Best Cloud IT Certifications for 2015

Best Cloud IT Certifications for 2015
By , Mary Kyle

IT pros with solid cloud computing skills continue to be in high demand as more companies adopt cloud technologies. With new credentials being added each year, how do you choose the cloud computing certification that's right for you? Here's an updated list of our five best cloud certs.

Over the past several years, no other area of IT has generated as much hype, interest and investment as cloud computing. Though the term can -- and often does -- have different meaning for different users, there's no doubt that the cloud has become a permanent fixture for end users, service providers, as well as companies and organizations of all sizes around the world.

As a result, cloud computing attracts considerable coverage and attention from certification providers and companies that offer cloud related products, like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft and VMware. 

CompTIA has been studying the cloud phenomena for five years and according to their 5th Annual Trends in Cloud Computing survey, 90 percent of all companies in the United States make use of cloud computing. Of those, 60 percent reported that cloud computing accounts for at least a third of their total IT architecture. These figures elevate cloud computing from a nice-to-have feature to an essential part of an organization's IT infrastructure. It's also estimated the public cloud market will reach a record $55 billion dollars in 2015 with expected growth of more than 22 percent by 2018. Suffice it to say that the cloud is here to stay, and we can expect to see a growing demand for qualified and certified cloud IT professionals.

Today, a close examination of what's available to IT professionals by way of cloud-related certifications shows a large and growing number of credentials. When I first wrote about this topic that was not the case, but my, how things have changed! Each year we've been able to add new certifications to the list and the variety continues to grow.

What's new this year? For the remainder of 2015 and into 2016, the best cloud computing certifications still include both vendor-neutral along with vendor-specific certification options from some of the top players in the cloud space. You will find that we've made a few changes in our recommendations from last year. CompTIA's Cloud+ replaces the Cloud Essentials certification. While Cloud Essentials is still a valuable cert for those interested in cloud technology, Cloud+ appeals to more mature cloud professionals. VMware is adding new certs to its program at a regular pace, so you'll see some updates and changes in the VMware section as well.  

As we dig into the best five cloud IT certifications and talk about other important and emerging players in the cloud certification space, it's important to understand that certification is what an economist might call a "trailing indicator" rather than a "leading indicator" for technology areas. That means that certification providers watch technology areas and markets carefully, and seldom jump into any of them until clear and strong interest has been indisputably established.

Before you peruse our list of the best cloud certification for 2015, take a look at Table 1 for an overview of the relative frequency at which the top five picks show up in job postings. Keep in mind that these results are a snapshot in time -- they vary from day to day depending on the needs of the employment market. Also, the results differ depending on which job board is searched. There are many different job boards available for those looking at tech careers, many of which focus on a specific type of role or skill. For purposes of this article, we focused on generic job boards rather than those that target a specific skill or subset of skills. We do note that regardless of the job board, the MCSE: Private Cloud certification appears to be in popular demand.

Table 1: Job Board Search Results

AWS-CSA Professional0770162
CompTIA Cloud+01550392
MCSE: Private Cloud1023818492619
VMware VCP6 - Cloud 022177290

Read on to learn about some of the best cloud computing certifications for IT pros available today. Hopefully this information is helpful to you. Happy hunting!

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