The popularity of cloud computing continues to soar with most major businesses having now adopted the technology in one way or another. It is therefore not a surprise to see many IT professionals rushing to validate their cloud credentials for current and future employers. However the market is more competitive than ever before.
Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform are the three giants of cloud computing, each offering a range of industry-recognised certifications. So whether you’re a professional hoping to further your skills or just starting out in your cloud career, you can be forgiven for feeling slightly overwhelmed. But don’t worry – in this post, we’ll help you decide which cloud certification to pursue.
The answer will of course depend on a number of factors such as your IT background and experience, the sector you’re working in, and you’re long-term career goals. Some IT professionals decide to adopt a multi-platform approach to obtaining cloud computing certifications. But while versatile skills are always a plus, you are probably best advised to focus your training efforts to begin with.
Amazon Web Services launched in 2006 and continues to dominate the cloud computing battle. Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform have both fallen significantly behind Amazon’s offering in terms of revenue and general popularity among major organisations. According to Amazon, the number of active AWS users is well over 1,000,000. Their impressive list of clients includes the likes of Netflix, Apple and NASA, to name only a few. And the growth of AWS is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon with the platform currently boasting a global market share of 62 per cent.
Amazon offer an extensive range of AWS Certifications requiring increasing levels of expertise from Foundation to Specialty. They also provide role-based paths for aspiring Solutions Architects, Developers and SysOps Administrators. AWS Certifications are universally recognised and highly valued within the cloud computing industry. They standout for their thoroughness and rigour. You will need to learn how to design, deploy and operate infrastructure and applications on Amazon’s cloud in a variety of scenarios. Getting AWS Certified will consequently not only mark you as a cloud specialist who can drive real value for employers but may well open the door to cloud opportunities on other platforms.
A full list of the AWS Certifications currently offered by Amazon is detailed below:
Foundation AWS Certification
Associate AWS Certification
Professional AWS Certification
Specialty AWS Certification
As the name would suggest Microsoft Azure (formerly Windows Azure) is Microsoft’s cloud computing platform. It now offers more than 600 services to meet the growing demands businesses may have, including unpredictable spikes in data processing, backup and archive capabilities, and choice of tools and frameworks.
Microsoft recently announced 42 Azure regions globally which is more than any other major cloud provider. In 2016 Microsoft Learning streamlined their technical certification offering but the Microsoft Azure certification roadmap is still slightly more complicated than that of Amazon Web Services. The three paths are modular and link with core infrastructure skills in Windows Server, as detailed below:
Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) – Cloud Platform
To become an MSCA, you must demonstrate your capabilities as a cloud administrator by passing two of the following exams:
Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) – Linux
To get Linux MCSA you need to pass a Microsoft and a Linux certification:
MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure Solutions Expert
This certification provides professionals with a good mix of infrastructure and cloud experience. To get MCSE you must pass on of the following exams:
You then need to pass an additional exam from this extensive list of options:
The Google Cloud Platform is third behind AWS and Microsoft Azure in the cloud computing market. However impressive customer wins have helped raise its profile. Spotify for example, selected Google over AWS and Microsoft Azure to power its analytics and infrastructure. Apple followed suit last year, but only in addition to continuing to rely on AWS as the main provider of infrastructure for their cloud-based services.
Google currently offers just three certifications with different learning tracks depending on your area of expertise:
While Microsoft Azure and, to a lesser extent, the Google Cloud Platform are putting up a good fight, there is no doubt that AWS is the major player in cloud computing today. For those deciding which certifications to pursue it is of course important to consider the sector you work in and your long-term career goals. However, it is currently hard to look past Amazon’s considerable offering of AWS Certifications. Getting AWS Certified will not only validate you as a skilled AWS expert but will also potentially leave the door open to future opportunities on other platforms. And don’t just take our word for it. The AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate certification recently topped a survey of the 15 highest-paying IT certifications.
If you’re still not sure what certification path is right for you or want to find out more about our AWS programmes, please give us a call on 020 3965 1966.