Skip to main content

What Certifications Should I Get?

As we mentioned in a post earlier this month, the old AWS slogan the “Cloud is the new normal” is indeed a reality today. The question we’ll be trying to answer in this blog is: ‘What certifications should I get?‘ Cloud components are going into everything from mobile computing to home games and email campaigns, according to a recent article from The New York Times. At the same time, there is still a large skills gap when it comes to finding the right competencies in the workforce. As companies embrace a multi-cloud environment, there is a growing demand for fluency across a variety of platforms.

If you are a professional who wants to add cloud experience to your resume or if you’re just starting out, you may be wondering: what certifications should I get? In this post, we’ll look at some of the most popular certifications across the three major platforms: Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform.

What certifications should I get? The major platforms

So, what certifications should I get? The answer depends on a range of factors, from your background and experience to the sector you’re working in (or plan to work in), and your long-term goals.

While many companies have already committed to a platform, there is an increasing trend for a multi-platform approach. Choosing a platform will help you focus your training efforts in the beginning, however, it can’t hurt to have versatile cloud skills, especially if you look at how the cloud sector is growing.

As the most mature cloud platform, Amazon Web Services has a solid lead in the public cloud market and is continuing to grow. As the previously mentioned New York Times article pointed out, Amazon Web Services is increasing its scope to the Internet of Things, which will only expand its reach in the market.

At the same time, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform are also ramping up and gaining market share. According to a report by Synergy Research Group for Q2 2016, AWS has a 31% market share, with 11% for Microsoft Azure, and 8% for Google. Google and Microsoft showed significant year over year growth of 162% and 100% respectively compared to 53% growth for AWS.

To know what certifications you need, let’s take a closer look at the cloud platforms and the certifications that they currently offer.  

Amazon Web Services

AWS started in 2006 and has grown to a leader with more than 70 services for everything from compute, storage, and databases, to analytics and IoT applications. Customers include Netflix, Intuit, Capital One, GE. CEO Jeff Bezos told shareholders that AWS would hit $10 billion in annual sales in 2016.

AWS certifications stand out for their thoroughness and rigor for critical cloud engineering positions. They emphasize solid conceptual knowledge of the entire platform and hands-on experience with the AWS infrastructure and its many unique and complex components and services.

Simply put, an AWS certification shows you have the skills and the knowledge to design, deploy, or manage applications on Amazon Web Services. If you’re AWS-certified, it tells potential employers that you have what it takes to build and manage AWS solutions for them.

And, because they are so widely recognized, AWS certifications can open the door to cloud opportunities, even if for other platforms. Also, the process of training and learning required to pass the exams allows you to strengthen your knowledge in a variety of areas and scenarios.

AWS introduced certifications in 2013 and currently offers three associate-level exams and two advanced, professional certifications. The certification tracks focus on three areas: Solutions Architects, Developers, and SysOps and include the following certifications:

  • AWS Certified Developer – Associate
  • AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – Associate
  • AWS Certified DevOps Engineer – Professional
  • AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate
  • AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional

If you’re already considering the AWS platform and thinking about what certifications you need to get started, its Certified Solutions Architect – Associate wouldn’t be a bad choice. According to a survey of the 15 top-paying IT certifications for 2016 by Global Knowledge, the AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate offers the highest annual salary on their list:  $125,871. Also according to the survey, the other AWS certifications command an average $100,000 annual salary. Let’s take a closer look at this certification.

The AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate certification is for those who design and deploy distributed applications. It covers Network technologies, AWS-based applications and how client interfaces connect to the platform, building secure and reliable applications, and deploying hybrid systems (those with on-premise data centers as well as AWS components).

The exam domains include designing highly available and scalable systems, (requires familiarity with AWS infrastructure and concepts), AWS implementation and deployment, related data security practices, disaster recovery techniques, and troubleshooting.

AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate certification is a pre-requisite for the professional-level certification, AWS Solutions Architect—Professional. This certification requires two years of hands-on AWS experience and covers network design, storage, security, scalability and elasticity, cloud migration and hybrid architecture.

At Cloud Academy, we have a lot of great resources for learning everything you need to pass any of the AWS certification exams, as well as great study and preparation strategies on our blog.

Check out this post to learn more about the different AWS certifications and discover which one is right for you.

Microsoft Azure

According to Microsoft, “80% of the Fortune 500 is on the Microsoft Cloud.” Microsoft Azure is Microsoft’s cloud computing platform. Its growth in adoption and the strength of its end-to-end hybrid cloud offering are good indicators for continued growth for Microsoft Azure, especially inside the enterprise.  

When it comes to certification, Microsoft Azure’s path is a bit more complicated. In late September 2016, Microsoft Learning announced that it was streamlining its technical certifications with five new certification paths. Within the MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure path (which in itself is a certification), the MCSA: Cloud Platform Solutions Associate certification requires passing several specialist exams. Users can choose two out of five exams:

  • Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions exam 532
  • Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions exam 533
  • Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions exam 534
  • Designing and Implementing Cloud Data Platform Solutions exam 473
  • Designing and Implementing Big Data Analytics Solutions (exam not yet available)

Google Cloud Platform

Although it’s third behind AWS in the overall cloud market, the cloud appears to be a major area of emphasis for Google. On parent-company Alphabet’s October 2016 earnings call, Google CEO Sundar Pichai emphasized that more cloud-based functionality would be coming.

Recent customer wins have also helped raise the profile of the Google Cloud. In February 2016, Spotify announced that they were working with the Google Cloud Platform team to provide platform infrastructure. To scale with their huge volume of content, Spotify made numerous software architecture design changes to take full advantage of GCP. This includes replacing Apache Kafka with Cloud Pub/Sub for its more reliable persistent queue, and moving from batch processing to streaming with Dataflow to improve the end-to-end latency.

