There are training courses we take to learn more about a topic with which we are already familiar, and there are courses we take to be introduced to a new topic. This particular online course about cloud computing falls into the second category. In addition, I took this course to maintain the momentum of taking classes.
Let me begin by clarifying that the edX course I took was the one offered by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and not the identically-titled course offered by Microsoft. This was lucky; I did not notice Microsoft’s course until after I completed the IEEE’s course. However, having a choice between the two, I would start with the IEEE course and leave the Microsoft course until later. One of the good points of the IEEE course is that it is vanilla; it is not tied to any vendor. In contrast, the description of the Microsoft course ends with: “capabilities and features of Microsoft Azure”. Obviously, with the recent transformation and renewed openness that characterizes Microsoft as of late (MS azure with Ubuntu anyone?), one would want to evaluate and know what they offer on this front as well.
The IEEE course is not for anyone wanting hardcore technical detail, i.e. you will not learn how to implement a cloud solution. edX list the course under their “Business and Management” category (while the Microsoft alternative is found in the “Computer Science” category). This IEEE course is suitable for IT managers looking to evaluate offers, or wanting to decide whether a cloud solution is applicable to their situation.
The course has four sections, the last one being the final quiz. The first section provides an overview of the three models of cloud computing: Software as a Service (SaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS). The second section goes into further detail to describe each architecture. The third discusses the “economics of cloud computing”. This explains how to use SWOT analysis and other metrics to decide if a cloud solution is suitable for your business. There are also discussions on security and response time (latency) issues.
If you are interested to know what cloud computing is, then the IEEE course is perfect. The course is quite short relative to other training products about cloud computing, but fairly long compared to articles you might read about this subject. In my view, IT managers who receive offers for cloud solutions should definitely take this course. You could probably complete the whole course in 4-5 hours if the subject is not entirely new to you.
On a final note, there are additional courses by Microsoft on how to implement cloud apps: “Building Cloud Apps with Microsoft Azure” parts 1, 2, and 3. And there are also some edX courses which are more technical in nature, such as Engineering Software as a Service by UC Berkeley.
With my next training course, I hope to deepen my understanding of some familiar topics: Statistical Thinking for Data Science and Analytics. For me, this will be the start of a sequence of related courses. By the end, I hope to be able to advise you on the best courses about analytics, whilst also recommending other interesting short courses that will broaden your base of knowledge.