Best Cloud Professional Certifications in 2021

The demand for cloud skills is high but so is the competition in this fledgling field. Cloud professionals must constantly hone their skills to ensure they remain relevant in the sector. We have compiled a list of the best cloud professional certifications to help you do just that.

In this article, you’ll find out which is the most suitable certification for your career as well as which courses to take to prepare you for the certification exams.

What Is a Cloud Professional Certification?

A cloud professional certification is a credential that validates professional skills and knowledge in networking, database management, data analysis, programming, and information security.

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Big tech companies such as Google, Amazon, and LinkedIn are focusing on cloud technology because of its impact on artificial intelligence and big data. If you decide to get certified in cloud technology, you will have a greater chance of landing a job in one of these top-rated companies.

Professional Certification vs Certificate Program

There are important differences between a professional certification and a certificate program.

Certificate programs are offered by education providers and yield a certificate of completion to the student. Importantly, this certificate does not mean the student has mastered any particular skill; it just shows that they have completed the course. Certificate programs are open to all students, regardless of expertise level.

Professional certifications, on the other hand, are awarded by third-party associations. Obtaining a professional certification indicates that the practitioner has mastered the skills that were being tested. To obtain a certification, you must pass one or several exams.

Now that you know the difference, let’s look at the top cloud certifications out there and what you need to pass the exams.

Cloud Skills: What’s Demand Like in 2021?

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for professionals working in information technology is projected to grow by 11 percent. It will likely increase even further as more organizations seek professionals with extensive skills in cloud computing.

Given these numbers, it is safe to say that if you get certified you will have plenty of job opportunities. A professional certification shows the recruiting team that you can complete specific tasks to a higher standard than regular practitioners.

Importance of Cloud Certification

The importance of cloud certifications is undeniable. These certifications are instrumental in helping professionals advance in their careers. Obtaining a professional certification indicates that your abilities are on par with the current industry standards.

If you decide to get certified for cloud-based skills, you will have more job opportunities coming your way. Employers seek professionals with expert skills in cloud computing to help manage their businesses. You’ll be more likely to receive promotions as well.

Top 10 Cloud Certifications

Top 10 Cloud Certifications

We have compiled a list of the best cloud certifications available for IT professionals. These top certifications will help you progress in your career or transition to a new one if that’s what you are looking for. They are popular amongst industry experts.

Without further ado, these are the best cloud professional certifications out there.

AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate

Cost: $150

Validity: Three years

If you have more than one year of experience as a solutions architect, this is the certification you should acquire. This certification proves that you have the knowledge and ability to deploy applications with AWS technologies.

To get this certification, you will have to pass a 65-question examination that assesses your understanding of AWS and related technologies.

AWS Certified SysOps Administrator

Cost: $150

Validity: Three years

The AWS Certified SysOps Administrator certification demonstrates your proficiency in AWS and your ability to apply best practices. We recommend this certification if you already have an in-depth understanding of the principles behind AWS.

The exam for the AWS Certified SysOps Administrator certification tests you on network technologies, auditing systems, networking concepts, and security concepts.

Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP)

Cost: $125

Validity: Three years

Many would argue that obtaining the CCSP certification is key to building a successful career in the industry. CCSP proves that you have the technical skills required to secure data on the cloud. It demonstrates that you can manage and design applications in the cloud using best practices. If you want to prepare for the CCSP exams, you can access the free CCSP exam guide on the (ISC)² website.

Cisco Certified Network Administrator (CCNA)

Cost: $1,200 for two exams

Validity: Three years

If you are a network engineer, cloud administrator, or enterprise architect, getting the CCNA certification is a fantastic idea. Preparing for this certification will hone your cloud skillset, and you will be better equipped to help any organization during technology transitions.

To obtain this certification, you must pass an exam that assesses you on a wide range of IT concepts. It is recommended that you take the Implementing and Administering Cisco Solutions training program to maximize your chances of success.

Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) Data Center

Cost: $600

Validity: Three years

The CCNP Data Center certification is ideal for professionals working in data centers. If you are a cloud designer, cloud architect, cloud administrator, or cloud engineer, getting this certification is mandatory.

CCNP showcases your knowledge and skills in designing and managing clouds and their infrastructure. You will need to pass two exams: a core exam and an exam on the concentration of your choice. You have six concentrations to choose from. Cisco offers a training program to prepare for the exams.

To acquire this certification, you must first earn the CCNA and the Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) certifications first.

CompTIA Cloud+

Cost: $338

Validity: Three years

If you want to validate your skills in maintaining cloud infrastructure services, this is the certification for you. This certification is great for cloud engineers, cloud developers, systems administrators, network administrators, and business analysts.

The certification exams will test your knowledge on all major cloud topics. You will also be assessed on new cloud-based technologies used by big organizations. To prepare for the exams, you can access the study guides or an instructor-led training program.

The same platform also offers training in management, security, and configurations.

