One way to stay abreast of the fast-changing cloud market is to get trained on the leading cloud platforms, open source technologies and vendors that make up this increasingly important industry. These are some of the leading infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) cloud computing certifications, listed in alphabetical order. It’s not an all-inclusive list.
Amazon Certified Solutions Architect
Description: This exam tests user knowledge of Amazon Web Services' cloud and how to deploy applications on it. Topics covered include how to design and deploy applications on AWS, ingress and egress of data to and from AWS, selecting the appropriate AWS service and knowing AWS architectural best practices.
Training/Exam: AWS offers in-person and online training workshops. Exams are proctored by Kryterion, which has testing centers around the world. Exam is 80 minutes multiple choice/multiple answer.
Cost: $150; $20 for practice exam
Other similar certifications: AWS also offers a Certified Solutions Architect Professional; AWS Certified Developer Associate; AWS Certified SysOps Administrator Associate and AWS Certified Devops Engineer Professional
More information: AWS certifications
CompTIA Cloud+ Certification
Description: This exam is from the Computing Technology Industry Association and is meant to prove knowledge of cloud models, virtualization, infrastructure management, security and resource management. It’s meant for data center compute, network or storage administrators who want to transfer their knowledge to IaaS cloud platforms.
Other similar certifications: There are many other independent third-party training and certificate programs such as CloudAcademy.com and CloudSchool.com. CBT Nuggets offers training on a variety of topics, including cloud computing. CompTIA Cloud Essentials is another cloud-focused CompTIA certification meant for managers or non-IT staff.
More information: CompTIA Cloud+ Certification
Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge (CCSK)
Description: The CCSK from the independent Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) tests for a broad knowledge of cloud security topics, including architecture, governance, compliance, operations, encryption and virtualization.
Requirements: The body of knowledge for the CCSK examination is the CSA Security Guidance for Critical Areas of Focus in Cloud Computing V3, and the European Union’s Agency for Network and Information Security’s “Cloud Computing: Benefits, Risks and Recommendations for Information Security.”
More information: CCSK
Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) Cloud
Description: The CCNA Cloud from Cisco tests a variety of cloud topics, including cloud characteristics and deployments, knowledge of cloud networking, end user support, infrastructure administration, chargeback and billing, cloud provisioning, systems management and remediation. It focuses on Cisco cloud products and is valid for three years. There’s also a Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) for Cloud exam. Cisco offers training courses for both.
More information: CCNA
Google Cloud Platform Qualified Developer
Description: Google offers five cloud platform exams focused on various specialties within the Google Cloud. Users who pass all five become a Google Cloud Platform Qualified Developer. Topics include: Google App Engine, Google Cloud Storage, Google Cloud SQL, Big Query, and Google Compute Engine.
Cost: $100 per exam; five exams in total to become a Google Cloud Platform Qualified Developer
More information: Google Cloud Platform training
IBM Certified Solution Architect – Cloud Computing Infrastructure
Description: This exam tests design and management principles of an IBM cloud infrastructure, including planning a road map, integrating systems, configuring resources and managing the operation, service delivery and maintenance of the cloud.
Cost: $200 in developed countries; $100 in emerging countries.
Other similar certifications: IBM has a variety of other cloud certifications, including a Certified Application Developer, which focuses on mastery of the company’s BlueMix PaaS offering, as well as a Certified Solution Advisor for Cloud Architecture, which is for technical sellers of cloud.
More information: IBM Cloud Certifications
Microsoft Azure Solutions Architect
Description: Microsoft has three Azure IaaS public cloud certifications; if you complete them all you are an Azure Solutions Architect. Individual certifications include a developer focused one, an implementation specialist for IT pros and an architecture one.
On the private cloud side, there are five exams focusing on aspects of configuring and managing Windows Server and Systems Center.
Microsoft offers both in-person classes as well as books and online courses for each.
More information: Microsoft Azure public cloud certifications are here and private cloud certifications are here.
Certified OpenStack Administrator
Description: Starting in mid-2016, the OpenStack Foundation (governing body for the open source project) will offer a certification program for OpenStack Administrators. The test will be administered from the Linux Foundation
Other similar certifications: Many companies in the OpenStack open source project offer their own training and certifications.
More information: See a full list of existing OpenStack trainings and certifications here and information about the OpenStack Foundation certification here.
Description: Rackspace developed Rackspace CloudU as a vendor-neutral cloud education program designed to educate individuals on the fundamentals of cloud computing. Topics include the economics of cloud, understanding various cloud stacks and best practices for cloud migrations and configurations. There’s a final exam at the conclusion of 10 free online sessions.
Other similar certifications: Rackspace has other certifications, including OpenStack Training Courses and Open Cloud Academy Training courses for Linux Sys Admins and Network Operations pros.
Red Hat Certified Architect: Cloud
Description: Red Hat offers a variety of Certified Architect certificates, including ones on cloud, cloud engineering, system administration, hybrid cloud computing, platform as a service, virtualization and OpenStack. A user who completes any five cloud certifications becomes a Certified Architect.
Cost: Most training courses cost about $600 and take three hours, either in-person, at a conference or through on-site training.
More information: Red Hat Certifications
VMware Certified Professional – Cloud (VCP-Cloud)
Company offering the certification: VMware
Description: Validates the ability to install, configure and administer a cloud environment using vCloud Director and related components. Includes management of vSphere environments along cloud infrastructure concepts including public/private/hybrid cloud management, multi-tenancy, and cloud security.
Requirements/Cost: Users must attend a required training course (cost of the courses vary) and pass the VCPC550 proctored exam, which costs $225
Other similar certifications: VMware has a variety of cloud and virtualization trainings and certificates, including VMware Certified Professional, Associate and Expert certifications (those are three different certifications) for Cloud Management and Automation. There’s also a Certified Design Expert, which is for VMware cloud Architects.
More information: VMware certifications