Gain an Edge with 15 Valuable Cloud Computing Certifications

Cloud Computing Certifications

Cloud computing is a huge investment for most companies. Organizations enabling new business models to improve operational efficiency created a need for cloud computing certifications.

Having a cloud certification will not only help a cloud professional stand out among peers with similar cloud skills, but it will demonstrate a certain level of expertise employers are seeking coupled with hands-on experience. Here is a list of 15 cloud computing certifications that can help you find a new job or advance your career.

Why Cloud Certifications are in demand?

The cloud roles that are in the highest demand are cloud architects, cloud-related software engineers, and cloud security. According to MarketsandMarkets Research, “The global cloud computing market size is expected to grow from USD 371.4 billion in 2020 to USD 832.1 billion by 2025, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 17.5% during the forecast period.”  A certification course can only increase marketability.

What gives a cloud computing certification value?

There are 3 main factors that give cloud certification programs value.

  1. How difficult the exam is with working knowledge. The certification has to have respect from those in the industry.  If managers and executives perceive the certification as not challenging or covering critical thinking tasks then the value is lowered, therefore, not considered by most in the field as a competitive credential. They usually combine working knowledge and advanced skills combined with certification and not someone who is just a credential holder.
  2. Demand for the skill. For most companies, there is a fight to find specific cloud-related skill sets.  Combine cloud computing knowledge and skills with one or more certificates, and the salary will almost always be much higher.
  3. Personal gratification. Having a credible cloud certification will provide the cloud fundamentals that may be absent on the job thus providing more credibility to your expertise. It offers a baseline to offer better solutions by understanding a complete platform.

Top 12 Cloud Computing Certifications

  1. AWS Certified Solutions Architect
  2. AWS Certified SysOps Administrator
  3. AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner
  4. AWS Certified Security
  5. CompTIA Cloud+
  6. CCNA Cloud (now the new CCNA as of 2/24/2020)
  7. Check Point Certified Security Expert
  8. Google Cloud Security Engineer
  9. Google Certified Professional Cloud Architect
  10. Google Certified Professional Data Engineer
  11. IBM Certified Architect – Cloud Solutions
  12. (ISC)² Certified Cloud Security Professional
  13. Microsoft Certified Azure Solutions Architect Expert
  14. Microsoft Certified Azure Security Engineer
  15. Microsoft Certified Cloud Platform Solutions Associate

1.   AWS Certified Solutions Architect

The average salary is $141,866 per Glassdoor

The AWS Architect Certified Solutions Architect certification for cloud professionals who provide solutions architects who have had previous experience in the role of designing scalable distributed systems on the AWS platform. Key areas of knowledge after being certified include the ability to architect and deploy secure applications on AWS, better solutions design, and best practices on implementation.

Exam Cost: $150 valid for 3 years – practice exam available for $20

2.   AWS Certified SysOps Administrator

The average salary is $133,000 per Glassdoor

The AWS Certified SysOps Administrator certification is for current systems administrators who work in an operations environment but must also have at least some experience with AWS responsible for cloud deployments, management, and operations. By being certified, professionals can verify knowledge of usage costs, data streams, choosing proper AWS services for a task, and have the ability to completely manage a scalable available fault-tolerate system on the AWS platform.

Exam Cost: $150 valid for 3 years – practice exam available for $20

3.  AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner

The Average salary is $132,083 per ZipRecruiter

The AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner is a foundational certification and offers a broad understanding of AWS cloud.  It is not role-specific like most of the AWS exams. Once certified, it does confirm knowledge of AWS cloud global infrastructure, basic architecture, basic knowledge of deployments and operations, basic cloud security and compliance, and have the ability to describe specific models (billing, pricing, account management).

Exam Cost: $100 valid for 3 years – practice exam available for $20

4.  AWS Certified Security

The Average salary is $149,190 per Certification Magazine

The AWS Certified Security certification is for cloud security professionals and has some hands-on AWS work experience in this area.  The certification will verify knowledge of AWS security, risk, secure internet protocols, data encryption methodology, data classifications, data protection, and security features.

Exam Cost: $200 valid for 3 years – practice exam is available for $40

5.  CompTIA Cloud+

Average salary is $78,600 per

The CompTIA Cloud+ certification was created for system administrators to validate skills to be a full cloud infrastructure professional. It covers maintaining and optimizing data centers. This certification is not vendor-specific and is performance-based.

Exam Cost: $329 valid for 3 years

6. Checkpoint Certified Security Expert (CCSE)

Average salary is $97,000 per

The Check Point Certified Security Expert is a vendor-specific certification that validates an engineer’s troubleshooting skills and the best performance of their security networks. This will confirm skills in defending the network against threats, proper backup methods, the ability to monitor suspicious activity, analyze network attacks, manage LAN access, and the ability to assess security policies.

