Home DevOps Why the HashiCorp Cloud Engineer Certification program is a big deal for...

Why the HashiCorp Cloud Engineer Certification program is a big deal for cloud engineers

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HashiCorp recently announced HashiCorp Cloud Engineer Certification for Terraform and Vault. In this post, I’ll take a look at these exams and explain why these are a big deal for cloud engineers.

HashicorpLogo

 

 

 

Certification is about more than your CV

Certification can help to verify your capability in a specific technology for a raise, your next role or just to prove to yourself that you have reached a level to call yourself proficient.

With Hashicorp products, until recently, this seemingly simple task has impossible. There were no certifications. And while word-of-mouth about your expertise can go a long way to get you your next role, for more advanced challenges it’s hard to prove one’s ability to perform at that level.

And what about those attempting to break into DevOps from Operations and traditional infrastructure? They will not have that ready-made group of people who can vouch for them. The situation is even worse for those attempting to break into DevOps as a first career.

IT recruitment consultants have no real guidelines as to how skilled a person is regarding Infrastructure as Code especially with regards to newer declarative languages like Terraform and have little understanding of the Integration processes needed to deploy a successful automated CI/CD pipeline. Recruiters don’t know how to separate the chaff from the wheat, and it’s easy to play buzzword product bingo on their CV.

This is where certification in a product gains you a march on others. It is a keyword that recruiters can search on and perhaps cut through some of the chaff. This is what drives the certification roundabout.

ThePowerOfCertification

 
Whilst we used to laugh about certification due to them having quite a bad reputation, apocryphal stories of people leaving Training classes, sitting the certifications exams and walking into a well-paid role, with absolutely no real-world experience, and people with 4 years experience were not even getting interviews because they had not achieved the correct badge.

This was true of certifications in the late 20th Century, however, the companies have put a lot of work into making them more real-world applicable. VMware, for example, introduced the higher advanced certifications that tested design methodology and actual knowledge on systems and the Architect level VCDX. Other companies followed suit and introduced their advanced certifications, too.

HashiCorp Cloud Engineer Certifications

Hashicorp has just started on its Certification journey with the Cloud Engineer Certification Program. Having recently released their first exams. These are only associate-level therefore entry-level, and only for Terraform and Vault, a Consul one is due shortly.

Certification Exam Format

ExamFormat

The exam costs a rather decent $70.50 and is an online Proctor exam, which you can do from the comfort of your home, with your own hardware, internet connection and webcam. A proctor will watch you sit the exam to make sure you’re not cheating or dumping the questions for cheat guides.

The format of the exam is one of a combination of the following questions over a time period of 1 hour:

**These questions are taken from the Hashicorp example Vault questions as shown on their website.

  • multiple-choice,
Which path will the following policy allow?

path "kv/+/team_*" {    capabilities = [ "read" ]}

✅       Correct: kv/us-west/team_edu
❌       Incorrect: kv/team_edu
❌       Incorrect: kv/us-west/team
❌       Incorrect: kv/us-west/ca/team_edu
  • multiple Answer,
What is true of Vault tokens? Choose TWO correct answers.

✅       Correct: Vault tokens are generated by every authentication method login
✅       Correct: Vault tokens are the core method for authentication in Vault
❌       Incorrect: Vault tokens are required for every Vault call
❌       Incorrect: Vault token IDs always begin with "s." such as s.E7rOurS2n7m2Dt5409jWxR87
  • true/false
When Vault is sealed, it can access the physical storage but cannot read the data because it does not know how to decrypt them.

✅ Correct: True
❌ Incorrect: False
  • drag the answer to the correct location
Drag the red star to the place on the page you would click to view the list of available Vault-created encryption keys.

HashicorpVaultMoveImage









As already alluded to these certifications are classed as Foundational on YourAcclaim which is expected as they are only associate level. Hopefully more challenging certifications are forthcoming, and I believe this is the case.

Note: YourAcclaim is a site that displays a digital badge associated to your certification that has been verified as valid by the relevant vendor, as this is a digital badge you can add a link to your validated certifications on your linkedin profile or resume.

So how do you take these exams?

ExamFormat

Firstly you need a verified account with Hashicorp, you will also need to activate 2FA on this account when logging into your certification section. Purchase your token for sitting the exam and then schedule the exam.

Hashicorp asks that during these times of uncertainty you show some patience when applying for your exam as there may be some delay in finding a proctor at the times you wish. Another pain point for those not in the US is that it seems that all current proctors are US-based. As for the Central European timezone the available slots are shown as 12am to 1:30am and then 1pm through to midnight.

The exam is available for Windows, MacOS and Linux. However if you are on a Linux device you have to manually confirm that your device is capable of running the exam. Mac or Windows users can verify using the online automated validation process.

Study Resources

ExamReadyness

Hashicorp has provided quite a lot of resources to aid you in studying for these tests.

Terraform Associate

Vault Associate

Summary

Summary

From what I have currently seen the HashiCorp Cloud Engineer Certifications seem to be a good first attempt at a certification program. I have just purchased my exam vouchers and am aiming to sit my exam in May. I’ll report back here on Amazic World with my exam experiences afterward.

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