Associate Cloud Engineer

Cost: $125

Validity: Two years

A professional with Google’s Associate Cloud Engineer certification is highly sought after as they are experts in using the Google Cloud Console to manage and maintain services. In the examination, expect questions on setting up a cloud environment, the configuration of security, and installing a cloud solution.

To acquire this certification, you should have at least six months of experience in cloud management. Such experience will enable you to deploy applications in Google Cloud.

Professional Cloud Architect

Cost: $200

Validity: Two years

This Google Cloud certification shows employers that you can design, develop, and manage highly scalable and secure solutions for business growth. The certification exam assesses your ability to design and manage cloud solution architecture. It also tests you on managing cloud architecture and optimizing business processes.

You will find an exam guide and training on Google Cloud. You can also attend a webinar to familiarize yourself with potential exam questions.

Microsoft Certified: Azure Fundamentals

Cost: $99

Validity: Two years

This is an excellent certification for beginners in the field working with cloud-based solutions. To earn this certification, you will need a strong grasp of the fundamentals of cloud services and their relation to Microsoft Azure.

The certification exam measures your command of networking, computing, application development and support, and storage. It will also assess your knowledge of Azure services and cloud concepts.

Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect Expert

Cost: $330
Validity: Two years

This is an excellent certification for professionals with extensive knowledge and experience handling solutions based on Microsoft Azure. This includes designing, computing, developing, and securing.

To earn this certification, you must have experience in networking, security, business continuity, disaster recovery, and governance. You will have to pass two exams. The platform offers an online free training program as well as a paid instructor-led one. Either program will vastly improve your chances of success once you sit for the examination.

How to Choose the Right Certification

How to Choose the Right Certification

Choosing the right cloud certification can be a daunting process for anyone in the field. The list below will help you narrow down your choices and select the one that best suits your career.

Prep Material

Always go for a certification that offers material to prepare for the exam. Study guides and training programs are instrumental in preparing for the core exams. With them, it will be much easier to revise and polish the skills tested on the exams.


Always check if a particular certification has been retired or will be soon. In addition, make sure that the certification continues to be relevant in the industry and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. Check this information with your colleagues to narrow down your choices.


Some certifications carry more weight among employers than others. Go for a certification that is regarded highly by your peers, recruiting teams, and experts in the field.

Top Courses to Prepare for Certifications

Whether you are an expert or a beginner in the field, preparation is key to pass the examinations. To help you pass the exam, we have compiled a list of the best courses on cloud-related topics.

AWS Fundamentals Specialization | Coursera

Cost: Free

Duration: Four months

Format: Instructor-led, self-paced

Outcome: Certificate

This is an excellent course to learn best practices in developing and managing
applications on AWS, particularly if your goal is to have a solid foundation in security. You will develop a deep understanding of how to use AWS services for computing and storage. You will also learn different detective controls and data encryption.

Google Associate Cloud Engineer Exam Preparation | Cloud Academy

Cost: $39 per month, $399 per year

Duration: 15 hours

Format: Instructor-led, self-paced

Outcome: Certificate

This is an exceptional training course to prepare for the Google Associate Cloud Engineer exam. You will learn how to set up a cloud solution environment, configure and implement a cloud solution, and manage its security and access. By the time you are done with this course, the Associate Cloud Engineer Certification will be within your grasp.

AZ-900: Microsoft Azure Fundamentals Exam Prep | Udemy

Cost: $49.99

Duration: Five hours

Format: Instructor-led, self-paced

Outcome: Certificate

This Udemy training program prepares you for the Microsoft Certified: Azure Fundamentals examination. It walks you through all the important components of the cloud and teaches you the basics of Azure. In addition, students are given challenging practice exercises to hone their skills. You will be awarded a certificate of completion when you complete the program.

Configuration and Deployment for the Cloud | Pluralsight

Cost: $399 per year

Duration: Three hours

Format: Instructor-led, self-paced

Outcome: N/A

In this course, you will learn the fundamentals of the cloud environment. You will develop a well-rounded understanding of CPUs and memory sizing. By the time you are done, you will have the necessary experience in handling cloud deployment and configuration to pass some key certification exams.

This course covers migration types, virtual networking, storage solutions, and deployment plans. These are basic cloud topics, so pay attention every step of the way to develop a strong foundation.

Cisco CCNA 200-301 Complete Course: Packet Tracer Labs | Udemy

Cost: $19.99

Duration: 79 hours

Format: Instructor-led, self-paced

Outcome: Certificate

This Udemy course gives students an excellent opportunity to learn network security and network automation. It’s excellent training for the CCNA certification. This is also a great program for people that want to break into the industry. The curriculum covers all the networking concepts you are likely to see on the certification exams.

Is a Cloud Certification Worth It in 2021?

Yes, a cloud certification is worth it in 2021. With most organizations moving to the cloud, certified developers with skills in cloud computing are always in demand. Business owners rely on them for networking, data storage, handling servers, and managing software.

If you are a professional in the cloud industry, earning a certificaiton is important for career advancement. The right certification will give you access to better job opportunities and a higher salary.

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