10 May 2023
In today's fast-paced business environment, it is essential to keep up with the latest technological advancements. Companies and individuals who are proactive in upskilling and reskilling can stay ahead of the curve and gain a competitive edge. One way to showcase your competence and knowledge is by obtaining certifications.
In January 2020, Tietoevry and Microsoft announced a strategic partnership to bring world-leading expertise to help their customers to capture the benefits of both public and private cloud services. To boost their efforts, the companies launched an Azure learning program with an ambitious goal of certifying 3,000 Microsoft Azure professionals at Tietoevry and creating the largest talent hub in the region.
Despite the interference from the pandemic, the goal has now been achieved, so we reached out to some of the most Azure-certified Tietoevry professionals and leaders to draw inspiration from their personal learning experiences.
Lelde Saleniece from Tietoevry and Marja Aho from Microsoft.
What is the biggest obstacle for people to develop their skills and competencies at work? According to the Tietoevry professionals we talked with, motivating people to go outside their comfort zone and finding enough time in their busy work schedules for learning.
Through the Azure learning program, Tietoevry enabled its employees to obtain Azure certifications with flexible learning opportunities from instructor-led courses to hands-on labs, training events and self-studies – from which Tietoevry employees can choose their preferred learning method.
Lead Software Developer Jiri Havelka, one of the more avid certificate-grabbers, happily jumped at this learning opportunity. His first course was the Azure Data Scientist course held in India Standard time, so at 3 am his time. He encourages people to utilize training opportunities in other time zones as well as then get to meet with people from all over the world and expand their perspectives.
Among those who acquired Azure certifications, many emphasize that skilling is a priority and thereby requires that employees set aside some of their personal time to develop their competencies. For some, this meant turning off Netflix during the COVID-19 pandemic and using the time to self-study. For others, like Service Delivery Manager Kimmo Salin, it happened naturally as he found himself having extra free time after he and his wife became empty nesters. “I even spent one Midsummer weekend studying for an Azure Data Engineer certification exam while other people enjoyed the festivities,” Salin says smilingly.
Motivation towards learning came from many different things, from inspiring Tech Days and exciting Ignite Talks to the company management emphasizing the strategic importance of upskilling and cloud for Tietoevry’s future.
Christian Pedersen, Managing Director of Tietoevry Create, developed his skill set by completing the Azure Fundamentals certification. According to him, it is essential to have good insights and understanding of the technologies prior to discussing them with customers. “If you want to have meaningful conversations with customers about Azure as a platform for digital transformation, you absolutely need those skills,” Pedersen notes. He also emphasizes that as a leader, he must practice what he preaches – a key motivation for acquiring his Azure certification.
As someone who rarely makes predictions about the future, Pedersen is confident that upskilling and learning will be even more important in the future. He points out that the half-life of competence and skills has dramatically reduced because technology currently moves faster than ever before. “Building skills should be prioritized, and we need to take the time to formalize our learning with the certifications,” Pedersen highlights.
As one of the Tietoevry employees with the most Azure certifications, Rohullah Ayoub, Cloud Solution Architect at Tietoevry Finland, explains why he got certified: “Combining experience with a more structured approach to learning ensures that we have all our bases covered. The certifications may result in the client feeling more at ease with our skills.” For Petter Kvamen Clausen, Senior Infrastructure Architect at Tietoevry Norway, the certifications provide important proof of his knowledge and personal development and a better understanding of his daily tasks. “They also offer a chance to get ahead of the competition,” he notes.
Role-based certifications give a great baseline knowledge for succeeding in your Azure related tasks. One testimonial of this comes from Petter Kvamen Clause who uses Azure every day and felt instantly after studies that he could utilize his newly learned skills in his role. “It motivates me to get more certifications and continue the learning journey, because I can feel its value.” The Azure certified employees note that the new skills might help them innovate and come up with out-of-the-box solutions for customers who are planning to expand their use of Microsoft technology as they move to the cloud.
Equally importantly, the certifications enhance cooperation across Tietoevry teams. “They have enabled me to have more intelligent conversations with subject matter experts such as data scientists and network engineers. This has improved cooperation with my colleagues,” Rohullah Ayoub says contentedly. Those who have already obtained multiple certifications also underline that it is important to go beyond the basics to gain a better understanding of the Azure platform. This in turn further strengthens Tietoevry’s position as customers’ trusted partner in cloud transformation projects.
While the certification program has provided Tietoevry employees with skills that can be instantly put into practice, many highlight its importance in building competencies for the future. Senior Service Architect Daniel Micanek points out that his Azure certifications and newly-acquired skills are very helpful in his job now and going forward as more and more customers plan to move to the Azure cloud environment.
Manish Kumar, Head of Strategy and Transformation, Tietoevry Tech Services agrees: “For us to better help our customers, it is important that we ourselves know the technology in the best possible way,” Kumar states. He believes that the certifications benefit both the individual and the company as well as the customer. “I see it as being self-evident and something that we should do even more.”
With the Azure learning program, Microsoft supported Tietoevry in building its employees’ competencies, helping the company to provide expert solutions to its customers looking to move to the cloud. Kumar points out that customers are always looking for the best available talent in the market. “Reaching this milestone of certifying 3,000 professionals shows that we are serious about this journey. We also have a rich talent base, which is available for our customers in this market, both locally and globally,” he elaborates.
Furthermore, Kumar believes that the Azure certifications help Tietoevry build relationships with its customers and partners. “This is a testament of our commitment to Microsoft as a partner and Azure as a platform and proves we are serious about taking our customers to the cloud.”
After completing their certifications, Christian, Manish, Kimmo, Daniel, Jiri, Petter, and Rohullah have encouraged their colleagues to take advantage of the opportunity to expand their skill set. While some of them have simply spread the word, others have gone beyond verbal encouragement: “I held two courses for about 30 colleagues, beginning with a basic Azure training to help them grasp the fundamentals of the platform. Many people got motivated to start getting certified,” Petter Kvamen Clausen describes his experience.
Rohullah Ayoub has been equally enthusiastic about sharing his knowledge and helping others get started with Azure certifications. “I have held presentations sharing my experiences with getting certified. I am glad to say it has resulted in a few people acquiring certifications.”
Although the goal of 3,000 Azure certified professionals has now been achieved learning never stops and Tietoevry employees can continue to utilize Microsoft Learning solutions and expand their skills for their personal and organization benefit.
In conclusion, the importance of skilling and certification for individual and business growth cannot be overstated. “Companies and individuals who prioritize skilling and certification are more likely to stay ahead of the curve, attract the best talent, and gain a competitive edge. Skilling and certification are not just about acquiring new skills and competencies; they are also about validating existing knowledge and showing a commitment to personal and professional development,” says Marja Aho, Training Program Manager from Microsoft.
Marja Aho, Microsoft, email@example.com
Lelde Saleniece, Tietoevry, firstname.lastname@example.org