Six Hot Cloud Computing Certifications for 2019

These six cloud credentials can get your career rolling.

Cloud computing has grown faster than expected. Today, virtual environments exist alongside container-driven microservices and serverless computing frameworks. In 2018, quite a few enterprises moved partly to cloud-native architectures. Many others are eager to shift but are hampered by a skills gap.


According to a survey by OpsRamp, IT professionals with DevOps, cloud engineering, multi-cloud management, and cloud-native development skills are in high demand.


Amazon is the largest player in the cloud computing services market, followed by Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud. In 2019, employers and IT professionals both are likely to find value in the following provider-specific, as well as provider-neutral, cloud credentials:


Amazon Web Services (AWS) Certified Solutions Architect – Professional


Cloud architects were the most sought-after cloud professionals in 2018 and demand for this role is likely to accelerate in 2019 as more organizations adopt the multi-cloud approach.


This credential demonstrates advanced expertise in planning and deploying cloud applications and systems on the Amazon Web Services platform. It is designed for professionals who have at least two years of hands-on experience in this role. Amazon recommends that candidates earn the Certified Solutions Architect – Associate certification first.


Candidates must pass a 170-minute, multiple-choice exam that tests their ability to design and deploy applications with a high degree of scalability, availability, and reliability on AWS. Test takers must also demonstrate the ability to select the right AWS services to design and implement an application in line with specifications, to migrate multi-tier applications, to plan and install operations that are scalable at the enterprise level, and to employ effective cost-control mechanisms.


Amazon recommends the Advanced Architecting on AWS training course as preparation for the exam. Self-study materials include a practice test, sample questions, exam blueprint, workshops, lab, and an exam prep resource guide. Details and links are available on the AWS certifications page.


AWS certified professionals need to recertify every two years. AWS notifies credential holders by email roughly 6 months before their certification is due to expire. Additional information about the credential is available online.


CCNA Cloud


The CCNA Cloud certification validates basic knowledge of cloud solutions, as well as skill in operating and administering them. The exams test a candidate's ability to perform essential cloud computing tasks, such as storage, computing and networking, and fluency with Cisco Cloud management software solution components.


Candidates should also know how to administer cloud infrastructure at a basic level, how to manage reporting, how to use preconfigured templates for cloud provisioning, how to monitor clouds, and how to remediate cloud-specific issues.


This role-based credential is designed for professionals working as or aspiring to work as cloud engineers, cloud administrators, and cloud network engineers. There are no prerequisites for the CCNA Cloud.


Exam candidates will need to pass two exams — each one requires candidates to answer between 55 and 65 questions in a 90-minute window — to earn the CCNA Cloud certification. The required exams are CLDFND (210-451) and CLDADM (210-455).


The CCNA Cloud is valid for three years after which the credential-holder needs to recertify by passing one of the following:


? A current Associate-level exam other than the ICND1 exam
? A 642-XXX Professional-level exam or any 300-XXX Professional-level exam
? A 642-XXX Cisco Specialist exam (excluding Sales Specialist or MeetingPlace Specialist, Implementing Cisco TelePresence Installations (ITI), Cisco Leading Virtual Classroom Instruction, or any 650 online exams)
? A CCIE written exam or CCDE written exam or a current CCDE practical exam
? A Cisco Certified Architect (CCAr) interview and the CCAr board review


Cisco recommends candidates take the Understanding Cisco Cloud Fundamentals (CLDFND) and Introducing Cisco Cloud Administration (CLDADM) courses to prepare for the exams. Links to self-study materials, Cisco Learning Network resources, and Learning Partner content are available online.


CCNP Cloud


The CCNP Cloud certification validates the expertise and skills required to plan, provision, automate, and administer cloud and IaaS installations at Data Centers. It has a lab-based training component. Engineers, designers, administrators and architects working on cloud deployments at Data Centers would find CCNP Cloud useful.


A current CCNA Cloud or CCIE is a prerequisite for this certification. You will need to pass the CLDINF (300-460), CLDDES (300-465), CLDAUT (300-470), and CLDACI (300-475) exams to achieve this credential.


