The cloud is no longer just the future of tech — it’s the here and now. Millions of businesses are attempting to take advantage of the cloud’s scalability, cost-efficiency, flexibility and accessibility. However, many businesses are finding themselves struggling with a serious skills gap when it comes to cloud computing.

SEE: 3 out of 4 IT teams are facing critical skill gaps (TechRepublic)

To truly harness the power of the cloud, businesses must fill a wide range of roles focused on everything from cloud architecture to cloud security. And for aspiring cloud experts, the opportunities are endless and ripe for the picking.

Whether you’re experienced in cloud computing or just getting started, a critical step in your career path should be cloud certification. Obtaining a certification underscores your knowledge of cloud-specific methods and tools. Plus, many organizations are looking for certified cloud specialists to fill their open roles.

There are many cloud certifications available out there depending on your tech career goals. As you pursue certification, remember to select a program that fits your chosen niche, whether operations, governance or something else.

Best cloud certifications

Google Professional Cloud Architect

Google is one of the top cloud service providers. The Google Professional Cloud Architect certification is a great choice for those looking to utilize the powerhouse platform. This certification covers everything from designing cloud infrastructure and compliance as well as cloud implementation and management.

Although there are no prerequisites for this certification, Google recommends having at least three years of industry experience prior to taking the exam.

Google Associate Cloud Engineer

For Google Cloud professionals with less than three years of experience, the Google Associate Cloud Engineer certification might be the right choice. This fundamental certification proves that the professional knows how to plan, configure, monitor and secure cloud-based environments using Google Cloud.

According to Google, this certification is best for those with six or more months of hands-on experience using Google Cloud.

CompTIA Cloud+

The CompTIA Cloud+ was designed for cloud professionals that must work with a wide range of cloud-based tools. In this certification, aspiring cloud experts learn how to analyze cloud models, maintain cloud environments, troubleshoot cloud tools, migrate legacy systems to the cloud and more.

The CompTIA Cloud+ prepares professionals for roles such as Cloud Engineer, Cloud Project Manager and Systems Engineer.

Microsoft Certified: Azure Fundamentals

Microsoft Azure is another of the heavy-hitters within the cloud computing space. The Microsoft Certified: Azure Fundamentals certification is a must-have for professionals who wish to work inside Azure. This certification covers the core concepts of Azure as well as the basics of the cloud, including cloud models, security and beyond.

Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate

The above Azure Fundamentals certification is a great stepping stone for other more advanced Azure certifications such as the Azure Administrator Associate.

This certification prepares professionals to be cloud administrators, focused on implementing and managing cloud environments. This includes everything from ensuring cloud governance to implementing cloud storage best practices.

According to Microsoft, skills measured within this certification include monitoring Azure resources, deploying Azure and managing virtual networking.

AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner

According to Gartner, Amazon Web Services is a leader in cloud services. AWS is also the most widely used cloud platform today. For this reason alone, an AWS certification is incredibly useful within the field.

The AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner certification is an entry-level certification for those with basic knowledge of the Amazon Web Services platform. AWS recommends professionals have six months of exposure to the AWS Cloud to be successful when pursuing this certification.

AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional

For those who want to take their AWS certification to the next level, the AWS Certified Solutions Architect Professional certification fits the bill. It instructs cloud professionals on AWS best practices and dives deeper into cloud architecture design and management.

This certification is best for cloud professionals who have two or more years of experience working within the AWS platform.

Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP)

Few certifications exist that focus on cloud security. However, the Certified Cloud Security Professional certification was designed to certify that a professional has the technical knowledge required to effectively secure cloud-based environments. The CCSP is often chosen by those who plan to obtain roles focused on cloud architecture or security analysis.

The CCSP includes topics such as data security, application security and legal risk and compliance. It’s important to note that the CCSP requires professionals to have a minimum of five years of work experience in IT as well as a few other prerequisites.

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Subscribe to the Cloud Insider Newsletter

This is your go-to resource for the latest news and tips on the following topics and more, XaaS, AWS, Microsoft Azure, DevOps, virtualization, the hybrid cloud, and cloud security. Delivered Mondays and Wednesdays