Top 10 Cloud Certifications to Explore in 2023

Cloud computing has been around since the late 1990s, but has been increasing in demand significantly over the last two decades. 

It's unclear where the term 'cloud computing' originated. Some sources cite Google CEO Eric Schmit during a conference, with others believing it was when AWSlaunched its Elastic Compute Cloud — both occurring in 2006. No matter who first coined the term, cloud computing was gaining the interest of professionals in the industry.

Since then, the term 'cloud computing' has become part of tech vernacular, synonymous with scalability, cost-efficiency, and innovation. It has fundamentally changed how businesses operate, enabling them to store and manage vast amounts of data without requiring extensive hardware infrastructures.

As a consequence of this shift toward cloud technology, there has been a subsequent surge in demand for cloud professionals to help run, manage, and optimize cloud systems.

That’s where cloud computing certification comes in, helping professionals show what they know, and stay up to date with emergent cloud tech. Let's explore some of the widely recognized, high-demand, certifications to get you started on your cloud computing career.

(Psst, for more on tech and data jobs, check out these resources: Cybersecurity Certifications, DevOps Certifications, Certifications for Data Science & Analytics and IT Salaries: Trends, Roles & Locations.)

Does cloud certification help get a job?

Absolutely! The need for trained professionals in this field has meant that more and more organizations are requiring certifications from their prospective employees. By obtaining cloud certifications, you’ll demonstrate your ability to be able to deploy, manage, and maintain cloud-based infrastructure — and it pays better too. According to PayScale, the average base salary (USD) for a professional in Cloud Computing is $133k/year

Getting your cloud certifications validates your expertise in designing, deploying, and managing applications and infrastructure on platforms such:

  • Amazon Web Services (AWS)
  • Google Cloud Platform (GCP)
  • Microsoft Azure

Top cloud computing certifications

These certifications are a great way to show mastery of key cloud computing concepts, and to stand out as a cloud professional:

AWS Certified SysOps Administrator - Associate

With a certificate in SysOps Administrator, you'll be able to demonstrate your valuable experience in a systems administrator role, along with your expertise in AWS technology with a strong understanding of mapping on-premises to the cloud. 

Your certification will demonstrate you can deploy, manage, and operate workloads while implementing security controls and compliance as needed.

Additionally, you'll show proficiency in working with various other cloud services, ensuring you are well-equipped to handle a range of responsibilities in the field.

Exam Costs: $150 USD
Exam Length: 130 minutes - 65 scoring opportunities
Learn about the AWS Certified SysOps Administrator requirements and exam details

AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate

With this certification as a Solutions Architect, you'll have the expertise to handle various compute, networking, storage, and database AWS services. You'll be proficient in deploying and managing workloads on AWS while implementing essential security controls and ensuring compliance requirements. Utilizing the AWS Management Console and AWS Command Line Interface (CLI) will be second nature to you. 

In addition, your strong understanding of the AWS Well-Architected Framework, networking, security services, and the AWS global infrastructure will enable you to confidently identify and define technical requirements for AWS-based applications.

Exam Costs: $150 USD
Exam Length: 130 minutes - 65 questions
Learn about the AWS Certified Solutions Architect requirements and exam details

AWS Certified Developer – Associate

By obtaining this AWS Developer certification, you'll demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of core AWS services, utilization of basic AWS architecture best practices, and proficiency in developing, deploying, and debugging cloud-based applications using AWS. 

This certification validates the skills needed to excel in building and maintaining cloud-based solutions.

Exam Cost: $150 USD
Exam Length: 130 minutes - 65 questions
Learn about the AWS Certified Develop requirements and exam details

Google Certified Professional (GCP) Cloud Architect

With a Cloud Architect certification, you'll prove you have the skills to leverage Google Cloud technologies effectively. You'll be able to design, develop, and manage secure, scalable, and dynamic solutions to drive business objectives.

As a Professional Cloud Architect, you will excel in tasks such as: 

  • Designing cloud solution architectures
  • Managing infrastructure provisioning
  • Security and compliance
  • Optimizing technical and business processes
  • Managing cloud architecture implementations
  • Ensuring solution and operations reliability.

Exam Cost: $200 USD
Exam Length: 2 hours - 50-60 multiple choice and multiple select questions
Learn about the Google Certified Professional Cloud Architecture requirements and exam details

Google Certified Professional (GCP) Data Engineer

With a Professional Data Engineering certificate, you will be equipped to drive data-driven decision-making by collecting, transforming, and publishing data. You will specialize in designing, building, securing, and monitoring data processing systems while prioritizing aspects such as security, scalability, reliability, and flexibility.

Additionally, you will leverage and deploy machine learning models, ensuring continuous training for optimal performance. The skills measured in this certificate include designing data processing systems, operationalizing machine learning models, ensuring solution quality, and building and operationalizing data processing systems.

