Find out what AWS, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure have to offer and which bootcamps and online classes will help you prepare for the exams.
According to Indeed.com, the average base salary for a cloud engineer is $120,707 and a cash bonus of $10,000 per year. Global Knowledge's 2019 IT Skills and Salary Survey set the figure at $138,320, second only to an IT executive. Cloud computing is bumping up salaries for project managers, business analysts, and security experts as well.
Cloud experts are in even higher demand due to the new business conditions created by the coronavirus. If you want to establish your cloud credentials or specialize in machine learning or DevOps, there are certification programs that can help you do that.
All of the major cloud providers have certification programs. Preparing to take the exam requires an investment of time and energy, including:
- Committing to 80-120 hours of study
- Reading white papers about the cloud platform
- Taking practice tests
SEE: Top IT certifications to increase your salary (free PDF)
Here is what you need to know about the certifications for each of the three major cloud providers as well as a vendor-neutral option from CompTIA. You'll find links to classes that can help you prepare for the tests as well.
AWS cloud certifications
There are 12 AWS certifications organized by difficulty into four groups:
- Foundational level: One course, for beginners to learn the fundamentals
- Associate level: Three courses: Solutions architect, Developer, SysOps administrator
- Professional level: Two courses: Solutions architect and DevOps engineer
- Speciality: Six courses: Advanced networking, Alexa skill builder, Data analytics, Database, Machine learning, and Security.
Amazon has an exam guide with sample questions and a practice exam for each one.
Here are a few courses to help you prepare for the exam:
- AWS Certification Exam Prep Courses - Global Knowledge
- AWS Cloud Essentials Course - TechRepublic Academy
- AWS Fundamentals Specialization - Coursera
AWS also offers a free seven-day trial of the Cloud Academy that includes learning paths, courses, exams, and hands-on labs.
Azure cloud certifications
Microsoft has both beginner and advanced programs for its cloud platform certifications. These three programs are the best place to start for all skill levels:
- Azure Fundamentals: An introduction to cloud concepts and core Azure services and preparation for other role-based or speciality certifications.
- Azure Administrator Associate: An intermediate course for people with at least six months of experience in administering Azure.
- DevOps Engineer Expert (formerly Azure Solutions Architect Expert): An advanced course with two prerequisites that shows the ability to design a DevOps strategy, including continuous integration and delivery, dependency management.
These courses will help you prepare for the exams:
- The Ultimate Microsoft Azure Administrator Certification Prep Courses - TechRepublic Academy
- Microsoft Azure Fundamentals - Global Knowledge
- Microsoft Azure Training Courses - NetCom Learning
Google cloud certifications
Google has three options for cloud practitioners:
- Associate Cloud Engineer - An introductory certification that shows the ability to use the Google Cloud Console and the command-line interface to plan, configure, deploy, and implement a cloud solution.
- Professional Cloud Architect - An advanced program that emphasizes the ability to design a cloud solution for security and compliance as well as analyze and optimize business processes.
- Professional Data Engineer - A speciality certification that tests the ability to design, build, operationalize, and secure data processing systems as well as train existing machine learning models.
These courses will help you prepare for the exam:
- Cloud Architecture with Google Cloud Professional Certificate - Coursera
- Google Cloud Certification Training Bundle - TechRepublic Academy
- Google Cloud Paltform Associate Cloud Engineer Bootcamp - Udemy
Google's training partner Pluralsight is offering a month of free access to all training content that will help you prepare for the certification. QwikLabs also offers one month access at no charge to more than 300 hands-on labs.
This certification is vendor-neutral and performance-based. It is a good fit for many jobs, including sys admins, data center managers, cloud engineers, project managers, business analysts focused on cloud computing, and net admins.
This program assesses skills required to perform effectively in data center jobs and is compliant with ISO 17024 standards and approved by the US Department of Defense to meet directive 8570.01-M requirements.
These courses will help you prepare for the exam:
- The CompTIA Secure Cloud Professional Bundle - $34.99, on sale, TechRepublic Academy
- CompTIA Cloud+ Certification Training - CompTIA
- CompTIA Cloud+ Bootcamp - Udemy
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