The CCNP Cloud is valid for 3 years after which the credential holder needs to recertify by passing one of the following:


? Any valid 642-XXX Professional-level or 300-XXX Professional-level exam
? A CCIE written exam
? A CCDE written exam or CCDE practical exam
? A Cisco Certified Architect (CCAr) interview and the CCAr board review


Cisco recommends you take the Implementing and Troubleshooting the Cisco Cloud Infrastructure (CLDINF), Designing the Cisco Cloud (CLDDES), Automating the Cisco Enterprise Cloud (CLDAUT), and Building the Cisco Cloud with Application Centric Infrastructure (CLDACI) courses to prepare for the four required exams.


Links to self-study materials, Cisco Learning Network resources, the CCNP Cloud syllabus, and Learning Partner content and lounges are available online.


These six cloud certs can get your career soaring in 2019.

VMware Certified Professional 7: Cloud Management and Automation VCP7 – CMA


The VCP7 – CMA certification validates the expertise required to set up, manage, and optimize a VMware vRealize environment so as to automate crucial procedures at a data center to repeat and scale.


If you haven't earned any VCP certifications yet, then you must gain the requisite vSphere 6.x and vRealize experience, complete one of the training courses mentioned on the VCP7 – CMA web page, and pass one of the Foundation exams in addition to passing the 110-minute, 85-question 2VO-731 exam with a passing score of 300. Those who hold a valid VCP credential will successfully recertify that by passing the VCP7 – CMA exam.


VMware recommends the VMware vRealize Automation: Install, Configure, Manage [7.0] and VMware Cloud Automation: Design and Deploy [V7.1] courses.


Links to the exam guide, practice exam, additional resources, VMware Learning Zone, VCP community, and the VMware Certification Marketplace are available online.


Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP)


The CCSP is currently the global standard on cloud security capability. This vendor-neutral credential is managed by Cloud Security Alliance and (ISC)�. It validates advanced expertise and skills to secure sensitive data, applications and infrastructure in the cloud using know-how from the (ISC)� Common Body of Knowledge (CBK) and industry best practices.


The CCSP is suitable for IT and information security professionals who aim to develop deep knowledge and ability in cloud security design, operations and architecture. You need to pass the four-hour, 125-question, multiple-choice exam with a score of at least 700 out of 1000 to earn the CCSP. The exam tests knowledge of six domains of cloud security. It is proctored by Pearson VUE.


To earn the CCSP, you also need to have five years of paid IT work experience, three years of which should be in information security, and one year in at least one of the six domains of the CCSP (ISC)� CBK. If you lack this experience, you can pass the exam and become an Associate of (ISC)� while you gain experience. You must also agree to the (ISC)� Code of Ethics and complete endorsement requirements.


Self-study materials include the Official (ISC)� Guide to the CCSP CBK Textbook, the Official (ISC)� CCSP Study Guide, exam outline, the Official CCSP Study App and interactive flashcards. (ISC)� also offers a training course. Details are available online.


CompTIA Cloud+


The role-based, vendor-neutral CompTIA Cloud+ validates the ability to manage and optimize cloud-based infrastructure services at data centers. Credential holders are equipped to work with cloud technologies from different vendors. This certification is useful for system and network administrators, cloud engineers, cloud specialists, cloud developers and other data center roles.


CompTIA recommends between two and three years of work experience in system administration. You need to pass the 90-minute, 90-question CV0-002 exam with a passing score of 750. It is multiple-choice and performance-based.


Links to CompTIA print and ebooks as well as details of classroom training are available online.


The CompTIA Cloud+ credential is valid for three years from the date of your exam. You may extend your certification by completing specified training and activities, including completing the CertMaster CE or earning at least 50 Continuing Education Units (CEU) in three years.


Other Options


The exams for the in-demand MCSE Cloud Platform and Infrastructure credential were retired on Dec. 31. The Core Infrastructure certification replaced it on Jan. 1. The Microsoft Certification program is now moving toward role-based certifications.


Apart from these, there are a host of other cloud certifications, including sought-after credentials from Google, Dell, Oracle, IBM and other vendors. What is important is to develop in-demand skills and utilize those to help your organization derive valuable business insights from information in the cloud.


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Reena Ghosh

Reena Ghosh is an independent ghostwriter who writes promotional, developmental and explanatory content for individuals and businesses. She came to professional writing with work experience in financial services operations and corporate communication. Reena speaks three languages and hopes to learn Sanskrit.