The new Professional Data Engineer beta exam will be live starting September 19, 2023.
Beta Exam Cost: $120 USD
Beta Exam Length: 4 hours - Multiple choice and multiple select
Learn about the Google Certified Professional Data Engineer requirements and exam details

Microsoft Certified: Microsoft Azure Fundamentals

With this certification, you will possess the foundational knowledge of cloud concepts within Azure. You will be able to demonstrate your expertise in various aspects of cloud computing, such as public, private, and hybrid cloud models, as well as IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS.

Furthermore, you will showcase your understanding of how Azure supports security, privacy, compliance, and trust. 

This certification is ideal for individuals with skills and experience in IT areas like infrastructure management, database management, or software development. After obtaining this certification, you will be equipped to perform tasks related to describing cloud concepts, Azure architecture and services, as well as Azure management and governance.

Exam Cost: $99 USD
Exam Length: 1 hour - 32-42 questions
Learn about the Microsoft Azure Fundamentals requirements and exam details

Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect Expert

With a Microsoft Azure solutions architect certification, you will possess subject matter expertise in designing cloud and hybrid solutions on Azure. As a certified solutions architect, you will advise stakeholders, translate business requirements into Azure solutions, and align them with the Azure Well-Architected Framework.

You will collaborate with developers, administrators, security engineers, and data engineers to implement solutions. Your role will also entail managing various aspects of IT operations, including networking, virtualization, identity, security, business continuity, disaster recovery, data platforms, and governance.

Moreover, you will gain proficiency in Azure administration, development, and DevOps processes while designing identity, governance, monitoring, data storage, business continuity, and infrastructure solutions.

Exam Cost: $165 USD
Exam Length: 2 hours - 46-60 questions
Prerequisite: Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate
Learn about the Microsoft Azure Solutions Architect Expert requirements and exam details

Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate

With this certification, you will have the expertise to implement, manage, and monitor an organization's Microsoft Azure environment. You will be skilled in working with virtual networks, storage, compute, identity, security, and governance.

As an Azure administrator, you'll play a vital role within a larger team dedicated to cloud infrastructure implementation. Collaborating with other roles, you'll deliver Azure networking, security, database, application development, and DevOps solutions.

Additionally, you'll be familiar with operating systems, networking, servers, virtualization, and tools like PowerShell, Azure CLI, the Azure portal, Azure Resource Manager templates, and Microsoft Azure Active Directory (Azure AD).

Your skills will encompass managing Azure identities and governance, implementing and managing storage, deploying and managing Azure compute resources, implementing and managing virtual networking, and monitoring and maintaining Azure resources.

Exam Cost: $165 USD
Exam Length: 2 hours - 40 to 60 questions
Learn about the Microsoft Azure Administrator Associate requirements and exam details

CompTIA Cloud+

With this certificate, you will be equipped to perform a range of essential tasks in the field of secure cloud deployment and automation. You will have the skills to analyze various cloud models and design optimal solutions to meet business requirements.

Additionally, you will possess the ability to manage and maintain servers, including configuring operating systems, controlling access, and implementing virtualization. This certificate will enable you to successfully execute workload migrations to the cloud by analyzing system requirements.

Furthermore, you will be able to maintain and optimize cloud environments, ensuring proper automation and orchestration procedures, as well as backup, restore, and disaster recovery operations.

Finally, you will possess the expertise to troubleshoot capacity, automation, connectivity, and security concerns related to cloud implementations.

Exam Cost: $358 USD
Exam Length: 90 minutes - Up to 90 questions
Learn about the CompTIA Cloud+ requirements and exam details

Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP)

With the CCSP certification, you will have the skills needed to excel in IT, cyber, information, and software security roles. You will be responsible for implementing best practices in cloud security architecture, design, operations, and service orchestration. This includes positions such as Cloud Architect, Cloud Engineer, Cloud Consultant, Cloud Administrator, Cloud Security Analyst, Cloud Specialist, Auditor of Cloud Computing Services, and Professional Cloud Developer.

The CCSP covers a range of essential skills, including cloud concepts, architecture and design, cloud data security, cloud platform and infrastructure security, cloud application security, cloud security operations, as well as legal, risk, and compliance considerations.

Exam Cost: $599 USD
Exam Length: 3 Hours — 100-150 questions
Learn about the Certified Cloud Security Professional requirements and exam details

Find the right certification for you

Whether you are a newcomer to the IT field or an experienced professional seeking to update your skills, going after any of these certifications offers a valuable stepping stone to enhance your career prospects. The certifications mentioned in this post are just the tip of the iceberg, given the vast multitude of skills you can acquire and refine throughout your career in cloud computing.

By investing in your knowledge and skills, you are ultimately investing in your future as a cloud professional. Remember — learning is a lifelong journey. Embrace it, and let the world of cloud computing open new doors for you.

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Leanne Mitton
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Leanne Mitton

Leanne Mitton is a 25-year digital agency owner of Norlink who uses content marketing and SEO to help small businesses build better, more effective blogs and get found more often online. You can connect with Leanne on LinkedIn.