In March, Apple announced that it would be using the Google Cloud to provide some infrastructure services for iCloud and other cloud-based services, in addition to continuing to use AWS.

Google Cloud Platform currently offers three certifications:

  • Google Certified Professional – Cloud Architect (currently in beta)
  • Google Certified Professional – Data Engineer (currently in beta)
  • Google Certified Associate – G Suite Administrator

What’s next?

If you’re still wondering which platform or certification path is right for you, the Cloud Academy blog is a rich resource of insight from a variety of viewpoints, from new cloud users to developers and instructors who have experience on each of the cloud platforms referenced here. Just search the blog for the platform of your choice and see what our contributors have to say.

In the meantime, we wish you the best on your cloud journey!

Avatar

Written by

Cloud Academy Team

Related Posts

Avatar
Stuart Scott
— June 19, 2019

AWS Compute Fundamentals Update

AWS is renowned for the rate at which it reinvents, revolutionizes, and meets customer demands and expectations through its continuous cycle of feature and service updates. With hundreds of updates a month, it can be difficult to stay on top of all the changes made available.  Here ...

Read more
  • AWS
Jeff Hyatt
Jeff Hyatt
— June 18, 2019

10 Steps for an Effective Reserved Instances Strategy

Amazon Web Services (AWS) offers three different ways to pay for EC2 Instances: On-Demand, Reserved Instances, and Spot Instances. This article will focus on effective strategies for purchasing Reserved Instances. While most of the major cloud platforms offer pre-pay and reservation dis...

Read more
  • AWS
  • EC2
Joe Nemer
Joe Nemer
— June 18, 2019

AWS Certification Practice Exam: What to Expect from Test Questions

If you’re building applications on the AWS cloud or looking to get started in cloud computing, certification is a way to build deep knowledge in key services unique to the AWS platform. AWS currently offers 11 certifications that cover major cloud roles including Solutions Architect, De...

Read more
  • AWS
  • AWS Certifications
Avatar
John Chell
— June 13, 2019

AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate: A Study Guide

The AWS Solutions Architect - Associate Certification (or Sol Arch Associate for short) offers some clear benefits: Increases marketability to employers Provides solid credentials in a growing industry (with projected growth of as much as 70 percent in five years) Market anal...

Read more
  • AWS
  • AWS Certifications
Chris Gambino and Joe Niemiec
Chris Gambino and Joe Niemiec
— June 11, 2019

Moving Data to S3 with Apache NiFi

Moving data to the cloud is one of the cornerstones of any cloud migration. Apache NiFi is an open source tool that enables you to easily move and process data using a graphical user interface (GUI).  In this blog post, we will examine a simple way to move data to the cloud using NiFi c...

Read more
  • AWS
  • S3
Avatar
Chandan Patra
— June 11, 2019

Amazon DynamoDB: 10 Things You Should Know

Amazon DynamoDB is a managed NoSQL service with strong consistency and predictable performance that shields users from the complexities of manual setup.Whether or not you've actually used a NoSQL data store yourself, it's probably a good idea to make sure you fully understand the key ...

Read more
  • AWS
  • DynamoDB
Avatar
Andrew Larkin
— June 6, 2019

The 11 AWS Certifications: Which is Right for You and Your Team?

As companies increasingly shift workloads to the public cloud, cloud computing has moved from a nice-to-have to a core competency in the enterprise. This shift requires a new set of skills to design, deploy, and manage applications in cloud computing.As the market leader and most ma...

Read more
  • AWS
  • AWS Certifications
Sam Ghardashem
Sam Ghardashem
— May 15, 2019

Aviatrix Integration of a NextGen Firewall in AWS Transit Gateway

Learn how Aviatrix’s intelligent orchestration and control eliminates unwanted tradeoffs encountered when deploying Palo Alto Networks VM-Series Firewalls with AWS Transit Gateway.Deploying any next generation firewall in a public cloud environment is challenging, not because of the f...

Read more
  • AWS
Joe Nemer
Joe Nemer
— May 3, 2019

AWS Config Best Practices for Compliance

Use AWS Config the Right Way for Successful ComplianceIt’s well-known that AWS Config is a powerful service for monitoring all changes across your resources. As AWS Config has constantly evolved and improved over the years, it has transformed into a true powerhouse for monitoring your...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Compliance
Avatar
Francesca Vigliani
— April 30, 2019

Cloud Academy is Coming to the AWS Summits in Atlanta, London, and Chicago

Cloud Academy is a proud sponsor of the 2019 AWS Summits in Atlanta, London, and Chicago. We hope you plan to attend these free events that bring the cloud computing community together to connect, collaborate, and learn about AWS. These events are all about learning. You can learn how t...

Read more
  • AWS
  • AWS Summits
Paul Hortop
Paul Hortop
— April 2, 2019

How to Monitor Your AWS Infrastructure

The AWS cloud platform has made it easier than ever to be flexible, efficient, and cost-effective. However, monitoring your AWS infrastructure is the key to getting all of these benefits. Realizing these benefits requires that you follow AWS best practices which constantly change as AWS...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Monitoring
Joe Nemer
Joe Nemer
— April 1, 2019

AWS EC2 Instance Types Explained

Amazon Web Services’ resource offerings are constantly changing, and staying on top of their evolution can be a challenge. Elastic Cloud Compute (EC2) instances are one of their core resource offerings, and they form the backbone of most cloud deployments. EC2 instances provide you with...

Read more
  • AWS
  • EC2