Cloud Certifications – Which is the most popular?
More than one-third of businesses admit that cloud investments should be a top priority, according to Gartner.
The cloud services market is expected to grow exponentially through 2022 — as it has over the last few years. In fact, Gartner expects the cloud market to be worth $214.3 billion by the end of 2019.
With so much growth, it’s easy to see why becoming knowledgeable in the cloud will help any IT services professional. Going after the top cloud certifications is a surefire way to gain the knowledge to secure new roles.
But a variety of cloud certifications exist for professionals across every skill level. While some are specific to companies such as Microsoft and Amazon, others are broader or focus only on certain skills. So how do you choose the right certification for your career goals — and what makes them worthwhile in the first place?
Why Are Cloud Certifications Important?
If you are looking to stand out among the competition in the job market, seeking out the best cloud certifications is a great way to distinguish yourself.
Certifications show current and potential employers that you’re excited about the work and willing to go above and beyond. And they can help you prove you have the skills to work within the cloud by measuring your knowledge against industry best practices.
Vendor-neutral certifications demonstrate that you have the foundational expertise to work within any application. But if you’re targeting a specific role, or your company is implementing a particular platform, a vendor-specific certification might be the way to go.
Either way, having a certification on your résumé won’t help much if it doesn’t relate to your current or future employer.
Best Cloud Certifications 2019
Choosing the Best Cloud Certification for Your Career
The pricing of the different cloud services varies wildly — across regions, across offerings, across discounts. If cost is your main differentiator when choosing a cloud service, analyzing resource requirements on a project-by-project basis and reevaluating those requirements regularly is the way to go.
Here are the top six best cloud certifications:
1. AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional
Amazon Web Services is one of the most popular cloud platforms around, so getting a certification in its solution can help you gain a role just about anywhere. The certification program teaches you how to design scalable applications on AWS.
Specifically, the Certified Solutions Architect – Professional certification teaches you how to protect your infrastructure from DDoS attacks, implement encryption, manage multiple accounts and move large amounts of data.
If you’re a networking professional with a few years of experience creating and implementing cloud environments on AWS, this certification is for you. You should already understand how to design cloud solutions and architectures, as well as everything that goes along with them, such as data storage, cloud migration, security, etc.
If you’re interested in earning your AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional certification, you can take the Advanced Architecting on AWS course to get started.
2. CompTIA Cloud+ Certification
If you’re not quite ready for advanced certifications, CompTIA Cloud+ is a great introductory certification. The certification is meant for people with two or three years of experience working with data center administration, storage and networking.
If you’re interested in learning more about virtual data center management and infrastructure, then CompTIA Cloud+ can act as your guide for optimizing such services. And it is one of the few vendor-neutral certifications that isn’t restricted to a single function such as networking or security. Take the CompTIA Cloud+ training course today.
3. Cisco CCNA Cloud
Cisco’s CCNA Cloud is a role-specific certification designed to help cloud engineers, administrators and network engineers transition into higher functions.
Earning this cloud certification also equips you to help your company evolve with changing business and technology demands. There aren’t any prerequisites for this certification, but you can take relevant Cisco training courses to prepare for the exam.
4. Microsoft Certified Azure Solutions Architect Expert
Microsoft’s Certified Azure Solutions Architect certification can help you gain advanced skills with its proprietary platform and learn how to decode business requirements into scalable and secure cloud solutions.
You will be measured on your skills in infrastructure, security, app deployment, data authentication, cloud development, and cloud solution design. Like the certification above, this is a role-specific certification meant to help you become a cloud architect.
Because this is an expert-level certification, you should have experience in cloud development and administrator beforehand. Microsoft requires you to take the courses, AZ-300, and AZ-301, prior to earning the Azure Solutions Architect certification.
5. Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP)
The Certified Cloud Security Professional from (ISC)² is meant to help you learn about cloud security. Unlike role-based or vendor-based certifications, this one is function-based. It is, however, an expert-level certification, so you’ll need to take the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) beforehand.
The CCSP gives you the tools to secure and manage your cloud environments. It demonstrates your advanced technical skills when it comes to best practices, policies, and procedures in conjunction with designing and managing data, applications and infrastructure security.
6. Google Cloud Certified – Professional Cloud Architect
Google’s Cloud Architect certification is one of the highest paying IT certifications today. The advanced certification focuses on the skills required to perform the cloud architect role in a Google Cloud Platform (GCP) environment.
The Cloud Architect certification teaches you how to design, manage, provision and secure cloud solution architecture. It’s designed for experienced cloud professionals, enterprise architects, system administrators and developers who want to validate their proficiency with Google Cloud Platform.
You can start preparing for the Cloud Architect certification exam with the course, Google Cloud Platform Fundamentals – Core Infrastructure.
It’s important to know
If you’ve heard of cloud computing at all, you’ve heard of Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud. Between the three of them, they’ll be raking in over $50 billion in 2019. If you’re on the cloud, chances are good you’re using at least one of them.
The latest RightScale State of the Cloud Report pegs AWS adoption at 61%, Azure at 52% and Google Cloud at 19% (see the purple above). What’s more, almost all respondents (as denoted in blue) were experimenting with or planned to use one of the top three clouds. Which, if you math that up, means that 84% of respondents are going to be using AWS at some point, 77% will be using Azure and 55% will be using Google Cloud.
Even in “the cloud,” the location of your workloads matters. Their proximity to the end-user (as well as to the database) reduces delays. And, of course, laws vary depending upon the government in question.
As of this writing, AWS has 18 regions: five in North America, one in South America, five in Europe, six in Asia and one in Australia. It also has two regions in China and two classified for US government use.
Azure blows AWS out of the water with its regions: 54 total. It has ten in North America, one in South America, eight in Europe (two within the German cloud), nine in Asia and four in Australia (within its Australia cloud). It also has regions in China and regions set aside for US government use.
GCP has regions six in North America, one in South America, six in Europe, six in Asia and one in Australia.
Despite the new services that cloud service providers are constantly releasing (I’m looking at you, serverless), virtual machines remain the bread-and-butter of the cloud because, y’know, servers. They’re going to remain a thing for a long time for a lot of organizations.
AWS’s Elastic Compute Cloud supports Windows and Linux, as well as bare-metal instances. They have instance types that are optimized for memory and GPU, and all the newer types have great networking. The default pricing model is on-demand by hour or second. AWS’s spot instances are preemptible and can offer a 90% discount. Their reserved instances are well suited to those who have right-sized their instances and don’t mind being locked into a contract for one or three years.
Azure Virtual Machines support Windows and Linux as well as specialized, licensed products like Oracle and SAP. Because it’s a Microsoft product, the discounts on Windows and SQL Server machines are substantial — undoubtedly part of why big enterprises pick Azure as their first stop on the hybrid cloud train. Azure also offers preemptible virtual machines through Batch and reserved virtual machines.
Google Cloud’s Compute Engine also supports Windows and Linux. Like Azure and AWS, it has standard machine sizes, but it also offers the ability to customize. Google’s preemptible virtual machines have fixed pricing and are enabled with a simple
--preemptible flag, which is fairly compelling. Their “committed use discount” is unique because it goes off of resource allocation, not machine size, and is always billed month-to-month.