4.1. In this segment Brad talks about the value behind Cloudera certifications and how they are a differentiator.
Ron: Why would a Hadoop expert choose a Cloudera certification over other Hadoop certifications that are out there on the market?
Brad: I think there are two sides to your question. There’s a test-side question and a market value side. And these two sides are related. At least, I believe they’re related to the overall value proposition of the certification.If you look at Cloudera, we have a large number of Apache committers in engineering, including many of the key engineers like Doug Cutting, whom you already interviewed. We also have more enterprise customers than a lot of our competitors, which means our SE’s, our support team, our solution architects are out there working on the ground with customers working, deploying Hadoop in a variety of environments, and they see how customers are using it, and they see problems and how these are solved.. That entire wealth of experience of Cloudera gets fed back into our tests and into our curriculum.
One value proposition, as far as test development goes, is we have all those people, all that knowledge that informs our educational development, that tells us what’s important to evaluate and assess in a certification. It’s very nice, as a test developer, to have all that talent available, also to review and challenge the test content to make it better.
And we’re not just staying with our own folks. An example of that would be during the HBase test development I asked our engineers who in the community can we reach out to? Who in the HBase committer community would help, would be willing to help review and comment on the test and shape the test? So we were able to get people from outside Cloudera who are significant contributors to the community because our engineers are also significant contributors. So the other side of that –as far as once the tests are live – all of our support engineers are going through all of our tests. They’re commenting back to me. We have a really good community of people. So I think one of the strengths of the Cloudera certification is the community behind it. The number – the sheer talent that exists in the company and in the community is brought to bear in everything we put out, and that drives value back into the test and the program and into the community.
The other side of that, as far a market value, is a certification is often seen as a credential meant strictly for hiring or recruiting differentiating. I think that’s how most people tend to view it – it’s a job market differentiator. And while that’s more or less true, depending on the market you’re in, it’s not all that certification should do. At least, I don’t believe it should. For me, certification is a form of partnership with the company, and I think Cloudera is a significant member of the community. And being part of that community, showing that commitment through certification, I think has value.
Ron: Yeah, yeah. I think for me – I’ll just paraphrase, it’s a burgeoning technology, so you have to have some bar set somewhere. It helps substantiate and baseline the expertise that’s out there in the community. Moving on to the next question, have you gotten any feedback from customers and/or students about how they’ve leveraged their Cloudera certification?
Brad: Yeah, and I would say here again, this really differs for different markets. There are certain verticals or markets where having a certification is critical. Hadoop is used heavily in the government, the financial services, and health care market. And those markets, they oftentimes like to see certifications. They like to see contractors who are working in that space get certified. It’s often a requirement, where you can’t even bid on work, bid on the job, unless your company has so many certified folks.
In other sectors there’s much less value at this time. Part of that is a result of demand, it’s a burgeoning sector, and the demand far outstrips the available pool of talent. They want anyone with Hadoop experience, because there’s more growth and interest than we have certified individuals. As a result, the certification is much less valuable at this time for those markets. I think that will change over time, as it should, but it’s really market-dependent.
Ron: I assume more aggressive students and the ones who want to position themselves more aggressively will go out and take that next step to further differentiate their skill set.
Brad: I’ve never heard of anybody saying it’s a negative, and even in those markets where certification isn’t a particular requirement, it most certainly helps differentiate somebody. But it’s no replacement for experience, of course. But having experience and a certification is always helpful as a differentiator.
Ron: Okay, thank you, Brad. So going back to exclusivity, how many CCAHs and CCDHs are there out there globally in the market place, Brad?
Brad: I believe right now we’re right around 5,000 total Cloudera certified folks in the community
Ron: Both Administrator and for Developer?
Brad: Yes – there’s more Developer actually in that number. I don’t know off the top of my head, but I’m going to say, it’s, you know, 3,000 and 2,000, I guess. I’d have to look at my total numbers, but it wasn’t until the summer that you could actually certify without going through a training site and in this next year we’re hoping to broaden our community quite a bit, actually.
Ron: Okay, gotcha. It was always after the class, but you’ve dropped that prerequisite.
Brad: That’s right.
Next week we’ll finish up with student preparation.