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4 Best Cloud Certifications for 2017

by Team Nuggets
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Published on September 7, 2017

If you haven't certified on a cloud platform, then what are you waiting for? It's 2017. Forbes projects that IT budgets will be heading to the cloud soon, even if yours isn't already. Obviously, you'll want to certify on the technology in your system, but there are additional certs you can get started with today to help you guide your path to the cloud.

Before we discuss the cloud certifications that we think you should consider, let's take a look at the technology landscape you're facing.

The IT Landscape

Whether companies are signing up for software-as-a-service (SAAS) apps like Microsoft's cloud-leading Office 365 or modernizing their own enterprise apps to run in private clouds like VMware, cloud-based computing is here to stay. According to Intel's recent 2017 State of Cloud Adoption and Security survey, in less than a couple of years, they expect 80% of all IT budgets to be dedicated to cloud-based solutions. We'll also see rapid growth in the adoption of hybrid clouds and software-defined data centers.

What's the Scoop?

The bottom line is that your cloud certification targets will be driven either by your employer's cloud technology plans or where you think prospective employers are likely to be heading.

So, who are the big players? Well, for private clouds and data centers, you're looking at VMware and Cisco. For the cloud as a platform, market surveys tell us that Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the 800-pound gorilla, followed by Microsoft Azure, IBM, and Google. From the SaaS perspective, Microsoft's Office 365 is the major player, along with Salesforce, followed by content management platform provider Box.

Cloud Certifications to Consider

Given this background and each vendor's focus on certification we'll take a look at certifications for Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, VMware, Cisco, and finally Google.

AWS Certified SysOps Administrator Associate

If you want to work with the gorilla in the space, deploying, migrating and managing apps on AWS, then your most likely certification opportunity is the AWS Certified SysOps Administrator Associate.

Given Amazon's leadership position, you're sure to find organizations hiring AWS-competent administrators. But the opportunity's not just with larger enterprises. Check out opportunities with Amazon's managed services providers (MSPs) third party companies that implement AWS solutions for small- and medium-sized customers. In short, AWS isn't going to steal your job. It's just making new opportunities in the space.

If you've decided that AWS administration is your future, then check out our AWS courses and begin your path to certification.

Microsoft MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure

Microsoft's Azure follows AWS as the public cloud platform of choice. If your employer is adopting it as their platform, or you're targeting jobs with Azure, then you should look to certify initially as a Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA): Cloud Platform. This MCSA certification is also a stepping stone for you to become a Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) in Cloud Platform and Infrastructure.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves. You can prepare for your MCSA: Cloud Platform certification exams with the following CBT Nuggets courses Microsoft Azure 70-532, Microsoft Azure 70-533, and Microsoft Azure 70-534. You can qualify as an MCSA: Cloud Platform by passing two of the associated exams.

Microsoft weighs heavily in this cloud certification path, along with the next two best cloud certs from VMware and Cisco.

VMware Certified Professional (VCP6.5-DCV)

Arguably, VMware kick-started the virtualization and cloud computing movement. They were also the first to introduce software-defined data centers.

Whether your focus is on the private, public, or hybrid cloud, you can't go wrong with certified VMware cloud expertise. The certification to go for is the VMware Certified Professional Data Center Virtualization.

VMware's most recent version is VMware vSphere 6.5, so you should check out our VMware Certified Professional (VCP6.5-DCV) training course. This covers everything you need to know about configuring and maintaining high availability, scalable virtual infrastructures and prepares you for the VMware Certified Professional exams.

Cisco CCNA Cloud

Like VMware, Cisco has been a leader in infrastructure virtualization in their case with virtualized networks. Taken together, VMware and Cisco technologies constitute the majority of private cloud environments.

If you're on the networking side of the equation, then you should look at the CCNA Cloud Certification, which targets cloud engineers, cloud administrators, and network engineers. Begin with our Understanding Fundamentals course, Cisco CCNA Cloud 210-451 CLDFND, which will prepare you to master the first of two Cisco exams for CCNA Cloud Certification.

And a few words about Google

Unlike Amazon and Microsoft, Google's certifications are mostly related to advanced roles such as solution architect, data engineer, and application developer. If you're in SysOps or network administration, then you're probably not going to be interested, but don't let that stop you from checking out our training in these certification areas.

Wrapping Up

So in summary, our picks for the best cloud certifications are:

  • AWS Certified SysOps Administrator Associate

  • Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA): Cloud Platform

  • VMware Certified Professional Data Center Virtualization

  • CCNA Cloud Certification

While this is not an exhaustive list of available certs, we think it captures your best choices balancing your investment of time with likely job opportunities. In each case, these certifications can also be a stepping stone to expert-level career positions.


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