Best Cloud IT Certifications For 2016

Best Cloud IT Certifications For 2016
By , Mary Lemons

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 meanings for different users, there's no doubt that the cloud is now 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, such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft and VMware, among countless others.

An excellent Forbes article summarizes key statistics regarding the current cloud computing landscape along with a look to the future. Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the dominant cloud computing player, followed by Microsoft Azure, the Rackspace Public Cloud and VMware’s vCloud. The cloud infrastructure and platform market in general generates roughly $21 billion in revenues, and is expected to grow by nearly 20 percent year after year to $43 billion by 2018. And cloud services aren’t limited to large corporations and enterprises. An estimated 64 percent of small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) also use cloud-based applications, with 78 percent of businesses indicating that they are planning to buy new cloud-based solutions in the next few years.

These figures elevate cloud computing from a nice-to-have feature to an essential part of an organization's IT infrastructure. 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 Ed 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.

For 2016, the best cloud computing certifications include both vendor-neutral and vendor-specific certification options from some of the top players in the cloud space. The most significant change we made to our top 5 picks from 2015 is replacing the Certified Cloud Technology Professional (CCTP) certification with the EMC Cloud Architect (EMCCA), which we think should have more traction going forward.

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 certifications for 2016, take a look at Table 1 for an overview of the relative frequency at which the top 5 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 and from job board to job board.

Job Board Search Results

AWS-CSA Professional5570192285
EMC Cloud Architect (EMCCA)10132802433
CompTIA Cloud+100200388139
MCSE: Private Cloud118100991349298
VMware VCP6 - Cloud*72002011

* VCP6 Cloud is not quite a popular as the VCP5 Cloud certification, but VMware retired the VCP5 in March 2015.

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!