Exam Cost: $150-200 valid for 2 years

7. CCNA Cloud

Average salary is $107,856 per ZipRecruiter

The CCNA Cloud certification is a Cisco specific certification that has been revamped and replaced by the new CCNA which covers networking, IP connectivity, IP services, automation, and security. There is now just one course and one exam. With more cloud technologies, Cisco updated the course to provide more fundamentals to include these web-based services.

Exam Cost: $600 valid for 3 years

8.  Google Cloud Security Engineer

Average salary is $130,938 per Glassdoor

The Google Cloud Security Engineer is another security certification that will ensure an engineer can secure the Google Cloud infrastructure services using best practices to manage the platform. There will be an expectation that the security engineer will know all areas of cloud security to include the management of access and identity, defining structure and policies, and have using the associated Google products to provide data protection and configurations. This credential will assess the ability to read platform logs and manage incident responses based on regulatory mandates.

Exam Cost: $200 valid for 2 years

9.    Google Certified Professional Cloud Architect

Average salary is $135,980 per ZipRecruiter and Forbes

The Google Cloud Professional Cloud Architect certification is for architects who want to validate their deep understanding of the Google Cloud platform. This professional certification will examine the ability to design and develop a strong architecture for the GCP.  It will also show strong knowledge of securing a scalable highly available system while ensuring operational reliability.

Exam Cost: $200 valid for 2 years

10.   Google Certified Professional Data Engineer

Average salary $129,467 for a data engineer without certification per

The Google Certified Professional Data Engineer is for engineers who will learn to create data-driven decision ability designing, building, security, and monitoring data systems. This certification will challenge your ability to design data processing systems, increase solution quality, operationalize ML models and data processing systems. It is recommended that there be at a minimum of 1 year of design experience and 1 year of managing solutions using Google’s cloud platform.

Exam Cost: $200 valid for 2 years

11.  IBM Certified Architect – Cloud Solutions

Average salary is $138,406 per Glassdoor

The Certified Architect – Cloud Solutions certification by IBM is geared toward current Solutions Architects who have the cloud architecture principles and solution patterns etc. This certification will validate the ability to completely design, plan out, and architect cloud solutions independently.  It will test knowledge of cloud concepts and map out an organization’s current architecture to architect a complete cloud solution based on best practices for the industry.

Exam Cost: $200

12.  (ISC)² Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP)

Average salary is $116,025 per

The Certified Cloud Security Professional is probably one of the more prestigious cloud security certifications as it is a global credential. Created primarily for leaders like architects, managers and high level engineers. This validates advanced knowledge in the design of security systems, along with best practices and policies. CCSP’s can manage and secure data, associated applications and infrastructure.

Exam Cost: $599 valid for 3 years

13.  Microsoft Certified Azure Administrator

Average salary is $107,763 per ZipRecruiter 

The Microsoft Certified Azure Administrator certification requires a previous Azure administration background. This exam will test your ability to perform the deployment and management of a virtual network for Azure and manage associated resources. It will also validate the administrator’s capability to manage the platform’s identities and governance. These are key skills as part of a cloud infrastructure team.

Exam Costs: $165 valid for 2 years

14.  Microsoft Azure Security Engineer

Average salary is $126,732 per ZipRecruiter

The Microsoft Azure Security Engineer certification was created for engineers who will be the SME on the Azure platform for security and threat protection. Before considering this exam, there should be a very strong scripting and automation background and have strong knowledge of cloud N-Tier architecture and other cloud abilities. Having this certification will test your ability to manage Azure security operations, secure the platform’s data and associated applications, manage identity and access, and carry out Azure protection.

Exam Costs: $165 valid for 2 years

15.  Microsoft Certified Azure Solutions Architect Expert

Average salary is $157,174 per Glassdoor

As a credential holder of a  Microsoft Certified Azure Solutions Architect Expert certification, it is expected that one be an expert on the Azure platform for designing and implementing architectural solutions. The responsibility will be to be a trusted advisor to stakeholders and have the ability to translate the business requirements into full-blown cloud solutions taking into account security, scalability, and reliability.

Exam Costs: $330-$495 (Associate Certification required) valid for 2 years

Please note that some of the salaries listed above for the 15 cloud platform certifications are average without a certification. For those that want to be long-term cloud practitioners, take full advantage of the extra edge that can be gained from having a certification. Consider related certifications to help give a deeper understanding of the cloud.

Many employers will support and pay for certifications that will increase employees’ cloud skills and provide stronger in-house cloud technology expertise.

Helpful cloud computing training & resources: