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Six Niche Cloud Computing Certifications

Sometimes you have to step off the beaten path to find the right cloud certification.Next we have Cisco’s Cisco Certified Networking Professional (CCNP) Cloud credential. Cisco requires that you hold either the precursor CCNA Cloud cert, or any CCIE credential, to even take this test. That could take some time, but cloud adoption is driving new roles and responsibilities.


Cloud engineers need the skills to work with private, public, and hybrid cloud models, as well as leverage inter-cloud solutions. The CCNP Cloud certification is a lab-based training and certification program that targets cloud engineers, cloud administrators, cloud designers, and architects working in data centers.


This program delivers the knowledge and skills necessary to design, provision, automate, and manage Cloud and Infrastructure-as-a-Service deployments. You will need to pass at least four exams to make this cert and it will cost you 300 hours and around $5,000. Don’t approach this one lightly.


Fourth is the Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate credential. Microsoft is one of the biggest names in the business — second (albeit a distant second) in the cloud computing realm only really to AWS — and Azure is a really easy platform to operate. Microsoft Azure is a prominent public cloud provider, recording impressive user base growth in recent years.


Microsoft has prominent certifications that help architects, developers, and administrators gain hands-on knowledge while working on Azure. This is probably your best place to start since the retirement of Exam 70-533 at the end of 2018. Getting a foothold here will help you eventually jump up the ladder to all of the more advanced Azure certifications


Azure exams tend to be relatively cheap, and you can spin up Azure for free, much like Amazon’s AWS. Try it before you buy it, and you won’t be disappointed.


Next we have Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge (CCSK) from Cloud Security Alliance. While this isn’t a well-known certification, cloud security is one of the most important subject areas any cloud engineer will be expected to master. As enterprises and consumers move greater amounts of sensitive information to the cloud, employers struggle to find information security leaders who have the necessary breadth and depth of knowledge to establish cloud security programs protecting sensitive information.


The CCSK lets the marketplace know you are ready for the challenge. CCSK was the first credential dedicated to cloud security, offered by the world’s thought leader in cloud security. The Cloud Security Alliance does a great job in testing a candidates’ ability. While similar to the CCSP credential offered by former CCSK partner (ISC)², CCSK has a better track record and costs a little less. At $345, it’s a good bargain.


Last of all, I’m rounding out my list with Amazon’s AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – Associate credential. This one is probably the cheapest and easiest to take of everything we’ve discussed here: just $150 and 80 minutes. You will, of course, need to plan a significant chunk of study time. The AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – Associate examination is intended for systems administrators in a systems operations role, with one-to-two years of experience in deployment, management, and operations on AWS.


No matter which certification you go for this year, and no matter where the cloud goes next, I wish you the best of luck and happy certifying!



Nathan Kimpel PhotoNathan Kimpel is a seasoned information technology and operations executive with a diverse background in all areas of company functionality, and a keen focus on all aspects of IT operations and security. Over his 20 years in the industry, he has held every job in IT and currently serves as a Project Manager in the St. Louis (Missouri) area, overseeing 50-plus projects. He has years of success driving multi-million dollar improvements in technology, products and teams. His wide range of skills include finance, ERP and CRM systems. Certifications include PMP, CISSP, CEH, ITIL and Microsoft.